Most Australians know about or have heard about the NDIS. The National Disability Insurance Scheme’s funding enables many people living with disability to meet their daily living goals. But most of us don’t know about the NIIS scheme that was meant to launch at the same time.
NIIS stands for National Injury Insurance Scheme. The idea is that it would provide support and care for Australians who have had catastrophic accidents.
So far the scheme is only partially implemented in terms of what it was planned to cover, and only in Queensland. This article explores it’s meant to provide and why.
NIIS scheme and NDIS: What’s the difference?
On 10th August 2011, the Productivity Commission released an inquiry report on national disability care and support needs. It recommended two schemes: the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIIS).
These two schemes were meant to be rolled out together to provide comprehensive disability care at a national level. But on 1 July 2013, only the NDIS was rolled out. Here’s a quick look at how these schemes would differ:
The NDIS is a national disability insurance scheme to provide cover for all Australians who live with significant disability.
The NIIS scheme would be a no-fault national injury insurance scheme providing fully-funded care and support for people who incur catastrophic injury. It would reduce costs directed to the NDIS and be tailored specifically to lifetime disability that comes from catastrophic accidents.
400,000 Australians currently benefit from the NDIS through individualised plans. Unfortunately the smaller, yet equally important, NIIS scheme is yet to launch at a national level. This leaves Australians like Jess who’ve had catastrophic accidents without adequate support.
Watch Jess’s story on ABC News:
What is the NIIS scheme?
As mentioned, the NIIS scheme was meant to support people with catastrophic injuries. It would provide this through acute care and rehabilitation. Catastrophic accidents have lifelong consequences and the NIIS scheme would therefore offer lifetime care.
In addition the scheme would be a ‘no-fault’ scheme. Meaning, care is provided regardless of whether the injured party could prove whose fault the accident was. That way people who need care would be able to receive it immediately without the typical red-tape rigmarole.
The Productivity Commission recommended that the NIIS scheme provide cover for the following:
- Car accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Medical accidents
- General accidents (at home or in the community)
These might include, for example, a car accident that severs the spinal cord or a workplace injury that results in severe brain injury.
For facts about and experiences with injuries like these, read our article on spinal cord injury awareness week and interview with artist and disability advocate Eva Sifis on her acquired brain injury.
Who would fund the NIIS scheme?
A federation of individual state and territory schemes would fund the NIIS scheme. In theory, it would extend the most successful schemes already operating in Australia. This would unite disparate compensation schemes under a consolidated scheme.
The hope was to have state and territory governments launch the NIIS scheme by 2015. Although this hasn’t happened, one state is pioneering the process.
National Injury Insurance Scheme Queensland (NIISQ)
Since 2016, NIISQ ‘may’ cover Queensland residents for catastrophic injuries caused by car accidents. Cover for work-related accidents may also be available. The NIISQ website says: You may be eligible to receive necessary and reasonable lifetime treatment, care and support under the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003. Then it directs people to get more info at WorkSafe.
So far, cover for medical and general accidents doesn’t exist.
Under the NIIS scheme in Queensland catastrophic (serious personal injuries) include the following:
- Multiple/high-level limb amputations
- Permanent blindness caused by trauma
- Permanent injury to the brachial plexus
- Severe burns
- Spinal cord injuries that are permanent
- Traumatic brain injury
With the stories we’ve heard from NIISQ participants, we are very much in support of the NIIS scheme rolling out nationally. Whether it will, time will tell.
Most of us know what a rollercoaster ride the NDIS has experienced internally and has taken its participants on. Perhaps this is partly what’s delaying the rollout of this very much needed partner scheme? Regardless, Australians in need are missing out on crucial support.
Personal insurance for mobility equipment
Speaking of support, mobility equipment is key to experiencing life to the best of your abilities. But it’s also one disability’s key expenses. Getting a custom wheelchair or disability vehicle takes time and has numerous cost considerations. It’s one of the many reasons to insure these items from theft and damage.
Did you know that at Blue Badge we offer affordable wheelchair insurance and mobility scooter insurance? Not to mention great insurance for wheelchair accessible vehicles and disability converted cars. Plus, if you have a disability parking permit, you can get up to 25% discounted disability car insurance.
Contact us to find out more.