NDIS in hot water again

The National Disability Insurance Agency (“NDIA”), the government agency whose function is to implement the National Disability Insurance Scheme (“NDIS”), was criticised in a recent Supreme Court case.

Sharp v Home Care Service of NSW [2018] NSWSC 1319 required the Court to make a decision relating to the approval of a settlement payable to Ms Tegan Sharp.  Ms Sharp, a 25-year-old woman who was born with cerebral palsy, is legally blind and deaf, has profound physical and mental disabilities and has required 24-hour care since birth.

In 2012, Ms Sharp suffered third degree burns when she was scalded whilst being showered by a carer employed by the Home Care Service of NSW.  A settlement was agreed between the parties and proceedings were commenced for the Court’s approval when the NDIA served a notice requiring repayment of past care from Ms Sharp’s settlement, with amounts payable of up to $136,000.

Her Honour Justice Lonergan was quick to approve the settlement but deny NDIA’s request for repayment.  She re-stated the position of Ms Sharp’s legal representatives in saying the impairment for which Ms Sharp was being compensated was not an impairment for which the NDIS has provided any service.

Her Honour Justice Lonergan concluded: “no sum at all is due to the NDIA/NDIS, either now or in the future, from the compensation figure agreed in this litigation”.

NDIA’s claim for repayment can only be viewed as distasteful, and yet another example of the NDIS hindering, rather than helping, the very people is purports to assist.