Teething issues doesn't even come close to describing the travails of the trouble-plagued National Disability Insurance Scheme. But it's not surprising a scheme with such a simple premise - to fund costs associated with disability - should be difficult to administer.
Disability, much like people in general, doesn't tend to fall into neat boxes or definitions. A diagnosis alone isn't enough to determine an individual's needs, just as an agreed definition of a disability doesn't always make way for the complexities such a condition entails.
It was a Liberal senator who, breaking ranks last week, put it best when describing the current deficiencies of the system. Hollie Hughes, whose son has autism, said the proposed new assessment system for the NDIS was very "tick-a-box", with an algorithm of 400 "personas" based on different ages and personality types, as a way of producing a budget plan for the participant. "I think it is dehumanising and offensive," she said.
Describing a scheme that currently caters to about 450,000 Australians, Senator Hughes is just one of a constant chorus of voices objecting to how the scheme works in practice, from being accepted into the scheme in the first place, to determining which aspect of a disability needs funding, to then deciding how and how much.
The NDIS is designed to cut through the barriers faced by many with disabilities when moving through daily life, but instead, it seems to have created an even bigger and more intractable one. It also, anecdotally, seems geared towards giving disabled people - and those working in the sector - as little assistance as possible and still remain within the boundaries of the scheme.
A narrative that continues to emerge is that this system should be user-driven, not one determined from the top down. While the system should be streamlined wherever possible, it should be one that acknowledges, also wherever possible, the complex needs of people with disabilities cannot always be easily defined. And if there are those who describe the system as dehumanising, or exhausting, or disheartening, or disempowering, the government should be listening and responding.