VALID Submission regarding Supported Independent Living

VALID thanks the Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme for the opportunity presented by this inquiry to further examine and address some of the important issues with Supported Independent Living (SIL) funding. VALID has three key points and recommendations based on our experience of providing direct assistance over the past six years to hundreds of people with intellectual disabilities who are participants of the scheme.

KEY POINTS & RECOMMENDATIONS

1.       The NDIS must ensure that people with intellectual disabilities are able to exercise their right to choose where and who they live with, and that they are never forced to live with others in order to receive supports.

Persons with disabilities have the opportunity to choose their place of residence and where and with whom they live on an equal basis with others and are not obliged to live in a particular living arrangement.

- UNCRPD Article 19(a)

Recommendation:

The NDIS must change SIL funding formulas to give preference to independent living without forced sharing and never default to group supports for people with intellectual disabilities.

2.       The NDIS must ensure that people with intellectual disabilities are supported to exercise their right to make decisions about their living arrangements and must prevent service providers from making decisions about where people live and who they live with.

States Parties shall take appropriate measures to provide access by persons with disabilities to the support they may require in exercising their legal capacity.

- UNCRPD Article 12(3)

Recommendation:

The NDIS must fund the support for decision-making necessary for participants with intellectual disability so that they have real choice about where they live, who they live with, and who supports them in their home – this might mean additional Support Coordination funding and the facilitation of decision-making supports (e.g. person-centred planning, Circle of Support)

3.       Governments must ensure that people with intellectual disabilities have access to affordable and accessible housing that provides for independent living, regardless of the complexity of their support needs, including increases to public housing stock and rental subsidy schemes.

States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to an adequate standard of living for themselves and their families, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions, and shall take appropriate steps to safeguard and promote the realization of this right without discrimination on the basis of disability.

-  UNCRPD Article 28(1)

Recommendation:

State and federal governments must commit substantial funding increases for new affordable and accessible housing for NDIS participants so that people with intellectual disability are not forced to accept SIL arrangements that compromise their safety, choice, and control.

We offer these key points and recommendations in good faith and with genuine enthusiasm for the success of the NDIS in making good lives a reality for people with intellectual disability and their families and communities.