Paraplegic ‘not disabled enough’ for NDIS help
A wheelchair-bound Brisbane resident is speaking out about a shocking experience he at the hands of the National Disability Insurance Scheme after he was told he "wasn't disabled enough" to receive support.
Mr Wiemann was initially rejected from the NDIS in mid-2018 and after help from Spinal Life Australia, he was approved in February this year.
The Australian Government-funded NDIS aims to support people with disabilities, as well as their families and carers connect with their community and live an ordinary life
Sadly, the program has seen some disabled Australians struggling to get access to the scheme.
"My first application was rejected on the provision that I had insufficient evidence to prove I needed NDIS support for my disability," Mr Wiemann said.
"I have progressive spastic paraplegia and I'm almost paralysed from the waist down, so being told I wasn't disabled enough was certainly news to me."
Mr Wiemann got in touch with the Allied Health and Advocacy team from spinal cord damage support organisation Spinal Life Australia, who conducted an in-depth assessment of his needs.
"I had an Occupational Therapist (OT) provide me with a full assessment, allowing us to answer the applications with much more in-depth responses," Mr Wiemann said.
"The OT also talked to me more about my own needs from the NDIS, even picking up things I hadn't considered such as bladder and bowel maintenance."
Just a few weeks after the new application was submitted, Wil received his response - he had now been accepted to become a NDIS participant.
"I was thrilled," he said.
"The NDIS will be a huge help with continuing my physiotherapy and rehabilitation, as well as helping me to access my community.
"Even something as simple as funding for a small ramp to get my wheelchair over my
driveway curbing will be a huge help."
Mr Wiemann has shared his story as part of Spinal Life Australia's 2019 Annual Appeal, to
help raise money to support others with spinal cord damage.
"I'm so happy my situation was able to be turned around and I couldn't have done it without
the Spinal Life Australia team," he said.
To contribute to the Annual Appeal, visit spinal.com.au/donate
The NDIS celebrated its sixth birthday on July 1.
National Disability Insurance Agency acting CEO Vicki Rundle said while the scheme continued to grow, in the last three years the number of people benefiting from the NDIS has grown almost ten-fold, from 30,000 participants in July, 2016 to close to 280,000 in March this year.
"We are committed to ensuring every eligible Australian receives the disability-related supports they need to live more independently and achieve their goals," she said.
At Full Scheme, the NDIS is expected to benefit an estimated total of 500,000 Australians at full roll out and contribute to the creation of 90,000 jobs across the country.
"Looking forward, the NDIS will continue to create more jobs and generate local investment in the disability services market," Ms Rundle said.
"This sustained growth will ensure people with disability have the assistance they need to help them achieve their goals and participate in their local communities."