Some central Victorians have voiced concerns that a National Disability Insurance Scheme reform will create another barrier for applicants and leave people without the supports they need.
From 2021, applicants to the NDIS and existing participants will have to undergo independent assessments, paid for by the National Disability Insurance Agency, to determine their eligibility.
NDIS Minister Stuart Robert, who announced the change as part of a package of reforms, said it would make the process faster, simpler and fairer.
Currently, an applicant obtains their own reports from health professionals to support their application.
Bendigo resident and NDIS participant Liz Wright believes the reform will increase the scrutiny participants and applicants already face in the process.
Ms Wright, who also had a long history working in advocacy, said it was "wearing and exhausting" for people with a disability to have to repeatedly disclose intimate details to receive the appropriate support.
"We don't need layers of scrutiny around participants, we need scrutiny around organisations for overinflated invoices for work they don't do, for the support they don't give," she said.
She was also concerned that these independent assessors would not have the necessary insight, experience or expertise on a particular participant's condition and needs.
"They're trying to standardise the process," Ms Wright said.
Both she and her sister, Bernadette Wright - also an NDIS participant - said the applicants and participants (in some cases their carers) were the experts on their disability and needs, but their expertise and lived experience was often ignored.
Karryn Goode, chief executive officer of the Rights Information and Advocacy Centre, echoed these concerns.
She said trust and rapport between the participant and the assessor would be lacking in the new process.
"My gut feeling tells me participants won't open up to an independent assessor, the process will increase anxiety... So they've just added another layer that doesn't need to be there," Ms Goode said.
She fears having an independent assessor determine the eligibility of a participant they did not know could result in the withdrawal of necessary services, or no services at all.
Bernadette Wright is also concerned that the process will become so arduous that some people will give up on trying to get the support they need.
"Unless you are prepared to keep fighting the system, you can become quite disempowered," Ms Wright said.