People with a permanent and significant disability may be eligible to apply for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The NDIS provides individualised funding directly to enable people to access services and supports that are most helpful to improving quality of life. Sometimes partners, family, friends, housemates, neighbours or carers will be financially abusive via NDIS funding.
Research has found that women with a disability are more likely to experience financial abuse. Common forms of abuse are the perpetrator spending NDIS funds on themselves or restricting access to or autonomy over funds. Someone restricting, denying or hindering access to the NDIS altogether is abusive.
NDIS funds can be self managed by the person with a disability or by someone they trust. NDIS funds should never be taken by other people or be used to pay for other people’s things or services. Fraudulently using or misappropriating NDIS funds is a crime.
It is important to know that people can have a NDIS plan manager to help with managing funds. These plan managers must meet NDIS Practice Standards and adhere to the NDIS Code of Conduct - they help ensure that NDIS funds are available for use in the areas a person needs them most. An NDIS participant can work together with their plan manager to have control over how their funds are used.
There are many different types of supports available through the NDIS which include:
- Home and daily living services to help a person live independently including help with personal care, cooking and cleaning.
- Help make to make a home more accessible by installing things like ramps or handrails and funding assistive technologies like mobility devices, ipads and hearing aids.
- Health and wellbeing services like physiotherapy, mental health support and women’s health services including family violence support.
- The NDIS also connects people to services in their community. This includes support going to events and public places, connections to doctors, community groups, sporting clubs, support groups, libraries and schools.
If you are concerned that person with a disability is being abused or coerced, you could consider reporting the behaviour to the National Disability Abuse & Neglect Hotline.