Fears NDIS could exclude seniors

Cathy Cleland speaking about how the NDIS affects her. Photo: Inga Williams / The Reporter
Cathy Cleland speaking about how the NDIS affects her. Photo: Inga Williams / The Reporter Inga Williams

WOODRIDGE senior Cathy Cleland is concerned older Australians could stop receiving vital support services if proposed changes to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) go ahead.

The proposed changes could mean residents who become ill before the age of 65 would receive NDIS benefits for the rest of their lives. Australians with disabilities, who are over the age of 65, could then be forced into a user-pays aged care system.

Mrs Cleland said she felt extremely angry when she read the proposed changes in a seniors magazine.

"I was really angry when I read this because I feel it is being discriminatory against older Australians," she said.

"If anything were to happen to me, I would not be able to receive benefits because I am already over 65.

"Once again, I feel seniors are being hard done-by.

"We have worked hard all of our lives, and to have this potentially happen is very upsetting."

National Seniors chief executive Michael O'Neill said many Australians would be caught out because they would not be aware of the age restriction.

"For the thousands of Australians who aren't aware of the age restriction, it will come as a cruel blow," he said.

"Some families will find themselves turned away from the help that others will get as an automatic right.

"It seems everybody counts unless you're 65."

Mr O'Neill also said the aged care workforce, which is already under significant pressure, is not trained or equipped to provide disability services to people with profound and severe disabilities.

At the time of going to print we had not received a response from Federal Member for Rankin Craig Emerson, since then we have received the following response.

"The NDIS will fundamentally transform the way we support people with disability, their families and their carers.


It will give people with disability choice and control over the care and support they receive, rather than exposing them to the cruel lottery that currently exists, where care depends on a range of unpredictable factors.


The Government is still working through the interaction between the NDIS and the aged care system, because it's quite complex.


An NDIS is not intended to replace the aged care system.


But we still have more work to do around how the NDIS and the aged care system interact and how people are supported to transition between the systems.


As part of this work, we are discussing this with seniors and disability organisations so we can be informed by their views and expertise.


The feedback the Government receives from consultations, as well as the Senate Committee Inquiry currently underway, is important parts of helping us to design the scheme."

Topics:  ndis seniors

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