The National Disability Insurance Scheme has revealed it is investigating a number of providers who may have “exploited” the scheme.
On the back of the revelation, The Australian has reported that providers registered under the NDIS were able to access private information about disabled people by simply searching for random plan numbers or by participant’s first and last names.
Once they can access a participant’s details, they were effectively able to raise an invoice, and be paid immediately, according to The Australian.
Some providers inadvertently took money from participants they didn’t work with, but who had the same name.
The loophole has now been closed, according to The Australian.
HelloCare contacted the NDIS for confirmation of the details in The Australian’s article, and was directed to a statement on the Agency’s website.
“The Taskforce has already identified a small number of providers who may be seeking to exploit the NDIS,” said the statement.
“These providers are under investigation by the Taskforce.”
Suspicious providers blocked from receiving payments
“As a result of these on-going investigations, a number of providers have been blocked from accessing payments while suspicious claims are being investigated, to ensure participants are protected,” the statement said.
Participants in the NDIS who have been affected by the suspected criminal activity are being contacted by the NDIS, which will aim to reimburse any stolen funds.
“The NDIA has also commenced contacting a small number of impacted participants. The NDIA will ensure participants funds are reinstated, where appropriate,” the statement said.
The NDIA said it is continuously “improving systems and controls”, making “enhancements”, and aiming to “strengthen controls against unscrupulous behaviour” at the NDIS.
What is the NDIS Fraud Taskforce?
The NDIS fraud taskforce was set up in July this year to investigate suspected criminal activity in the scheme.
The taskforce is a partnership between the NDIA, the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP).
“Fraud is a crime” says Taskforce
The NDIA said those who commit fraud could face criminal charges.
“Fraud is a crime. People who commit criminal acts run the risk of being subject to criminal prosecution,” the statement said.
The Federal government is expected to spend $22 billion on the NDIS by 2022.
Anyone who comes suspicious transactions or fraud on the NDIS should contact police or the NDIS fraud hotline on 1800 650 717.