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The bridge to accessing the National Disability Insurance Scheme

Despite trying her best, 9-year-old Keira* was struggling to keep up with the other kids in class and dipping grades put her performance at three years below her peers. Keira was seeing an ATSICHS Brisbane paediatrician and allied health professionals, leading to her case being raised with our National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Access team.

Our NDIS Access team has an overarching viewpoint of the diverse challenges facing clients with disabilities, the satellite services that exist and the government supports that can be life-changing if only they can be accessed. The team is like a bridge, providing a vital connection point that joins different parts together, bringing transformational benefits that raise the quality of life for people who may be doing it tough without the necessary tools.

NDIS Access Team Leader Jiordan Hollingsworth explained how the team worked with Keira’s family, school and health professionals to navigate a complex system that requires comprehensive evidence.

“Upon case conferencing with all stakeholders, the child had another cognitive assessment done through the school and the results showed she had met the criteria for intellectual disability,” Jiordan said.

Even with this evidence, Keira’s application to access the NDIS was initially knocked back. With further review, the NDIS Access team identified that more detail was needed around the permanency of the condition and its degenerative character without the intervention of targeted supports.

“We worked with the clinician to update the letter, and after submitting it, the child was approved for access. Knowing the legislation and being able to pinpoint gaps with quality checks can be the difference between access being met or denied.”

“Keira is now on her way to having much-needed supports and the family has relief that she will be supported ongoing with any challenges they face.”

Referrals to NDIS Access mainly come from GPs, psychologists and paediatricians but also from nurses, allied health professionals, self-referrals, child safety, family wellbeing services, schools and the broader community.

The biggest barriers people face when trying to access the NDIS include understanding what evidence is required for specific disabilities and then collecting all the evidence to meet requirements. This barrier is compounded for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who may not have key identity documents like a birth certificate or passport.

“At present, we are trying to utilise connections with other community organisations to assist with obtaining identity documents as well as utilising fee waivers with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages for those who are eligible due to costing.”

At ATSICHS Brisbane, we know the process can be daunting and confusing and that’s why our NDIS Access team exists to assist and make it easier. The team was established in 2021 in response to feedback that came through our medical clinics about clients who were clearly eligible for NDIS supports but were overwhelmed by the complexity of trying to access these supports, so instead went without.

“The system just seemed too hard for clients without people there to make it easier. Now we are the ones navigating and advocating, giving our clients a voice while removing the burden and responsibility that was proving a barrier.”

Our NDIS Access team works with clients on the road to accessing the NDIS, advocates for improvements within the system to remove hidden obstacles and reviews existing NDIS plans for clients who are experiencing issues and looking for assistance to make changes.

Learn more here:

*Name changed for confidentiality.

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