Kymberly Martin
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Employment roadblocks ditched for NDIS participants

Changes to help National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants find work kick in this month as the NDIS Participant Employment Taskforce clears the way for better employment outcomes.

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“NDIS participants will have now have easier access to employment support funding in NDIS plans by activating employment supports as soon as they find a job, instead of waiting for the next plan review,” Social Services Minister, Paul Fletcher said.

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) will host a national hour-long interactive ‘Let’s Talk About Work’ webinar on February 21 to inform NDIS participants on how they can include employment in their individual plans. People on the webinar will hear from other participants about their experience of getting a job and having work as a goal in their NDIS plans. The webinar is free and includes Auslan interpretations and live captions. Content will be  recorded and posted on the NDIS website following the event.

Local Area Coordinators and planners will also be given fresh training and support materials to discuss employment options.

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“For new NDIS participants with a job in an Australian Disability Enterprise (ADE) without supported employment in their plan, funding for their employment supports continues,” the minister said. “For those people, Case-Based Funding will continue to the ADE until their plan review is completed.”

Physical Disability Council of NSW (PDCN) gave a cautious welcome to  the changes  particularly when it comes to ensuring people can access assistance as soon as they are successful in gaining employment.

“The goal of getting a job and playing an active part in the economy is one in which many people with disability fervently wish to be a part,” PDCN executive officer, Serena Ovens, told F2L.

“However we are concerned that this is still pushing participants to assisted or supported employment, and may not allow flexibility for those looking for open employment and do not wish to go through an ADE or Disability Employment Service to find positions, to choose their own recruitment services or supports.”

PDCN will continue to monitor the changes, and meet with the NDIA to ensure there is full choice and control for NDIS participants when it comes to employment, she said.

National Disability Services (NDS) CEO, Chris Tanti said the NDS has been working for a long time on this issue with government, and the announcement is in line with its recommendations. “We know how important it is for all people to work, and this has been especially difficult for many of our Disability Enterprises who have been faced with funding issues due to the delays, which ultimately impacts on people with a disability who are ready to work.”

Australian Federation of Disability Organisations CEO, Ross Joyce, welcomed the renewed focus on employment options for people with disability. “It is important that this has been recognised and will be raised with people with disability prior to their planning meeting so they can come better prepared. It is also critical that NDIS planners will be well trained in employment planning as a priority. Disability Employment Services will play a key role in the success of ensuring people with disability are linked to open employment opportunities,” he said.

For more information or to register for the webinar visit: www.ndis.gov.au/news/webinars