People making a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) appeal can now get legal representation from Legal Aid Queensland (LAQ).
Established in 2013, the NDIS allows eligible participants to access government funding for reasonable and necessary supports to allow the person with a disability to participate and contribute to social and economic life to the best of their abilities.
Decisions about their eligibility for funding—and the extent of that funding— are made by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). If a person is unhappy with the decision, they can ask for an internal review by the agency, and if they remain dissatisfied, they can apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for review.
LAQ provides legal services through an arrangement with the Department of Social Services if a case raises complex or novel legal issues. Applications for legal assistance are made directly to the Department of Social Services.
Senior lawyer Loretta Kreet said LAQ’s first appeals case involved a client who was not satisfied with the NDIS plan they entered into in 2016, as it didn't provide necessary and reasonable supports.
“The client asked the NDIA to review the supports in the plan but this wasn't agreed to and NDIA advised the client they wouldn't review the plan,” Ms Kreet said.
“The client then appealed to the AAT but the NDIA argued that the AAT could only make a decision about the plan, not the supports outlined in the plan. The client wanted the AAT to make a decision about the supports, which lead to a jurisdictional hearing in March 2017.
“As a result of this hearing, the tribunal decided it did have jurisdiction to review the supports in the plan. Following the hearing the issues between the NDIA and the client have been settled by agreement.”