Flexibility in individual funding schemes: How well did Australia's National Disability Insurance Scheme support remote learning for students with disability during COVID-19?

Sophie Yates, Helen Dickinson, Cathie Smith, Massimiliano Tani

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Individualized funding schemes are designed to offer people with disability greater choice and control over the services they receive. In this research, we report on a survey of over 700 families to explore how Australia's National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) supported children and young people and their families to learn remotely during COVID-19. NDIS funding to support education during the first COVID-19 lockdown period forms an important case study of the flexibility of individualized funding schemes. Our results suggest that participant experiences varied widely, with some people able to make the changes they required and others left with a significant service gap. This shows that individual funding schemes are not necessarily more flexible than traditional systems in an emergency situation—useful flexibility depends on many factors, such as clarity of information giving, all actors having a shared message, proactive support of flexibility initiatives, and participants' ability to quickly navigate a complicated system. This research also highlights problems with the interface between the NDIS and mainstream services such as education.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)906-920
    JournalSocial Policy & Administration
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

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