Late last week we had the chance to interview the CEO of the National Disability Insurance Agency Martin Hoffman.
We put the call out to everyone in the EAC community to see what you most wanted to ask the guy in charge of the NDIS – and we were flooded with questions.
So many that we could not possibly ask them all.
But we did manage to cover the big questions you have been asking us about changes to the NDIS as a result of the Coronavirus. Or just as important what changes haven’t been made – and what still needs to be done.
So what did Mr Hoffman have to say?
💻 Smart devices and iPads – can we or can’t we?
There’s been plenty of confusion about the whole iPad thing. First Scott McNaughton in our Zoom forum said we could. Yay! Then the info on the NDIS website confirmed what he said. All good.
And then …
The statement on the NDIS website changed three times in two days. We were reassured that the policy wasn’t changing – they just wanted the info to be clearer. And then a “stay tuned” message appeared.
Martin admitted that they were still working on the policy to make sure the do and don’ts were clear – and that info would be up on the NDIS website this week.
So for everyone who is still wondering what is and isn’t allowed the answer is – if you don’t already have one and you need it for your disability support then the answer is generally yes. But the fine print of exactly what is and what isn’t allowed – well you will have to stay tuned.
Given that we are all living day-to-day at the moment, that’s a pretty frustrating answer.
💵 Price increases and cancellation policies
We have been contacted by so many people frustrated by the 10 per cent increase to some NDIS prices. Peeps are frustrated because plans have NOT been increased to cover this amount.
People are also wondering why the NDIA changed the cancellation policy. (In case you missed it providers can now charge 100 per cent the cost of a service if a participant cancels a service up to 10 days in advance – instead of the usual two days)
Martin says both of these changes have been introduced to try and make sure providers can keep their doors open during this crisis. And that they are definitely temporary – both will be reviewed as we go along and removed when this is all over.
But for people who have their plans very carefully budgeted, these two changes have a BIG impact. It means you need to ask for a review at an already stressful time. And that’s a stress no one needs.
☎️ Batphone for coronavirus issues
Speaking of reviews, that brings us to the Batphone. Martin reminded everyone that the NDIA has set up special teams to deal with issues caused by the Coronavirus. Call the NDIS call centre (1800 800 110), then dial 5 and you should be able to speak to someone in one of these special teams.
Martin says so far the numbers of people calling have been very low.
So either everyone is OK – or not enough people know to call the call centre and dial 5. Or people gave up on the call centre ages ago because they could never get a straight answer. We think it might be the last two.
So the message is – if you need changes, don’t wait. Hit the phone and dial 5.
📞 Speaking of phone calls
Martin also confirmed that the NDIA have started calling NDIS participants to check in and make sure everything is OK. They are starting with 62,000 people who are considered at high risk – either because of their disability or because of their circumstances. They have only just started but we have already heard of people getting calls. So this may just be the time to answer that “No Caller ID” phone call.
And finally …
Martin confirmed the NDIA is not planning to change its policy on the employment of family members. So the answer is still no – even in this pandemic you cannot use your NDIS funds to pay family members. It will however be approved in “exceptional circumstances”. And that has already happened in a small number of cases.
To all those people who sent in a question, we are so sorry we did not get a chance to ask them all. But like the Zoom forum with Scott McNaughton we are bundling them all up and sending them through to the NDIA.
And stay tuned because we have more planned.
For more information you can check out these links: