How do Disability Employment Services and the NDIS interact?

A new project looking at how the NDIS and Disability Employment Services interact has been funded by the Melbourne Disability Institute.

Alex Devine is leading a study that explores the interface of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and Disability Employment Services (DES) and the influence on employment outcomes for jobseekers with disabilities.

The aim is to understand stakeholder perspectives on the current functioning of NDIS/DES and its influence on job outcomes, and the broader education, training and employment sector.

Australians with disabilities continue to experience poorer employment outcomes when compared to people without disabilities. The budgetary implications of the NDIS were rationalised on modelling that the NDIS would lead to improved employment outcomes for many people with disability and their carers, thereby offsetting the cost of the Scheme’s implementation.

Australia’s DES program is the Federal Government’s specialised welfare program for people whose disability is assessed as their main barrier to employment. The interaction of the NDIS and DES systems occurs when either existing DES participants gain access to the NDIS or when an NDIS participant requests employment support within their package.

Within the NDIS, DES are recognised as the primary source of assistance for NDIS participants wanting support to build skills to participate in and gain work, and, provision of on-going support to help participants maintain employment. Yet there is limited evidence of whether and how the NDIS/DES interface is functioning effectively to improve employment outcomes for Australian’s with disabilities. This explorative qualitative project will investigate participant and stakeholder perspectives on this interface and its influence on employment outcomes for Australians with disabilities.

Research Team

  • Alex Devine, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Sue Olney, Public Service Research Group, UNSW
  • Professor Shelley Mallett, Brotherhood of St Laurence
  • Stefanie Dimov,  University of Melbourne
  • Georgia Katsikis, Melbourne Disability Institute

Seed funding from the Melbourne Disability Institute 2019