The National Disability Insurance Scheme Appeals Officer role is to support any person affected by a National Disability Insurance Scheme decision, to seek an External Review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). The reasons for seeking review are typically that a person has either been denied access to the scheme, or is unhappy with the supports offered by the National Disability Insurance Agency in their Participant Plan.
Since this program began, RIAC’s NDIS Appeals Team have gained extensive experience in the delivery of the service, and have supported over 20 reviews to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. The experience we have gained, with many varied and different cases has given us the confidence to feel we can now support any person through the external merits review Process.
Every review in some way not only benefits the participant initiating it, but then also helps determine future decisions by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), and the type of supports they will and won’t fund.
Promoting Self-Advocacy is a central part of the NDIS Appeals officer role. The process of seeking review has empowered our clients, and enabled the development of self- advocacy skills, in being able to articulate their case and stand up for what they believe is ‘fair and reasonable’. To date most of our work in this area has been on one to one sessions with many participants; providing them the information and support they have needed to take the next step forward in finding solutions to meeting their unmet needs.
The NDIS Appeals Team is now beginning the process of instigating a Peer –Support group for people involved in NDIA Reviews. This may involve previous clients if they choose to participate, and help to further develop and foster Self Advocacy skills. It could also incorporate the use of social media, and other digital tools, in organising networks of peer-advocates that then challenges some of the ‘individualising ‘ approaches of the NDIA.
We hope to keep the idea that the NDIS is a community held and accountable scheme, open to feedback and as transparent as possible. The NDIS Appeals Team is committed to this important role, with our intention being that of collaboration in a fair and robust review process, with the higher goal being to help create the best possible scheme which leads to the most common good.
The more people that seek review the more then that the NDIS is examined and fine-tuned. We see the scheme moving to full rollout soon, the review process will continue to be vital and essential in protecting participants’ rights.