Mr Suresh Rajan President
National Ethnic Disability Alliance
Dear Mr Rajan
Thank you for your email of 10 November 2015 to Mr David Bowen, Chief Executive Officer of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), about whether family members can be employed as carers under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Mr Bowen has asked me to reply to you on his behalf.
I regret that you have received inconsistent information from the NOIA regarding whether family members can be employed to provide supports to a NDIS participant. As you are aware, the NOIA has issued· an Operational Guideline that addresses when payment of family members as providers of support can be considered.
The NDIA's Operational Guideline Planning and Assessment - Supports in the Plan -
Personal Care Supports, states that the NDIS will not fund parents or family members of participants to provide personal care supports except in the most exceptional circumstances, such as where there is risk of harm or neglect to the participant or where a suitable provider is not available to provide the support, despite the NDIA's efforts to identify such a provider.
If a delegate considers there to be exceptional circumstances, parents or family members will only be paid to provide support if:
- the support provided is critical to the well-being of the participant;
- all efforts have been exhausted to engage a provider that could appropriately provide the support;
- the paid family member does not reside at the same location as the participant; and
- the assistance provided by the paid family member is a short term measure only and is reviewed regularly.
These measures are in place because the engagement of family members as paid providers of support can adversely affect the dynamics of relationships within a family and may reduce the independence of the person with disability. In recognition of this, even in the rare instance where the NDIS funds a family member to provide personal care support, the Operational Guideline requires frequent review of the situation, as these support arrangements are invariably viewed as short term.
Although the Operational Guidelines outline very limited circumstances where the NDIS expects to fund a family member to provide personal care support, the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 includes a consideration of the critical role played by families, carers and other significant persons in the lives of participants.
Sustaining informal support can be an integral component of meeting the participant's needs. In consideration of this, the Supports for Sustaining Informal Support Operational Guideline enables the NOIA to make decisions on what reasonable and necessary supports may be required to reinforce the critical role played by families. In effect, these reasonable and necessary supports ensure that families are supported to maintain usual family roles.
Thank you for bringing your concerns to the NDIA's attention.
Deputy Chief Executive Officer Operations Group
National Disability Insurance Agency
1 December 2015