NDIS posing problems for local participants

Hurdles: Lorraine de Kok, with her son Nathan de Kok, says they are among many people who are having problems with NDIS. Picture: Rob Gunstone

Hurdles: Lorraine de Kok, with her son Nathan de Kok, says they are among many people who are having problems with NDIS. Picture: Rob Gunstone

Lorraine de Kok reckons the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will eventually be good for people with disabilities but it will take some years to get there.

Mrs de Kok, of Warrnambool, has battled with NDIS for many months to get a new $10,000 shower chair for her son Nathan, 29, who has cerebral palsy.

She said an NDIS manager in Ballarat tried to give Nathan a $5000 shower chair that did not have the structural supports for Nathan that he and his carers needed.

Dan Tehan

Dan Tehan

Mrs de Kok said that after she lobbied the NDIS in Warrnambool to make it aware of Nathan’s specific needs, the NDIS finally agreed to pay for the $10,000 chair.

But while the chair was ordered two months ago, it had still to arrive, she said.

She also has concerns that NDIS’s big recruitment drive for disability support workers is allowing unqualified workers to work with people with disabilities.

She said one of the carers for her son was not qualified to give medications and had to do so under supervision, which sometimes posed problems for Nathan to get his medications on time.

Mrs de Kok said the problems she encountered were among the many that NDIS participants were experiencing because the scheme had been introduced too quickly.

The South West Advocacy Service, the regional organisation funded to handle appeals against NDIS decisions, said it had been kept busy with clients who had problems with the new system. 

Its executive officer Adele Markwell said it appeared there was little consistency in decisions about who qualified for an NDIS plan. Some people qualified while others with similar issues did not, she said.

“There are a lot of people out there with mild disability who have had support workers for many years and are now being told they are on their own,” Ms Markwell said.

Federal Social Services Minister Dan Tehan said the NDIS was the most significant policy change the federal government had undertaken in the past decade. NDIS was expected to provide services to nearly 470,000 people by the end of 2018 and cost $22 billion a year by 2021-2022, he said.

“As the scheme is rolled out, we will see some issues,” Mr Tehan said.

“I encourage anyone who believes they are not getting the services they believe they should be, to get in touch with NDIS or my office to make sure they are getting the services they should be getting,” he said.

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