Audit office warns against misuse of NDIS payments

Audit office warns against misuse of NDIS payments | Insurance Business

Audit office warns against misuse of NDIS payments
The audit office said there is little to prevent the misuse of funds paid out by the National Disability Insurance Scheme, which now totals $1.1 billion, after the federal government confirmed an independent review of the $22 billion project.
Treasurer Scott Morrison said last week that the Productivity Commission will conduct a review of the NDIS to examine overall costs, value for money, and its long-term sustainability, with a position paper to be released in May and a report in September, ABC reported.
According to the Australian Financial Review report, there are two ways by which those eligible for the scheme can receive payments  ̶  they can opt to directly receive funds or have their plan managed by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), where funds go to the provider.

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Under the first option, providers have to keep records of the payments, while the individuals will simply have to keep their receipts. This system, the auditors said, means there is “insufficient documentary evidence” as to the identity of the recipients and/or their eligibility to the scheme.
“There are no documented compliance activities for payments made directly to self–managed participants,” the auditors said.
“The [audit office]... noted that there was insufficient documentary evidence to demonstrate quality assurance processes over the integrity of decisions made concerning provider registrations, participant identity, or eligibility and participant plan approvals.”
The office has been informed by the NDIA about its plans for “a comprehensive assurance framework that examines payment integrity,” even though the agency has already paid out $1.1 billion to service providers and those on self-managed plans, the report said.
NDIA’s quarterly report as of June 30, 2016, showed that $1.09 billion had been paid out, with $623.2 million provided in 2015-16.
An evaluation of the scheme released last year also raised similar fears about fraud in the self-managed program, noting the scheme’s lack of sufficient safeguards, AFR said.

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