The Independent Assessment Pilot (IAP) has now closed. 

Since its launch in November 2018, the IAP has been well received by participants and their representatives. Seventy per cent of those invited, chose to volunteer for the pilot. The pilot  successfully reached the intended number of 500 completed functional capacity assessments conducted by an independent assessor.

These assessments were completed for participants aged from 7 to 64 years, with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Intellectual Disability or Psychosocial Disability, across most metropolitan areas of NSW.

The NDIA thanks participants and their representatives for volunteering to take part in the pilot, and for providing feedback on their experience. This feedback is valuable in helping us to deliver a Scheme that is focused on the needs of participants and the people in their lives.

The NDIA also thanks members of the disability sector, our Partners, Uniting and St Vincent de Paul, and our Independent Assessor partner, The Benevolent Society, for support that has proved instrumental to the success of the pilot. All contributions are helping us to deliver a consistent, reliable and fair Scheme for all NDIS participants, their families and carers.

If you have further enquiries about the IAP, please email

What is the Independent Assessment Pilot?

The NDIA 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 underwent 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 introduced 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.

The pilot was voluntary, free of charge, and available to:

  • people who have already applied to the NDIS and were waiting for an access decision
  • new participants who were yet to develop a plan
  • those who were 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 focused on understanding the functional impact of these disabilities to make sure participants are able to access the right supports.

Participants in the pilot, which was run in areas of New South Wales for people aged seven years and older, were able to provide feedback about their experience and shape future improvements to the NDIS.

This feedback and information gathered 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 was eligible for the pilot?

The pilot was voluntary and free of charge. Individuals who meet the following criteria were 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 the pilot worked

A person who volunteered for the pilot, undertook the same application or planning process as everyone else, except they completed an additional independent functional impact assessment completed. This assessment was delivered by a qualified professional from The Benevolent Society. 

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

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

When is the Independent Assessment Pilot taking place?

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

Improving the NDIS

Feedback on the pilot from parents, legal guardians, representatives and participants is instrumental in shaping how the NDIS supports people with autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability and psychosocial disability in the future.

Those who participated in the pilot had the chance to shape any future improvements to the NDIS access and planning process through open discussion and feedback in the form of opt-in surveys and phone interviews throughout the pilot process.

IAP assessments were offered free of charge, supported a person's application for the NDIS, and helped determine the supports that were included in their plan.

Standardised assessment tools captured consistent information to ensure participants get fair access decisions or plan outcomes.

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.

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This page current as of
9 May 2019