10361 – Individual submission
Recently I started the process of applying for the NDIS. I am appalled at the inefficiency and difficulty of the process. My disability does not affect my hearing, sight or speech and my mind is in working order. I have been a teacher in the past and can use a computer but I have still found the process difficult.
This has been my experience as follows.
I read through the website and called 1800 number to start process.
Problem One: The application form states that if you have letters and supporting documents you do not need to fill in the form.
I had letters and supporting documents so I decided to use them in and not the form and just filled in the section of the form with my name and details.
Problem Two: On the form it states you can post it to canberra or hand deliver to your nearest NDIS provider. I looked up my local ndis provider and took the forms there, thinking this was the quickest option to get them uploaded. The receptionist called someone from out the back and they spoke with me in the foyer waiting area and took my copied forms promising to upload them and I would be contacted soon.
Problem Three: Two weeks later I had heard nothing from the ndis, Problem Four: so I went back to the local ndis provider and spoke to the receptionist who told me I could not speak to the anyone there without an appointment and to get an appointment I had to ring the ndis! I tried to tell her I had already seen a woman there but she was intent on me not seeing anyone. Problem Five: I went home and rang the ndis waiting 20 mins again to get a pick up. They told me the receptionist was wrong and someone should have seen me. They told me my forms had not been uploaded. After two weeks!! I scanned my forms and emailed them while on the phone with the ndis and this person said they would be uploaded.
Problem Six: Two weeks later I had heard nothing, so rang again. Waited again and found out again they had still not been uploaded. I resent them for the third go at uploading. It had been six weeks now from starting the process and my forms were still not uploaded from no fault of mine. The system and people working in it are incompetent.
Problem Seven: Every time I went to the local ndis it was difficult for me and every time I called the 1800 number I wasted time just waiting for a pick up.
Problem Eight: The process of uploading forms should be simple. the My gov site does not give the facility to upload documents quickly and easily. Centrelink use the photo upload on their app which is easy and you can see you have uploaded the document straight away with a date.
Problem Nine: Using the 1800 number you get a different person every time with different information, this is inefficient and confusing, slowing the process. It feels like a deliberate stalling mechanism for anyone to access the ndis. The first line of contact should be a face to face appointment with someone who knows the process and can direct the person in need to get help in the right direction. The existing system is deliberately stalling the process, confusing people as each 1800 number person seems to have different knowledge of the system and no-one has the control to fix anything, as they are the first lined have no power or control of the process. The person in need cannot speak to anyone in the second line of the process, these are the people who process your application and you can’t speak to them. The buffering of vulnerable people from contacting the person who processes the application is unfair and the time wasting to access the ndis is a terrible way to treat people who are in desperate need of help. You are dealing with the most vulnerable people in our community and treating them defensively, like criminals who might be ripping the system off. This is inhumane.
Problem Ten: Eventually I received a letter stating my application had been received and that I needed to fill in the form! I rang again, waited again, asked the question why I needed to fill in the form when I had sent detailed letters and supporting documents. They told me I needed more detail in several areas. This information was not on my letter. I took notes on this information.
Problem Eleven: I had 28 days from when the letter is sent to complete the task. I had 18 days left on the clock.
My letter arrived with 18 days left to get a specialist, a physiotherapist, my GP, the occupational therapist and the clinical physchologist to fill in the form. I rang to get an extension as i had for the first application and was told I wasn’t allowed an extension on supporting documents and that my application would be cancelled if I did not respond in 28 days! The woman telling me this was hard and told me I should know all this as it is on the website and that I should read it! I asked about complaining about the process and she told me it was a waste of time complaining to the ndis as it was federal guidelines that determine the process. so basically she was telling me even if I complained nothing would change. How unfair and ridiculous. I live in the country 2 hours from Melbourne, my specialist is in Melbourne and takes 3 months to get into see, there was no way I could get her to fill in the forms in that time frame. The stress and anxiety this process was giving me was horrible.
Problem Twelve: I was using the MYgov app and realised my 10 days code had run out! Another hurdle the ndis has placed in front of vulnerable people to stop them accessing the ndis. Codes and password numbers! Unbelievable!! How much harder can you make it! I rang to get a new code and after telling this ndis 1800 number person my difficulties with the 28 day time frame for supporting documents they said they would send an email to the team to extend my time. Third person on 1800 number third different story on supporting document 28 day time frame! More confusion. This system was really testing my patience, my energy levels, my knowledge of apps and codes and computers, how on Earth do people worse off than me deal with system?
I eventually managed to recontact my five supporting document providers and get them to fill in them form. This was a difficult task, asking specialists a second time to fill in documents, as they don’t have the time for filling in documents in their own time and often charge extra for this to be done. I was lucky they didn’t charge me for this.
I am now waiting.
I started in July it is now October.
Problem Thirteen: I have been told you can wait 8 months! I need help now.
Get in together NDIS!!