Publication Details

Hui, F., Cortese, C., Nikidehaghani, M., Chapple, S. & McCombie, K. (2018). Hard to Reach: Examining the National Disability Insurance Scheme Experience - A Case Study in Wollongong. Australia: University of Wollongong.


We report on interviews conducted to examine the effectiveness of the Australian National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Our aims were to assess the effectiveness of the NDIS in communicating with people with disabilities who are socio‐economically disadvantaged, to consider the types of assistance required, and to provide recommendations to improve the NDIS. Our interviewees are characterised as ‘hard to reach’, a cohort that is missing out on benefits they might receive under the NDIS because of the socioeconomic disadvantage that compounds their disability hardship. Some of our key findings were that many of our interviewees were unaware of the NDIS, the application process was overwhelming for them, and that the vast majority lacked family and friends to help them apply. We propose a number of measures that will help to bring the ‘hard to reach’ population within the ambit of the NDIS. Recommendations: 1. That the NDIA revise its communication strategy to socioeconomically disadvantaged groups with disabilities. 2. That resources are allocated to providing advocacy support for socio‐economically disadvantaged groups with disabilities. 3. That the classification and eligibility criteria used to access the NDIS are reviewed. 4. That further research is undertaken into specific geographic, economic and social cohorts, particularly where the potential for sub‐optimal outcomes from the NDIS exists.

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