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The Tier 2 tipping point: access to support for working-age Australians with disability without individual NDIS funding

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Disability services People with disability South Australia Tasmania Victoria

More than 500,000 Australians receive individual funding through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to purchase support and services to meet their disability-related needs. However, the overwhelming majority of Australians with disability - including 1.8 million people of working age - are not NDIS participants. Whether and how their needs are met outside the NDIS has implications for the scheme’s sustainability, and more broadly, for the Australian community.

This report presents findings from research conducted by the Melbourne Disability Institute, in partnership with the Brotherhood of St. Laurence and Baptcare, into 'Tier 2' of the NDIS. This element of the scheme is intended to help all Australians with disability connect with mainstream social and economic activity, and to help communities and mainstream service systems become more inclusive. It is a critical component of the NDIS insurance model. Access to the same services and supports as the rest of the Australian community can prevent, reduce or delay people with disability needing individual support through the NDIS, and improve outcomes for people with disability and their families.

The report draws on data collected across three states in Australia, including:

  1. A high level desktop scan of the service landscape
  2. Two online surveys – one for people with disability aged 18-64 years living in Victoria, Tasmania or South Australia who are not NDIS participants, and one for families and carers of people with disability with the same criteria.
  3. Focus groups involving representatives from service providers, peak bodies, advocacy organisations and Disabled Peoples Organisations (DPOs)

The data exposes a gap between the promoted availability and accessibility of support and services to people with disability who are not NDIS participants, and people’s experiences of attempting to find and use them.

This report sheds light on complex, disconnected and incomplete markets of services and supports being navigated by Australians with disability and their families and carers; heavy reliance on informal support networks and personal resources among people with disability without NDIS funding; and a service ecosystem riddled with inconsistent costs, eligibility criteria, information, priorities and availability of services.

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