Dec 04, 2019

NDIS not available to people over 65: it’s “discrimination”, says Zali Steggall


Disability benefits cut out at the age of 65, leaving many older people with disability unable to cover the costs of their care, the Member for Warringah has told parliament.

The cut off is an example of “discrimination” against older people, said Zali Steggall MP, who presented a petition to parliament on Tuesday, the International Day of People with Disability.

The petition is calling for “urgent action” and changes to legislation that would allow increased support for people over the age of 65 who are living with disability.

Cross bench independents Rebekha Sharkie and Helen Haines are supporting Ms Steggall’s campaign for reform.

Ms Steggall told HelloCare, “It was a privilege to present the NDIS petition where I was able to represent what thousands of Australians want politicians to hear. 

“This petition was on behalf of 69-year-old quadriplegic Chris English who is a victim of age discrimination by NDIS, which doesn’t cover people over the age of 65.”

“Legislative changes are required to eliminate discrimination”

Ms Steggall told parliament that laws in Australia must change to remove the cut-off for NDIS funding for those aged 65 years and older.

Those already on the NDIS can continue to receive it past the age of 65, but those who become disabled after the age of 65 are not able to access funding through the scheme.

“Legislative changes are required to eliminate discrimination of older people with a disability,” said Ms Steggall.

“Older people are unable to access the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) after the age of 65. 

“The maximum aged care Government subsidy of $50,250 per annum is insufficient for people who have extensive care needs, such as people who have quadriplegia. 

“Regardless of age, people over the age of 65 with disability should be entitled to access NDIS benefits to support them in receiving the care they require,” she said.

A spokesperson for The Department of Social Services told HelloCare, “The NDIS is not intended to replace the health or aged care systems. 

“For those 65 and over, there is a range of supports available within the aged care system that can be accessed through My Aged Care, which may be suitable for older people with disability.”

$250,000 funding gap for older people

Chris English and his wife Bobbie were in the gallery on Tuesday. The couple started the petition, which attracted 19,446 signatures.

Mr English was enjoying his 69th birthday with his family when he suddenly fainted and fell. He became a quadriplegic. 

“Had Mr English been 64 years old when the accident occurred, he could have accessed an NDIS plan and up to $300,000 in support to meet his needs,” Ms Steggall told parliament on Tuesday.

“Instead, being over 65, Chris is not eligible for NDIS and can only receive $50,000 under a My Aged Care plan. 

“This is not meeting his needs. It is age discrimination and is impacting many others in Australia.”

“The petition is about drawing attention to the changes that are required to eliminate discrimination against older people with a disability,” Ms Steggall said. 

“We either need an exemption to NDIS for people aged over 65 who have an accident or illness, or My Aged Care needs to better cater for those with a disability unrelated to ageing,” Ms Steggall concluded.

Ms Steggall said, “I encourage anyone in this position to make submissions to the Aged Care and Disability Royal Commissions.”

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  1. There’s another group who have completely been discriminited against in all this – those with existing disabilities they had before they turned 65 but who were over 65 before the NDIS rolled out in their area.

    I have a relative born with a condition that is progressively sending her blind. She had poor vision from childhood, finally hit the level where she was legally blind in her early 50s but being a self-sufficient and private person with a close family had not sought help from any social services or government support at the various stages until she couldn’t cope without it.

    So when the NDIS was rolled out in her area and she was already 65, she could no longer apply for support she would have been eligible for but had not applied for yet. My relative gets referred instead to MyAgedCare which has absolutely no support for her disability as it is not age-related.

    Someone else with exactly the same condition but who didn’t turn 65 till after the NDIS came to their area, can go on the NDIS and stay on the NDIS and get a huge amount more help.

  2. I started to lose my vision 30 years ago and became legally blind 20 years ago. I was over 65 at the time the NDIS was rolled out in my area so was excluded from the scheme. My Age Care is aimed at over 65s who require help with age related disabilities. I do not need or want this type of is my understanding that, unlike My Age Care, the NDIS is not means tested. Under the NDIS I could, for example, receive funding for obtaining and maintaining my Guide Dog. The decision to exclude over 65s from the NDIS is clear age discrimination.

  3. I priced a power wheelchair and found the price of wheelchaira astronomical
    The companies selling power wheelchairs have
    Sent the price thru’ the roof
    IE: price range from $30 000 to $54000
    And theycan do it because the government
    (Tax payers) the government uses tax papers money and people not on ndis can’t afford to purchase a power wheelchair because the companies that supply the chairs’ are ripping off people who can’t access the ndis.
    There should be a senate inquiry

  4. My husband has become a upper leg amputee prior to this he managed a below knee prosthesis he is now 73 if he was on the ndis he would qualify for a leg that he could manage instead he has to take whatever is available he is having a lot of problems learning to walk it would be a lot easier on the ndis asked the prosthesis if there was any thing else to make it easier she said if he was on ndis there would be many more options why can’t we be on the ndid

  5. Is it advisable to use an intermediary to apply for NDIS/Aged Care funding assistance. I assume you get what you ask for and not what you’re entitlement is unless you have somebody who knows what is available and can act for you.
    I am 75 years old and don’t know what’s available to me but what’s upsetting me more is that my wife has taken on more of what I used to do and her load is unfair. I am the one debilitated by lung disease and that should not be her problem. I read of assistance given to others but I’m not sure where to begin.

  6. I have just turned 66…. Was diagnosed with a Hereditary disease muscles disappear over time. Too old for NDIS My Aged Care wait list is crazy and is just too overwhelming. It is discrimination. They should allow those at a certain time to choose death with dignity not keep those alive to support the AgedCare Industry which clearly has failed miserably. Both my Parents died in Aged Care due to COVID decisions. Not allowing family to attend visits nor funerals …. Families destroyed. Monisters must answer


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