Criminal syndicates are targeting the National Disability Insurance Scheme and rorting the system of hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money.
The NDIS fraud fusion taskforce, which was created in October, is currently reviewing $300million worth of suspicious payments.
It marks a massive increase of $50million in the space of three months with 1,700 tip-offs received by the taskforce in just one month.
Among the 38 investigations taking place are accusations that crime syndicates are using cash vouchers and gifts to get Australians to sign up for the scheme by faking medical evidence and diagnosis of disability.
A taskforce set up to investigate fraud in the National Disability Insurance Scheme expanded the amount of suspicious payments by $50million in just three months (stock image pictured)
Some have been encouraged to use NDIS funds to pay for holidays and luxury lifestyle items.
Other alleged fraud includes money being paid for services that are never delivered or that the recipient should not be eligible for.
NDIS Minister Bill Shorten has vowed to crackdown on the misuse of money meant to help the most vulnerable.
‘Every single tip-off will be analysed,’ he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
‘We are encouraging people to continue to help us in our efforts to stamp out dodgy behaviour.’
Mr Shorten is expected to announced a number of changes to the scheme, which is mushrooming in costs, on Tuesday ahead of the federal budget next month.
He accused the previous Morrison government of leaving the ‘back door open to criminals’.
In August it was alleged the notorious Hamzy network, which operates in western Sydney, was one of the groups ripping off the NDIS.
Members are alleged to have used violence to extort intellectually disabled people.
One disabled person was threatened with a knife, another family was threatened with death by standover merchants trying to steal their NDIS entitlements.
In another case, there was an allegation a person was threatened with being committed into a psychiatric ward unless they helped criminals rort the system.
Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission chief Michael Phelan said at the time an estimated 15 to 20 per cent of the NDIS annual budget of almost $30 billion may have been misused.
Last year’s federal Budget set up the $126.3 million anti-fraud NDIS taskforce, which includes federal police, the tax office and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.
The NDIS was legislated in 2012 and went into full operation in 2020, to fund the costs associated with disability care.
NDIS Minister Bill Shorten (pictured) has vowed to crackdown on the millions being stolen out of the scheme
Blowouts have seen the NDIS become the second largest area of federal government spending and the fastest growing program
More than 500,000 Australians have enrolled on the scheme with more than 280,000 recently joining.
This has led to spiraling costs making it second largest federal outlay, after aged care, and the fastest growing program.
Overall disability spending was expected to increase by 9.6 per cent between 2022-23 and 2025-26, as costs for every individual on the NDIS rose by 18.6 per cent.
The scheme, designed when Labor was last in government more than a decade ago, was expected to cost $166.6billion over four years but the ended up being an underestimate of $8.8billion.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers told Parliament last May the government wanted to make the NDIS sustainable.
‘We choose dignity for Australians with disability,’ he said.
‘This Budget begins the task of repairing the NDIS and securing its future.’
Content source – www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com