NDIS by Numbers: 5 Interesting Statistics

1. 10% of NDIS participants account for almost 50% of committed funding[1]

You’ve probably heard that the average NDIS package size is about $39k per year. But that averages can be misleading and indeed the majority of participants do not have a package around the $39k mark.

There’s an uneven spread of package sizes; some participants allocated much more than $39k, but most are allocated less. This is because NDIS funding is needs-based, and most NDIS participants have relatively low support needs.

It’s a small minority of participants with support needs over $100,000 that account for almost almost half of all NDIS funding.

This means a service providing intensive support to higher needs customers may only need a few customers to be viable. However, in any given region, there will be relatively few customers who require such support.

 

2. At least 1% of people under 65 have a need for assistance due to disability in nearly every LGA.[2]

Where there’s people, there’s disability. Although it is true that having a disability can affect where you can afford to live, the differences from suburb to suburb aren’t as big as you think. The best predictor of the disability services market is the total population of the area.

To illustrate, the 2011 Census data shows that for all but seven local government areas across Australia, there were at least 1% under 65 who reported ‘need for assistance with core activities’ (that’s ABS speak for ‘reasonably significant disability’). The areas with lower rates are the very remote (e.g., the Pilbara region of WA) or the very wealthy (e.g., North Sydney). Only some small regional LGAs have rates above 6%.

 

3. In 2014-2015, 28% of funding allocated to NDIS participants went unspent.[3]

Contrary to fears that NDIS spending would ‘blow out’, actual spending in the trial sites has been substantially less than expected. This is not because of any caps on funding, or fewer participants, but because of an under supply of goods and services.

That 28% of unspent funding points to the considerable untapped opportunity for providers. What’s less clear is exactly what types of goods and services are under supplied. Anecdotally we hear that Allied Health professionals have experienced 12-18 month waitlists in some areas, though the NDIA is yet to publish any statistics.

 

4. 51% of Australians under 65 with frequent ‘need for assistance’ have difficulty learning and understanding, so this is likely true of higher needs NDIS participants[4]

Statistics published in terms of ‘primary disability’ hide the reality that many NDIS participants have impairments in multiple areas (e.g., physical, sensory, speech, intellectual, and/or psychosocial). Further, the greater your support needs, the greater chance of multiple impairment types.

For example, ABS data shows that among people under 65 with a ‘profound disability’ (i.e., people who need assistance with mobility, communication, or self-care), 51% report some difficulty with “learning and understanding”. This likely holds for higher needs NDIS participants.

The lesson is that even services whose focus is notionally physical, sensory, speech, or psychosocial-related support, accommodating intellectual or cognitive differences will nevertheless be important.

 

5. By 2050, the NDIS will be paying for itself and benefitting the Australian economy by $32 billion each year[5]

Although the benefits of the NDIS for people with disabilities and their families are numerous, it’s worth remembering that, in the long run, the NDIS also pays for itself in cold, hard, economic terms. In modelling the scheme, the Productivity Commission estimated that the NDIS will increase GDP by $32 billion each year.

This figure accounts only for the quantifiable benefits, in particular, the increased opportunity for people with disabilities and their families to participate in the workforce. Whether you’re a person with a disability, or a service provider, by participating in the transition to the NDIS you help build this economic outcome alongside the social impact of a fair, equitable, and empowering disability sector.

[1] NDIA (2015). Report on the sustainability of the scheme: 1 July 2013 to 30 September 2015.http://www.ndis.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/Quarterly-Reports/Report-on-the-sustainability-of-the-scheme-2015-16Q1.pdf

[2] Australian Bureau of Statistics (2011), table generated January 2016 using Census 2011 Table Builder. http://www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/censushome.nsf/home/tablebuilder?opendocument&navpos=240

[3] NDIA (2015). Report on the sustainability of the scheme: 1 July 2013 to 30 September 2015.http://www.ndis.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/Quarterly-Reports/Report-on-the-sustainability-of-the-scheme-2015-16Q1.pdf

[4] Australian Bureau of Statistics (2012), table generated January 2016 using Survey of Disability, Ageing, and Carers 2012 Table Builder. http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/lookup/4430.0.30.002Main%20Features12012

[5] Productivity Commission (2011) Disability Care and Support, Report no. 54, Canberra.