THE National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) continued to support more Australians during 2020 and have a significant positive impact on those living with disability and their families, data shows.

In a year full of unprecedented challenges from the devastating bushfires in January through to the COVID-19 pandemic, not only did the NDIS adapt to these challenges, it supported the NDIS community through a very stressful time.

>> READ MORE: HOW WE SERVE OUR NDIS PARTICIPANTS

The NDIS achieved this by adding or refining supports available to participants and providers and improving outcomes for participants while growing the Scheme.

Minister Robert said in a media release on the NDIS website, he was incredibly proud of how the NDIA had risen to the challenge during what was an incredibly challenging year.

“We will all remember 2020 as a year of challenge and change.

“For the NDIS, it was the year of learning to adapt to an ever-changing environment whilst continuing to grow, supporting more Australians with disability than ever before.

“A key part of supporting growth was drawing on the strengths of the Scheme and actively looking at where it needed to improve. In 2020, we made extra time to listen to our participants and providers, consider our data and look for ways to make the Scheme better,” Minister Robert said.

Drawn from the NDIS Quarterly Report (Q2 2020-21), the NDIS adapted and continued to deliver for people with disability, as the data shows.

In 2020, the NDIS:

  • welcomed an average of 24,800 people each quarter in 2020
  • over 430,000 people with disability, an increase of more than 93,500 participants since December 2019, are now supported
  • over the past two years, the number of younger people in residential aged care reduced by 22 per cent
  • 100 per cent of access decisions were made within the 21 day timeframe, down from the average 42 days to make an access decision in June 2019
  • for participants aged 0-6 within 90 days, 98 per cent of first plans were approved, compared to 85 per cent a year ago.
  • for participants aged seven and above, 92 per cent of first plans were approved within the 70 day timeframe, compared to 64 per cent a year ago.
  • decisions to undertake a participant requested review made within 21 days significantly improved from 56 per cent to 100 per cent
  • After seven years of hard work, the Scheme became available to all Australians, on 1 July 2020, the NDIS was available nation-wide, a wonderful milestone to reach.

An engaged provider sector was equally critical to supporting participants achieve better outcomes.

Nearly 60 per cent of providers said they felt optimistic about the health of the NDIS market, in a recent provider sentiment survey. This is an increase of 12 per cent from the previous survey in September 2019.

In 2020, the provider market grew with:

  • over $20 billion to deliver participant supports throughout 2020 was paid to providers
  • averaged payments per participant increased from $47,800 to $52,300 (by nine per cent in 2020)
  • Over the past year, registered providers grew by more than 12 per cent

>> READ MORE: WHAT AN NDIS PROVIDER LOOKS LIKE

The NDIS Scheme supported providers during 2020 by:

  • to improve their approach to monitoring and identifying market challenges by running thin market trials in various locations throughout Australia,
  • releasing detailed Specialist Disability Accommodation data

Minister Robert said the NDIS has now reached a significant stage, with a sharper focus on ensuring a better experience for every participant.

“Despite the challenges of COVID-19, we forged ahead to make the Scheme simpler, fairer and more consistent. The Scheme is now rolled out across Australia, and, after seven and a half years, we have a better understanding of how the Scheme is working and where improvements can be made. We are now focused on ensuring the Scheme delivers a consistent and high quality experience for all participants.”

Participant Outcomes and Family and Carer Outcomes reports, which measures the progress of participants since joining the Scheme, show the significant positive impact the NDIS is having for Australians living with disability, and their families.

NDIA chief executive officer Martin Hoffman said this data shows the profound impacts the Scheme has had on a range of people over time.

>> READ MORE: NDIS: HOW WE’RE COMMITTED TO HELPING OUR COMMUNITY

“It offers a unique view into how the NDIS is benefiting participants and also their families and carers, helping us measure how the NDIS is progressing, as well as helping identify areas that may need additional focus.

“This data shows the very real impact the Scheme is having for thousands of Australians. With further improvements set to be rolled out in the coming year, we’re all getting closer to the NDIS that was promised, and one that works for all participants.”

From the Participant Outcomes report, key findings include:

  • From birth to before starting school: participants feel more welcomed taking part in community and social activities – an increase of 11 per cent over three years.
  • Aged 15 to 24: participants are becoming more involved in social and community groups – an increase of 14% over three years.
  • Aged 25 and over: Participants increasingly believe the NDIS helps their choice and control, daily living, relationships and social and community participation. There has been an increase in participants spending their time doing activities that interest them – an increase of 8 per cent over three years.

Source: https://data.ndis.gov.au/reports-and-analyses/outcomes-and-goals/participant-outcomes-report

From the Family and Carer Outcomes report, key findings include:

  • Families and carers of participants from birth to age 14: the percentage of families/carers working in a paid job has increased every year. Of those with a paid job, the percentage working 15 or more hours per week has increased every year.
  • Families and carers of participants aged 15-24: believe their family member with disability is getting the support they need – an increase of 30 per cent over three years.

Source: https://data.ndis.gov.au/reports-and-analyses/outcomes-and-goals/family-and-carer-outcomes-report