If you are one of the 4.3 million Australians living with a disability, there is a whole host of support and services available to you to help you get the most out of life – including the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The NDIS can provide vital funding for disability support services or products that help with daily life, gaining independence, participating in the community and reaching goals.
If you are approved for NDIS funding, you can choose which providers you will claim your services from. One of the most important choices you will make is whether you go with an NDIS registered provider or an unregistered provider.
The risks of unregistered providers
Service providers can still operate without registering with the NDIS. It is not mandatory. If a provider is not registered, you need to be asking why. Recent investigations have revealed that unfortunately, fraud and scams are rife within the NDIS.
There have been many recent examples in the media where unregistered service provider syndicates have been caught defrauding NDIS participants of their funding. Inflation of invoices is common, with companies charging double or triple the amount of time worked simply because they can as they aren’t regulated by the NDIS. Sometimes participants’ budgets are drained without the agreed-to services even being provided.
In an example of this worst-case scenario a Newcastle woman charged with trying to defraud the NDIS of $174,000 was refused bail. https://www.theleader.com.au/story/7135041/newcastle-woman-charged-with-ndis-fraud/
In another appalling example, a participant paid one company almost $5,000 from his NDIS funding to help him organise modifications to make his home more accessible. But no work was ever done. https://www.crikey.com.au/2020/11/19/ndis-fraud-claims/
Low-level fraud often goes unprosecuted. Therefore, it is so important that you trust your service provider. One way is to ensure that your provider is NDIS registered.
Why choose NDIS registered
The NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework provides a nationally consistent approach to help empower and support NDIS participants to exercise choice and control, while ensuring appropriate safeguards are in place. It establishes expectations for providers and their staff to deliver high quality supports.
In-depth documentation is required for NDIS registered providers. They are subject to an NDIS Worker Screen; this includes police checks, working with children checks and international police checks. Registered providers also have access to official NDIA-managed plans. Payments are processed directly through the NDIA, meaning there is less opportunity for fraud. They must have in place transparent policies outlining the way they operate and are subject to annual audits, as well as the 3-year NDIS Commission Certification Audit.
Service providers who are registered with the NDIA have met requirements regarding qualifications, approvals, experience and capacity for the approved supports.
NDIS registered providers, such as Access Your Supports, are obligated to comply with a number of laws, guidelines, policies and service standards, which non-registered providers may not comply with. So don’t take the risk. Make sure your provider is an NDIS registered provider.