100 signatures reached
To: Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC
Overhaul the NDIS application criteria
The NDIS system is broken, Australians deserve better. The system is discriminatory and harmful to people with disabilities that are already suffering.
Many of the boxes that need to be ticked are highly offensive to the people being interviewed and the people interviewing are far too often clueless about the disabilities of the applicant and how they affect day to day life.
We need more training for those involved in accepting or denying applications and those who interview new applicants. This training should be created by a team people with invisible disabilities and visible disabilities.
The forms should be created by a team of made up of people with invisible and visible disabilities.
ABC Perth highlighted the story of Mr Tom Monks, a double amputee.
"At this year's review they used that against me, saying 'you didn't spend the money so we will take some away from you'."
"They took that away from me, saying that my wife can take up the slack," he said.
"They also took away what is a reasonable amount to fix my wheelchair."
"It has taken me three months to get the reports to substantiate that I have no legs. It has taken me an exhaustive amount of time," he said.
"I'm not eligible for the disability support pension, [they told me] I'm not disabled enough,".
"I got questioned if my amputation was permanent by Centrelink staff at one stage." He said.
Now, this is someone with a visible disability, imagine the experience of someone with an invisible disability like Leukaemia, Mast Cell issues or others? In many cases these people that are already suffering get knocked back and the emotional effects of being knocked back cause more suffering.
An applicant with a debilitating invisible connective tissue disease called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome says;
“I’ve had close to 15 surgeries, I get weekly Physio, have a heart condition that makes it hard for me to stand or work, chronic pain that requires daily medication, all the door handles and taps in my house needed to be changed so my fingers wouldn’t dislocate turning them, I have trouble opening food packages.
I have constant joint dislocations and subluxations of my shoulders, knees and other joints, sever spinal instability and apparently I don’t qualify for NDIS. My goal was to keep out of a wheel chair, I needed preventative treatment that I just could not afford.
NDIS just saw me as a number, the entire experience was demoralising, I felt minimised, unheard and forgotten, it caused a great deal of emotional stress.”
“The application process had so many boxes that weren’t applicable to my disease, yet had to be ticked or crossed, often there was no option to select with what was related to my disease and there was no space to write my particular case for that question.
The process of applying and being knocked back ended up pushing me into a deep state of depression. Three years later and I’m now in a wheelchair, which I feel could have been prevented if I was able to get the preventative treatment that I needed at the time”.
Why is this important?
The NDIS is supposed to be there to SUPPORT our community with disabilities, not make their lives harder.
The current system is demoralising to applicants and just plain offensive. We have genuine disabled people that need the help of the NDIS being turned back, placing their health in jeopardy.
The NDIS systems should be written by people with disabilities, it should be tested by people with disabilities who have walked a mile in the shoes of the applicants.
The questions need to be reformatted, an amputee or someone with a congenital disability should not be asked if their condition is permanent.
Before being knocked back, phone calls should be made to the GP of the applicant, there should be specialised caseworkers with experience in that particular disability assigned to the case before turning people away.
People should not be ending up in wheelchairs because they weren’t able to access preventative treatments. This is not good enough.
More people with disabilities should be working as interviewers, who better to understand a disability?
Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC, what will you do to fix this problem?