Exploring the NDIS and Disability Employment Services

Australians with disabilities continue to experience poorer employment outcomes compared to people without disabilities.

The budgetary implications of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (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 Disability Employment Scheme (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.

The project investigates participant and stakeholder perspectives on this interface and its influence on employment outcomes for people with disability.


Ms Alexandra Devine, Nossal Institute for Global Health and Disability and Health Unit
Dr Sue Olney, University of New South Wales
Professor Shelley Mallett, Brotherhood of St Laurence
Ms Stefanie Dimov, Disability and Health Unit, University of Melbourne 
Ms Georgia Katsikis, Melbourne Disability Institute