Supported Employment (Disability Employment Assistance)

Transitioning to the NDIS

Funding for supported employment is transitioning to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). NDIS participants can access supported employment through their NDIS plans. Current supported employees who are not eligible for the NDIS will continue to receive support through the Continuity of Support program.

The Department of Social Services oversees the Disability Employment Assistance program. The current program provides supported employment, through Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs), for people with disability who require ongoing support to find and maintain employment.

Across Australia, more than 20,000 supported employees work in ADEs. When working in an ADE, individuals are provided with support and assistance, where necessary, to do their job successfully. Supported employment plays a vital role in improving the social and economic participation of people with disability in Australia.

In the NDIS

Funding for supported employment is transitioning to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

People employed by an ADE should talk to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) about their eligibility for the NDIS as it rolls out in their location. To start the process, complete the NDIS Access Checklist or contact the NDIA on 1800 800 110.

The NDIS re-envisages how people with disability receive support, allowing more choice and control over how, when and where supports are provided, and gives people with disability certainty they will receive the supports they need.

The NDIS delivers a new system of individually tailored support for people with disability based on a person’s needs, where funding goes to the individual. This means people will have greater choice and control about the ways they are supported in employment.

NDIS participants can access funds and supports for employment through their NDIS plan.

Supported employees can choose whether to use their NDIS funds to continue in supported employment or to investigate other employment options.

NDIS participants interested in employment opportunities should have a discussion with their NDIS planner.

Read Frequently Asked Questions about ADEs transition to the NDIS.

Continuity of support: If you are not eligible for the NDIS and are currently employed in an Australian Disability Enterprise, you will continue to receive the same disability supports and services.

Continuity of Support

Not everyone with disability will be eligible for the NDIS. Existing clients of Commonwealth disability programs transitioning to the NDIS who are ineligible for the NDIS will be supported to achieve similar outcomes, even if the arrangements for doing that change over time. Continuity of support aims to ensure that people with disability currently receiving services are not disadvantaged in the transition to the NDIS.

Further information about Continuity of Support can be found on the Department of Social Services website.

For providers

As the NDIS rolls out across Australia, ADEs can encourage their supported employees to get in contact with the NDIA to find out if they are eligible for the NDIS. Additional resources for providers are available on the NDIS website.

The NDIA has put in a range of measures to ensure that plan reviews can take place quickly if employment was not covered in a plan and should be. If a participant wishes to add employment supports into an existing plan, they should contact their NDIS planner or their Local Area Coordinator (LAC) to arrange a plan review.

All ADEs are encouraged to register with the NDIS. Providers must register with the NDIS as a service provider in order to claim services delivered to NDIS participants.

Future of disability employment

While the disability employment landscape is changing, the Government is committed to improving employment outcomes for people with disability.

The Government is considering future supported employment policy to ensure the 20,000 supported employees currently in ADEs continue to have access to meaningful employment, and to ensure that employment supports under the NDIS continue to foster employment opportunities for people with disability.

During the financial years 2015-16 to 2019-20, the Government has built on its commitment to supported employment, providing more than $1.1 billion in funding. This includes funding to assist ADEs during a period of significant adjustment. ADEs have been supported to respond to a changing industrial relations environment, while also preparing to take advantage of the NDIS.

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