Jun 13, 2023

New Zealanders to get access to NDIS while older Australians are neglected

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Currently, if you were born in Australia and you're over 65 and living with a disability, you can't access the NDIS system. [Source: Shutterstock]

A disability organisation is urging the Commonwealth Government to expand eligibility for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to those over 65 who live with a disability before opening the scheme up to New Zealanders. 

This follows the announcement stating that from July, New Zealand citizens who have been living in Australia for four or more years will be able to directly apply for Australian citizenship, granting them access to NDIS. 

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Spinal Life Australia, Mark Townend, said allowing New Zealanders to “jump the queue” before older Australians with disabilities is a letdown by the Commonwealth Government. He said older people with disabilities are pushed towards the aged care system which does not offer enough funding and care to give them a good quality of life.

“What [the Government] need to do is say, ‘that’s the wrong decision’ because aged care packages can’t look after people with disabilities like they thought they would and make the NDIS available to those over 65.”

The differences between the MyAgedCare system and the NDIS are incomparable as the needs and care required for those with disabilities are often more expensive and require more direct funding than MyAgedCare can offer. 

If you’re registered with the NDIS, there’s enough money in the package to get carers to help you to get out of bed, maintain good hygiene, prepare meals and uphold your quality of life.

“I’ve got people today who can’t get out of bed seven days a week and if you don’t have the NDIS package, you can only get a bed one or two days a week because the budget only allows for one or two days at the most a week for care,” Mr Townend said. 

In a system that is already undergoing significant reforms to combat staff shortages and insufficient care models, allowing people over 65 with disabilities to access NDIS would take the pressure off of an already struggling industry. But the problem is, a big portion of this demographic doesn’t access any services at all. 

“They’re in the aged care system because there’s no place for them or who can look after someone who’s a quadriplegic or paraplegic, for example,” said Mr Townend.

“This [Changes to NDIS entry requirements] would take the pressure off some of the people in the aged care system but the problem is the people who aren’t getting the care now aren’t in any system.”

“Unless you get some very good relatives and family support and other professional help around you, and you have the means to pay for it the system needs to look after you, and it doesn’t for sure.”

Do you know an older person with a disability that has ended up in the aged care system? Let us know in the comments below.

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  1. Hello
    I was on a Disability Support Pension (DSP). When I turned 65 Centrelink told me I had to change to the Old Age Pension (OAP); if I did not they would make my life unbearable. I changed to the OAP because I was frightened and promptly lost all my rights. Aged Care does not exist; may as well leave me on the ice for the Polar Bears.
    I cannot get My Aged Care to help me get a motorised chair or even change a light bulb. In fact I have been waiting for My Aged Care since I turned 65. I am now 71 and I had to get a friend to repair the lightbulb. My Aged Care said they would come and fix my back door which I cannot use but that has never happened either.
    I have begged, yes begged CentaCare to help me with these issues but my requests fall on deaf ears. They will not come and talk to me about my increased needs regardless I ask every week. I do not understand this silence.
    I had assistance on the DSP but now my life is becoming unbearable. Maybe Centrelink meant my life would be unbearable on the OAP and I misinterpreted.
    Just as a final note, I am prepared go to jail before I am sent to a Aged Care Facility, which can only be described as today’s modern Auschwitzian death camps for the elderly.
    Thank you for your time.

    1. Your part of the entitled, your main issue is a bloody light bulb and a sticky door while thousands don’t have a roof at all.

      You will enjoy jail, people there to change bulbs and all the doors swing freely . Your opinion on residential care is incorrect and offensive, the sector cares for thousands of frail elderly every day and to call them death camps where people were tortured is stupidity in the extreme.

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