Pilot update

The Independent Assessment Pilot has been extended until April 2019 and now invites those who are approaching their scheduled plan review to participate. The pilot has been extended to ensure a sufficient sample of participants complete assessments, so that meaningful conclusions can be drawn from the pilot. 

What is the Independent Assessment Pilot?

The NDIA has launched the Independent Assessment Pilot (IAP) to better understand and assess the impact of disability for people seeking access to the NDIS. Participants of this voluntary pilot undergo a functional impact assessment with an independent assessor using standardised assessment tools. 

The Independent Assessment Pilot is a voluntary assessment process for people with autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability and psychosocial disability who are seeking access to the NDIS, or who are eligible for the NDIS and are developing their NDIS plans. 

This pilot introduces a functional impact assessment with an independent assessor using standardised assessment tools, which helps determine the impact a person's disability has on their capacity to engage in the community, work place, and social activities.

Voluntary, free of charge, and available to:

  • people who have already applied to the NDIS and are waiting for an access decision
  • new participants who are yet to develop a plan
  • those who are approaching a scheduled plan review.

Analysis by the NDIA shows access and planning decisions have been variable for participants with autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, and psychosocial disability. The pilot focuses on understanding the functional impact of these disabilities to make sure participants are able to access the right supports.

Participants in the pilot, which is being run in areas of New South Wales for people aged seven years and older, will have the chance to provide feedback about their experience and shape future improvements to the NDIS.

This feedback and information gathered through the pilot will support the NDIA in improving the consistency, accuracy and reliability of Agency decision-making, and help deliver improved and more consistent access decisions and plans.

Any future improvements to the access and planning process will only be undertaken after further consultation with people with disability, their families, the sector and providers.

Any person who is eligible for the NDIS will receive the reasonable and necessary supports they need.

Who is eligible for the pilot?

The pilot is voluntary and is free of charge. Individuals who meet the following criteria may be invited to participate:

  • People aged 7 – 64 years.
  • People who have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability or psychosocial disability.
  • People who live within the following districts: Sydney, Western Sydney, North Sydney, South East Sydney, Nepean Blue Mountains, South Western Sydney, Central Coast, Hunter New England and Illawarra-Shoalhaven.
  • People who:

    • have applied for the NDIS but have not yet been assessed for eligibility

    • have applied for the NDIS and have had an ‘access met’ decision but do not yet have a plan

    • are approaching a scheduled plan review. 

How will the pilot work?

A person who opts-in to the pilot, will undertake the same application or planning process as everyone else, except there will be an additional independent functional impact assessment completed. This assessment will be delivered by a qualified professional from The Benevolent Society. 

The functional impact assessment will include one or more of the PEDI-CAT, Vineland-3 and LSP-16 assessment methods, depending on age and diagnosis. 

The outcome of each assessment will be provided securely to the NDIA, and depending on what stage the person is at in the participant pathway, contribute towards the progress of their planning or access decision. 

There will be no extension or delay to the access or review process for a person who chooses to participate in the pilot. The NDIA will ensure all individuals continue to receive the reasonable and necessary supports required to achieve the goals outlined in their plan.

When is the Independent Assessment Pilot taking place?

The IAP pilot is taking place between November 2018 and April 2019.

Where is the Independent Assessment Pilot taking place?

The IAP pilot is being occurring in New South Wales only. People who live within the following districts may be invited to take part in the pilot:

  • Sydney
  • Western Sydney
  • North Sydney
  • South East Sydney
  • Nepean Blue Mountains
  • South Western Sydney
  • Central Coast
  • Hunter New England
  • Illawarra-Shoalhaven

What is the Independent Assessment Pilot process?

People who volunteer to participate in the pilot will complete the steps that all participants are required to take when applying for access to, creating or reviewing a plan with the NDIS, except that they will undertake additional assessments with their parent/legal guardian or representative. 

The pilot process:

  • Those that volunteer for the pilot will be connected with an independent assessor from The Benevolent Society to schedule an assessment appointment.
  • The independent assessor will undertake an assessment of the functional ability of the participant using one or a combination of PEDI-CAT, Vineland-3 and LSP-16 assessment tools.
  • The outcomes of each assessment will be shared with the NDIA to inform access and planning decisions.
  • Healthcare professionals from The Benevolent Society, who have longstanding experience and expertise in disability, will undertake all pilot assessments.
  • Functional impact assessments are just one piece in a collection of supporting evidence that the NDIA considers when making its decisions.

For more detailed information on the process, please see the resources;

Why should I participate in the pilot?

Feedback on the pilot from parents, legal guardians, representatives and participants will be instrumental in shaping how the NDIS supports people with autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability and psychosocial disability in the future. There will be opportunities throughout the process for open discussion and feedback in the form of opt-in surveys and focus groups, giving those who participate in the pilot the chance to shape any future improvements to the NDIS access and planning process.

IAP assessments are offered free of charge and will support a person's application for the NDIS, and help determine the supports that are included in their plan.

Standardised assessment tools will capture consistent information to ensure you get a fair access decision or plan outcome.

Information gathered from the pilot will help the NDIA to understand how it can better support people with autism spectrum disorder, psychosocial disability and intellectual disability now and in the future.

How can I get involved?

If you are eligible, the NDIA will contact you and invite you to participate in the pilot.

Downloadable resources

Find out more

Click on the links for more information:

This page current as of
27 February 2019