The statewide Ability Links program appears destined for the scrapheap this year despite a $40 million funding commitment from the state and federal governments to keep it running.
An Ability Links program employee from Sydney has told the Newcastle Herald that he and his colleagues have been informed the funding will run out on November 1.
In 2018, the state government committed to fund the $55 million-a-year program until June 30 this year.
The Newcastle Herald reported in March that the government had agreed on the eve of the state election to tip in another $11.6 million to extend the program beyond June 30 and secured another $20 million from the federal government.
"To ensure the same level of service continues to be delivered to people with disability and their families while the NDIA's Information Linkages and Capacity program is fully rolled out, the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government will invest up to $11.6 million in the Ability Links Program in 2019/20," Disability Services Minister Ray Williams said at the time.
The National Disability Insurance Agency also committed $8.5 million to keep Aboriginal Ability Links running, bringing the total funding commitment to just over $40 million.
It is understood Aboriginal Ability Links will continue until June 2020.
But the Ability Links employee from Sydney, who asked to remain anonymous, said he and most of his colleagues would be "out of work from the first of November".
The NSW Department of Communities and Justice, formerly Family and Community Services, did not respond directly when the Newcastle Herald asked if Ability Links was winding up on November 1.
"The NSW Government committed $11.6 million for the continuation of Ability Links funding in NSW in the 2019-20 Budget," a spokesperson said.
"This funding has been delivered whilst the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) funding rounds continue to roll out."
The ILC provides $222 million in grants to organisations to deliver projects in the community that benefit people with disability, their carers and families.
An NDIA spokesperson said Ability Links was "a matter for the NSW government".
Ability Links was expanded across NSW after a successful trial in 2013 in the Hunter region, where it is run by the St Vincent De Paul Society.
It supports thousands of people with a disability, some of whom do not qualify for the NDIS, and employs about 400 people across various service providers.
The Sydney employee, who has worked on Ability Links for Settlement Services International since 2014, said he had expected the funding to last until June next year.
"There was talk of the program being extended for another year, and I think that's what the people who worked on the program were thinking, because that had happened the year before," he said.
"Then we read in your paper the comments from the Liberals that, if they were re-elected, they would re-fund the Ability Links program.
"The Liberals were re-elected at the state election and at the general election, but it hasn't been re-funded.
"The program I'm on, it ends on the first of November. The current information we've been given by the department is the funding ends from them on the first of November.
"What's happened with the $40 million? No idea. It's certainly not gone via Ability Links."
Ability Links helps people with a disability participate in a variety of community activities, including sport, recreation, work and study.
The Sydney employee said it appeared as though the NDIA expected its local area coordinators to do the work of Ability Links.
"Already the local area coordinators are overworked and not meeting their KPIs about how many they're assessing," he said.
"I think what the federal government is assuming is that there'll be some slack to do the work of the Ability Links program.
"The Ability Links program is about community engagement, community development, working with communities to make sure communities make sure people with disability have more access to community events, working with businesses to try and make sure they're more disability-friendly.
"The local area coordinators don't have the connections and won't have the time."
He said it was a "strange time to delete the Ability Links program".
"They should wait until the NIDS has been embedded more, that they've got rid of some problems within that, then look at Ability Links."
The worker said it was unclear what would happen to Ability Links clients when the program ended.
"Family and Community Services haven't talked about anything you normally do when a program ends about what we do with our participants, about what we do about referring them on.
"That's still been the very unclear messaging from FACS, and it's been very unclear from the NDIA.
"It looks like they're expecting the local area coordinators to do the Ability Links works."
A three-year evaluation by consultants Urbis said Ability Links was "ground-breaking" and delivered positive economic and social benefits.
The Urbis report, released two years ago, said Ability Links and an associated Early Links program for those aged under seven were helping 43,533 people a year across NSW, including families and carers.