In 2021, the NDIS will be launching a new process to assist them in understanding participants’ needs. The NDIS have been working with specialists since 2019 to develop a framework to assess functional capacity, and have created the independent assessment to do this. Independent assessments provide participants and the NDIS with an understanding of the participant’s functional capacity, such as how well they are able to participate at home, at school and in the community, and how they carry out tasks and actions. Functional capacity is important to understand as it determines a participant’s eligibility to receive support from the NDIS.
It is expected that the independent assessment framework will:
- lead to more consistency in decision making when participants request access to the NDIS, and in the planning process
- remove the financial burden from participants who require specialist assessments
- take into account how a person’s functional capacity is influenced by their environment, their health and other individual factors, not just the disability they live with
- introduce an assessment process that recognises that a particular condition or disability does not necessarily have the same impact on everyone
- shift towards a whole of person assessment
- focus on capability rather than diagnosis
New participants entering the NDIS, including new Activ customers
By mid-2021, independent assessments will be part of the access process.
All new participants will need to submit an access request form to determine initial eligibility to access the NDIS. If successful, a participant will then be referred to an independent assessor in their area, who will organise an assessment.
Current NDIS participants, including current Activ customers
By the end of 2021, the NDIS will be using independent assessments as part of their normal plan review process with all participants.
The NDIS will refer participants for an independent assessment at important points, such as when a participant:
- is approaching a new life stage, for example preparing to enter the workforce or moving out of home
- has a change of circumstance
- requests a plan review
- has stable supports and would like a longer plan
- has supported independent living supports
- is having their NDIS access reassessed
- is preparing to transition out of the NDIS
The independent assessment process
The NDIA will pay for each participant’s assessment and will connect them with an assessor in their local area. The assessment will take about 3 hours and participants can choose to do the assessment in the way that best suits them. Participants can have someone with them and may find that some assessments need input from parents/guardians or other important people in their lives.
The assessor will ask questions about the participant’s life and what matters to them, and will ask to see how they approach some everyday tasks. They will work through some standardised assessment tools, based on the participant’s age or disability.
The results of the participant’s independent assessment will be sent to the NDIS when it is complete, and the participant’s planner will talk through individual results during their next planning meeting. Independent assessments will be used to identify possible supports and will be used to shape participants’ NDIS budget for their next plan.
Participants can request a copy of their independent assessment if they choose to do so.
What if a participant disagrees with their assessment?
If a participant does not agree with the decisions the NDIS make based on their independent assessment results, the participant can ask for an internal review of a decision.
For more information about independent assessments, click here.
To download information about independent assessments in Easy Read, click here.
To find out more information about the NDIS, you can read our resource list, click here.