The National Disability Insurance Scheme must be overhauled to give participants transparency, legislated wait times and a clearer understanding of decisions made, an independent review has found.
The implementation of the system, which is supposed to support people with disabilities by giving them choice and control over their supports, "has not been smooth" and "people with disability have reported poor experiences when working with NDIA staff and its partners in the community," the report said.
The independent report commissioned by the government and written by former finance secretary David Tune made 29 recommendations, but said "it is clear that it will still take a number of years before the NDIS is delivering consistent positive experiences for people with disability".
While the government has committed to making changes, it hasn't committed to implementing any of the specific recommendations, with an official response to come "in the coming weeks".
"We'll use these findings to update and clarify the legislation and remove barriers to a better NDIS," said minister responsible for the NDIS Stuart Robert in a statement.
Problems with the scheme were mostly "operational in nature" or from the transition from state or territory based systems to the new national system, the report said.
"It is clear ... that many of the benefits the NDIS seeks to achieve are yet to be consistently realised," the report said, with some participants finding the transition to the scheme "confusing and frustrating".
Legislation should be changed to be clearer for people with psychosocial disabilities, including when an impairment is permanent and what is considered "reasonable and necessary supports," the report found.
It also called for the National Disability Insurance Agency, which is responsible for operating the scheme, to prioritise information technology upgrades to allow people with disabilities to track where their processes are up to.
Every Australian Counts, an advocacy group for people with disabilities that campaigned for the introduction of the NDIS, said the report echoed what people with disability and their families had been saying for a long time.
"Mr Tune has come up with a raft of sensible and practical recommendations for change. They are the same recommendations that have been made in a number of previous reviews," said campaign director Kirsten Deane.
"What we need now is action. We need the government to outline how they will respond and when they will make these changes. We need a plan and a timetable. And we need it now."
David Moody from National Disability Services, the peak body for non-government disability service organisations, called on the government to implement the timelines recommended in the report to provide certainty and accountability.
"Other recommendations, including real action to provide clarity, reduce administrative red-tape, reduce time frames for plan reviews, and greater support for participants to navigate the scheme will benefit participants as well as service providers," he said.
Last week it was revealed more than 1200 people had died while waiting for their NDIS plan to be approved, but Mr Robert denied people were dying while waiting for support.
The people who had died "were people who were getting support from the states and territories as they transitioned to the NDIS," Mr Robert said on Sydney radio station 2GB when asked about the figures.