If you believe you should be entitled to access supports through the NDIS then you need to make an application seeking such supports. Obviously you will need to show that they are necessary and properly funded by the NDIS.
What happens if a decision is made against you either entirely or in part? There are steps you can take to have the decision revisited.
The first step is to apply for an internal review. This must be done within three months of receiving written notice of a decision.
An internal review involves the original decision being reviewed by an NDIA officer who was not involved in the making of the first decision. There is no appearance necessary at this stage. If the desired outcome is still not reached and you believe the decision is wrong then you can apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).
You have 28 days from the date of receiving the decision of the internal review to apply to the AAT.
The AAT was set up to review decisions made under Commonwealth legislation. It is an independent body which reviews decisions “on the merits”.
The powers the AAT has are to:
- Affirm the original decision;
- Vary the original decision;
- Set aside the original decision and substitute it with a new one; or
- Remit the decision to the original decision maker for reconsideration.
The stated aims of the AAT are that it should be:
- Fair, just, economical, informal and quick;
- Proportionate to the importance and complexity of the matter; and
- Promote public trust and confidence.
The AAT procedure essentially takes the form of very relaxed court proceedings. You and the NDIA are the parties and the AAT will initially attempt to help you reach an agreement. Once an application is made to the AAT a time schedule is put in place. The first step involves collating all the necessary documentation and then the matter will likely be set down for a Case Conference. During this process you will be given the opportunity to provide further evidence to support your position and review any further evidence provided by the NDIA. The Case Conference is the first chance the AAT will have to meet you and ascertain whether an agreement can be reached.
If no agreement is reached at the Case Conference then a Case Plan will be drawn up which details all the necessary steps to be taken before your matter is then dealt with by way of either Conciliation or a Hearing. These steps can include narrowing the issues to be dealt with and providing further additional material where necessary. If this process fails then the AAT will hear both parties sides of the case in a more formal manner and make a decision for you. Such a decision is binding and only appealable on an issue of law.
Baker Love is able to advise you from the outset as to the likelihood of success on appeal to the AAT and thereafter prepare your case and represent you throughout the procedure.