We have developed this page to create a round up of all the Independent Assesment news and information. This is a serious issues that will negatively impact the lives of countless people who rely on the NDIS, and is a massive step backwards for disability support throughout Australia.
The introduction of Independent Assessment poses a massive risk to those who rely on the NDIS. Over the last week we have posted a number of articles and official responses to these changes, but as VMIAC is an organisation dedicated to highlighting consumer voices, we have created this space to highlight consumer/lived experience perspectives. These comments are the genuine concerns of those with psycho-social disability on how changes to Independent assessment could affect their access to essential services.
Conversations with Rachel.
Rachel is a member of our NDIS Consumer Reference Group and has a lived experience of being on the NDIS. Robin, our communications officer, spoke to Rachel about her concerns, perspectives and options on these changes, from a lived experience perspective. Listen to it here
We also did a call out on a online forum for people with psycho-social disability and received the following messages of people expressing their concerns..
If you wish to add to these comments, please email email@example.com, to have your statement added.
“As a current NDIS participant with a psychosocial disability and a survivor living with complex trauma, including childhood sexual abuse, family violence and adult sexual assaults, I am terrified of independent assessments. As a participant I’ve already had my life scrutinised inside and out by many people.
I’ve had to provide detailed reports from my psychologist about my trauma history and resulting functional impairment. I’ve been interrogated by NDIA workers during planning meetings. Now they want me to be assessed by a complete stranger who will invade my personal space, my privacy and my dignity. I cannot begin to describe how gut-wrenchingly distressing this is for someone with a complex history of trauma. Having my life being scrutinised by a complete stranger, whom I have no trusting, long-term, therapeutic relationship with, is utterly terrifying for me.
I am scared of having my personal space invaded by having a stranger enter my house. My home is the only place I feel safe in this world and I do not want that being violated by an unwanted stranger whom I have no reason to trust. I am deeply concerned that the assessors will not be trauma informed, because this has been a theme throughout my life when trying to access support. When I say trauma informed, I am referring to practitioners that have expertise in the trauma field and not just someone that has had limited or worse no training at all.
I am concerned that I will not fit neatly into the standardised tests they are planning to use, and this will result in my plan being cut. My psychosocial disability is invisible and I have a hard time trying to explain to people how my life is impacted. The prospect of being forced and coerced into having an assessment by a stranger is utterly terrifying for me. It is that simple.”
“As a participant of the NDIS I am greatly concerned about the NDIA’s proposed Independent Functional Assessments (IFA) and feel they have no place with the original intention and spirit of the NDIS. My first and greatest concern is the IFA and the contractors undertaking these assessments will not have a complete and accurate understanding of a participants functional abilities of people with “invisible”, rare and/or complex disabilities. Nor are these contractors truly independent as they will be selected by the NDIA.
I do not believe a 3 hour, or a 10 hour, assessment by a person – who will be a complete stranger- possess the required skills and capacity to be able to discern and comprehend a participants needs, both physical and emotional, especially considering the proposed layout for these assessments will be in the majority of ‘yes or no’ questions. I would personally find this model of assessment impossible to undertake and also humiliating. I am with the NDIS under psychosocial due to my mental health diagnoses, when in reality my physical disease/disability, which is cruel and unpredictable, is not recognised by the NDIA.
My physical disease has led to other co-morbidities also not acknowledged. Across the years I’ve been turned away by not only General Practitioners, but also Specialists as they do not know anything about my disorder aside from that it is classed as an unmanageable chronic illness – as classified by WHO. If medical practitioners do not know about my condition, I highly doubt an independent assessor will be able to grasp nor understand the profound disabling effect upon every aspect of my life. Coupled with my diagnoses of mental health which, again, having profound negative effects upon my life and which are fluctuating and episodic a ‘yes or no’ assessment of my functional abilities will be impossible for me to undertake.
The stress and uncertainty associated with considering the proposed IFA’s are currently attributing to further negatively impacting my health. I am scared and do not feel the IFA’s are in line with the NDIS’s original intent. Nor, from what I can discern, can the results of the IFA’s to be challenged nor appealed. With these considerations in mind I am absolutely against the proposed IFA”
Contact you local MP
The only way to have Independent Assessment prevented, is for federal members of parliament to stand up and shut down these proposed changes. Every Australian Counts is a disability advocacy service who have created an amazing tool to help you contact your local MP, and make your voice heard. Check it out here!
We suggest if you are using this tool, you review the pre-written statement made by every Australian counts as it was made last year in 2020, and these changes are coming in this year, 2021. We suggest you make amendments speaking about the urgency of this issue, as its set to be debated soon, and add a statement about how it effects people with psycho-social disabilities.
Previously Made Statements and Resources
As part of our commitment to advocating for our members and for everyone with a psychosocial disability, we have written number statements opposing proposed changes to the NDIS that would introduce Independent Assessment. These changes infringe on the dignity and human rights of all people who rely on the NDIS for much needed support and are a massive step backwards for disability support in Australia as a whole.
You can read our original statements here.
You can also read the joint statement we made as part of a coalition of 25 disability advocacy groups.
Click here to read!
We are also in the process of issuing further statements in regards to this topic that we will be sharing shortly.