Working with people with disability

Working with people with disability

The Ombudsman’s office can help people with disability sort out problems with Australian Government agencies.

This includes programs that are specifically for people with disability including:

  • the National Disability Insurance Scheme
  • the Disability Support Pension
  • Disability Employment Services

We also take complaints about mainstream Australian Government programs that are delivered to or for people with disability. Some of the most common complaints to our office are about Centrelink payments, child support, Medicare, Australia Post and immigration.

Making complaints to agencies

If you think an Australian Government agency has been unfair or has done something wrong, we usually ask you to make a complaint to the agency before you contact our office. There are two main reasons why this is important:

  • it lets the agency know you’re not happy
  • agencies can fix most problems quickly and simply, but our investigations can take more time.

We know that some people don’t like to make complaints. There are lots of reasons, including:

  • feeling scared
  • feeling unsure about how to explain the problem
  • feeling like there’s no point making a complaint because it won’t change anything.

Agencies are expected to have good complaints systems. They should also give you information about how to make a complaint if you tell their staff you’re unhappy.

Help to make complaints

Agency staff should also help you to make a complaint if you tell them you need support. This might include things like giving you more time to explain your complaint, arranging a meeting with local staff so you can talk face to face, or contacting someone else you want the agency to talk to about your complaint.

Some Australian Government agencies ask people to use online complaint forms. If you don’t feel comfortable using a form, you can ask agency staff to record your complaint for you.

Contacting our office

If an agency doesn’t fix your problem, or is taking too long to fix it, you can complain to the Commonwealth Ombudsman. If you need help to make a complaint, let us know and we will do our best to help. You can also ask someone you trust to help you make a complaint to us, or ask someone to make a complaint for you.

Complaining about the NDIS

There are different ways of complaining about the NDIS. The best option will depend on where you live and whether your complaint is about the NDIA or an NDIS provider. The table below outlines the different options.

We also have flyers for the ACT, New South Wales and Victoria which explain your NDIS complaints options.

If you are not sure where to make a complaint, contact us and we can help you get to the right place.

I want to complain about the NDIA

Commonwealth Ombudsman
1300 362 072

I want to complain about a provider of disability supports - funded by the state/Territory Government or the NDIS

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission manages complaints about disability providers and services for all states and territories except WA.

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission can be contacted by: 
Phone: 1800 035 544

For complaints disability providers and services in WA contact the Health & Disability Services Complaints Office.

They can be contacted by: 
Phone: 08) 6551 7600 or 1800 813 583