Intellectual Disability and Complex Intersections: Marginalisation under the National Disability Insurance Scheme

Authored by:

Kristy Muir, Karen Soldatic

Status: Completed May 2014

University, Research Partners:

This paper questions whether Australia's new disability support regime, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), can meet its aims for people with disabilities who also experience complex social disadvantage, using the examples of people with intellectual disabilities from cultural and linguistically diverse backgrounds and those who cycle in and out of the criminal justice system. The paper undertakes a critical analysis of the proposed eligibility requirements under the NDIS and assesses the risks of marginalisation in the proposed approach for people with intellectual disabilities who also experience other complex individual and social disadvantage, and begins to ask, “Will the NDIS meet its aims if it does not address these complexities?” The analysis suggests that under the draft rules for eligibility the onus is on individuals to prove their eligibility for supports funded by the NDIS on a case-by-case basis and, moreover, to prove that receiving such support will reduce their future dependence on the system. This raises a number of issues for those whose experience of disability is tied to complex and intractable social disadvantage, and raises questions about the NDIS's ability to meet its aims in relation to rights, choice, and control. The paper demonstrates the ways in which people with disabilities who are already at risk of disengagement from support systems and social exclusion risk further marginalisation in the context of an NDIS, as it currently appears to have little capacity to recognise and respond to their complex need for disability social support.

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