More vulnerable West Australians are looking to Legal Aid Western Australia (LAWA) for help after being rejected from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
LAWA has already seen soaring numbers of people from across WA who want to appeal an NDIS rejection to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).
And following the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with a Disability’s public hearings in Perth, more people are expected to come forward for legal help with appeals.
Some of the families who had their claims rejected were advised they didn’t fulfill the criteria for NDIS, while others felt they had not been given an adequate level of support.
Many applications are for children or teenagers, with the applications coming from across the Perth metropolitan area and regional areas.
LAWA has never lost an NDIS appeal, with most matters settled before going to a final hearing.
But with more cases being rejected by the NDIS, there has been an increase in the number of appeal referrals from the AAT.
As a result, LAWA has assisted more than 650 people with legal advice or representation on NDIS matters since 2019.
LAWA Director of Civil Law Gemma Mitchell said Legal Aid WA faced growing demand from clients of all ages across the state who wanted to appeal an NDIS rejection to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
“NDIS appeals are chronically underfunded with increasing demand, and we expect the Royal Commission will prompt more people to come forward,” Ms Mitchell said.
“We know many of the clients who come to us for help with NDIS appeals have mental health conditions, and we are committed to taking a whole of organisation approach to working with clients who have a disability.
“We are helping people to navigate this very complex system, both through the appeal process and with early intervention to enable people to receive the help they need earlier in the journey.
“We are the only specialist in this area in WA. There aren’t any other providers who are funded to provide legal services to NDIS appeals.
“We are expecting even more direct referrals from the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in future.”
Note, Legal Aid WA is a client of ReGen Strategic.