DisabilityCare

$1 Billion program designed to enable people with disability to realise their potential, to make choices, and to be in control of the decisions that affect their lives.

 

DisabilityCare Australia

 

About

DisabilityCare will be aimed at those who are most in need, providing long term, high quality support for around 410,000 people who have a permanent disability that significantly affects their communication, mobility, self-care or self-management.

It will focus on intensive early intervention, particularly for people where there is good evidence that it will substantially improve functioning or delay or lessen a decline in functioning.

It will also include a comprehensive information and referral service, to help people with a disability who need access to mainstream, disability and community supports.

DisabilityCare will give all Australians the peace of mind to know that if they have or acquire a disability that leaves them needing daily assistance with everyday life, or if they care for someone who has a disability, that they will be supported.

 

Objectives

DisabilityCare will look beyond immediate need, and will focus on what’s required across a person’s lifetime. At its core will be:

  • A lifetime approach – funding is long-term and sustainable. People with disability and their carers will have peace of mind that the individualised care and support they receive will change as their needs change.
  • Choice and control – people choose how they get support and have control over when, where and how they receive it. For some, there may be the potential to manage their own funding.
  • Social and economic participation – people with disability will be supported to live a meaningful life in their community to their full potential.
  • Focus on early intervention – the system will have enough resources and will be smart enough to invest in remedial and preventative early intervention instead of just providing support when a family is in crisis.

 

Background

Depending on life’s chances, any one of us could be living with a permanent disability that significantly reduces our ability to independently care for ourselves. On average, every 30 minutes someone in Australia is diagnosed with a significant disability.

Yet in Australia, we have a cruel lottery where the services and support people with disability, their families and carers receive depends on where they live, what disability they have, and how they attained that disability.

As the Productivity Commission found, while there are pockets of success in some states, no disability support arrangements in any state or territory are working well in all areas.

This is despite the enormous effort of disability workers on the ground helping to provide support and services to people with disability, their families and carers, and with funding from all levels of government.

Instead, people with disability are caught in a system that responds to crisis; a system that drips out support rather than invests in someone’s future. A system that is failing.

The Prime Minister released the Productivity Commission’s report on 10 August 2011 and all governments agreed with the recommendation to establish a DisabilityCare (DisabilityCare).

DisabilityCare will turn the way we currently provide disability services on its head. Rather than funding based on historical budget allocations, a funding pool will be based on actuarial assessment of need.

It will recognise that disability is for a lifetime, and so it will take a lifelong approach to providing care and support. This means that assessment will look beyond the immediate need, and across the course of a person’s life. For example, home modifications might be expensive up front, but if they afford a person with significant disability the opportunity of greater independence, or if they mean that a parent carer can continue to care for their loved one, it’s a good investment.

Taking a lifelong approach also means focusing on intensive early intervention, particularly for people where there is good evidence that it will substantially improve functioning or delay or lesson a decline in functioning.

Importantly, an DisabilityCare will support choice for people with disability, their families and carers, and put people in control of the care and support they receive, based on need. Of course, there will also be safeguards in place to support people in exercising this choice and control, and to help them make informed choices.

DisabilityCare will ensure people are no longer “shut out” from opportunities and from independence by providing the appropriate and necessary supports that allow people with disability to reach their full potential.

It will nurture and sustain the support of families, carers and friendship groups — the very communities of support that are critical to improving the lives of people with disability.

And it will include a comprehensive information and referral service, to help people with a disability who need access to mainstream, disability and community supports.

DisabilityCare will give all Australians the peace of mind to know that if they have or acquire a disability that leaves them needing daily assistance with everyday life, or if they care for someone who has a disability, that they will be supported.

 

 

Eligibility

DisabilityCare will work with people who have a permanent disability that significantly affects their communication, mobility, self-care or self-management to ensure that they get the support that is reasonable and necessary to meet their needs. This could include an individual plan and an individually funded package.

Individual support will also be given to people for whom there is good evidence that early intervention would substantially improve functioning (for example, autism, acquired brain injury, cerebral palsy or sensory impairments), and those for whom early intervention will delay or lessen a decline in functioning (for example, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease).

Others will be able to use the scheme to get information about what supports they might be able to use in the community (for example community groups like sporting clubs) and from other government programs such as health, employment support and education.

 

Progress

The Australian, state and territory governments started work immediately in building an DisabilityCare. Progress to date includes:

  • Establishing a Select Council of Treasurers and Disability Services Ministers on Disability Reform to drive development of an DisabilityCare. The Select Council is supported by an Advisory Group.
  • The Government has appointed four expert groups to work under the Advisory Group to guide the more technical requirements of scheme design. Expert groups have been set up to guide: eligibility and assessment, quality and safeguards, sector and workforce capacity and a national approach to control and choice of an DisabilityCare.
  • The Australian Government committed $10 million to support the technical work required to lay the foundations for a launch of an DisabilityCare Scheme. This is allowing the governments to work together to build the critical components, taking into consideration issues such as funding, governance, eligibility, assessment, quality standards and workforce and sector capacity.
  • The Australian Government committed an additional $10 million for projects that examine what needs to be done so that service providers and their workers are able to deliver individual, personalised care, where people with disability and their families and carers have genuine control over the support provided to them.
  • The Australian Government committed $1 billion to support the first stage of an DisabilityCare from July 2013.
  • The Australian Government announced a dedicated agency that will manage the implementation of the first stage of an DisabilityCare.

 

Carers

A core aim of an DisabilityCare is to better support families in their caring role, and to ensure that role is nurtured and can be sustained.

We know that our current system sometimes overlooks the role of family and carers, and doesn’t support long-term, sustainable care.

DisabilityCare will move away from the crisis model where families only receive support if they are unable to continue in their caring role and there are no other options. Instead, it will work with families before they reach crisis to make sure that the valuable informal care they provide can be sustained.

 

Consultation

We recognise that people with disability, their families and carers must be at the centre of this reform. These are the very people who have a unique knowledge and understanding of what’s needed. We also need to involve the disability sector and expert groups to provide advice and guidance on some of the more technical issues.

DisabilityCare Advisory Group has been established to provide independent advice to the Select Council on Disability Reform. The Advisory Group will be engaging with people with disability, their families and carers, stakeholders and the sector on the foundations necessary for reform and the overall design of an DisabilityCare.

The Government has also funded the National Disability and Carer Alliance to engage with the community and disability sector. As part of the engagement process, the Alliance will develop and organise forums for the community and disability sector to come together about the DisabilityCare.

The Alliance is made up of three peak disability bodies – National Disability Services, Carers Australia and the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations

Details on how to get involved will be available soon. In the meantime, sign up for updates and keep in touch with the progress of an DisabilityCare.

 

Trials

The first stage of DisabilityCare will be launched in South Australia, Tasmania, the ACT, the Hunter in NSW and the Barwon area of Victoria.

Governments are building the scheme in selected locations in the first instance to ensure that the implementation of the scheme is informed by feedback from people with disability, their families and carers, and service providers and community organisations.

The new scheme will involve major changes to the way that governments work with people with disability, their families and carers and service providers.

Governments want to make sure that we get this reform right so that we build a system that is sustainable over the long term for people with disability, their families and carers.

Launching the scheme in selected locations will provide us with valuable experience and evidence to inform its further implementation.

First stage locations were chosen based on their ability to ensure that we are able to fully assess all aspects of the operation of DisabilityCare. This involved a mix of considerations including demographics of the regions, the capacity and readiness of the workforce and a range of different locations. This will enable us to understand how to roll-out DisabilityCare across the country.

When fully implemented, the DisabilityCare will provide support to people who have a permanent and significant disability, which affects their ability to participate in the community or employment and requires care and support.  More detailed descriptions of who would be eligible for this assistance are currently being developed.

Some launch sites will focus on specific age groups in the first stage.  This will enable us to develop greater understanding of how DisabilityCare should best support the needs of these different age groups.

 

What does an ‘insurance’ scheme mean?

Under an insurance approach, the costs and risks of severe disability for a person is distributed among the wider community as a shared responsibility. People’s needs will be carefully assessed and regularly re-assessed so they get the right support at the right time.

An insurance approach means that:

  • people with disability don’t need to bear the costs of their disability on their own,
  • that they have the certainty that if they or their  loved ones are born with or acquire a disability, they will get the care and support they need.

Taking a long term view of people’s care and support needs ensures that people with disability get the right support earlier, rather than waiting until they reach crisis point.

 

Service Providers

Under DisabilityCare, existing service providers will still play a core role in working with people with disability.

However, a key objective of the first stage of DisabilityCare is to develop increased flexibility and innovation, so many people will be able to access different types of support.  This will be developed as part of a new planning process with people with disability, their families and carers, during which their goals and aspirations, and how their daily life is affected by their disability, are fully understood and support options explored.

 

Roll Out

The Government made clear in the 2012-13 Budget that lessons learned in launching the scheme will inform when and how we to proceed to a full scheme.

The Australian Government is continuing to boost investment in care and support for people with disability, their families and carers around the country including:

  • $8.7 billion from 2009-10 to 2015-16 under the National Disability Agreement to increase and improve specialist disability services such as supported accommodation, targeted support and respite.
  • a further $3 billion from 2011-12 to 2014-15 in Disability Employment Services to strengthen links to training and skills development for job seekers with a disability.
  • an extra $200 million from 2011-12 to 2013-14 for support for school students with a disability; and
  • providing more than $118 million from 2011-12 to 2015-16 for access to early intervention services for children with vision or hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome or fragile X syndrome.
  • in excess of $220 million  for early intervention services for children with autism under the Helping Children with Autism initiative.

 

2018-12-04T21:20:25+00:00March 11th, 2013|