National Disability Insurance Scheme NDIS

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (“NDIS”) is being rolled out progressively across Australia from 1 July 2016. At present, the NDIS is expected to be accessible in South Australia to all eligible people up to 64 years of age by July 2018.

The NDIS is a social assistance program which provides a new way for people with a permanent and significant disability to access individualised supports and services. The NDIS will provide participants, their families and carers with the reasonable and necessary support. Further information about the NDIS is available on the NDIS website https://www.ndis.gov.au/index.html or by telephoning 1800 800 110. The planned NDIS roll out in South Australia can be found at https://www.ndis.gov.au/about-us/our-sites/SA.html or by telephoning 1800 800 110

SACAT’s Community Stream makes orders appointing substitute decision makers for people who have a mental incapacity (a cognitive impairment which affects their decision making abilities). Guardians are substitute decision makers for health, accommodation, and personal/lifestyle decisions and Administrators are substitute decision makers for financial and legal decisions. However, many people with a disability who are eligible to access the NDIS will not have a mental incapacity and will not need a guardian or administrator appointed.  In addition, many people with some level of cognitive impairment can be informally supported by family or appropriate advocates to make their own decisions under the NDIS.

Further, under the NDIS support may be provided by the appointment of a nominee by the participant who can make certain decisions, such as purchasing services and supports, on the participant’s behalf. More information about nominees may be found at https://www.ndis.gov.au/families-carers/what-are-nominees-and-guardians

If you have a proper interest in the welfare of a person and you think a formal substitute decision-maker should be appointed for a person because of the NDIS, you can apply to SACAT. SACAT will decide whether the person needs a guardian or an administrator appointed to make decisions for them. Before appointing a substitute decision maker, SACAT will look at whether there are any available alternatives, such as informal support. You should explore this first before applying to SACAT. Orders are only made by SACAT if they are the least restrictive of the person’s rights and personal autonomy as is consistent with his or her proper care and protection.