NDIS de­lay slammed

Fam­i­lies face emo­tional, fi­nan­cial stress over plan re­newals

Sunday Tasmanian - - News - DAVID BENIUK

DE­LAYS in re­new­ing NDIS con­tracts are leav­ing fam­i­lies un­der fi­nan­cial and emo­tional stress, a con­cerned Ho­bart par­ent says.

Nigel Jones says 13-year-old son Xavier’s plan did not roll over after it ex­pired last month, de­spite the fam­ily meet­ing NDIS dead­lines.

“I would have thought it was com­mon sense that they would have done their due dili­gence and had his new plan up and ready to go when the first run ran out,” Mr Jones said.

“I’m not the only one in the same boat — there’s lots of par­ents be­ing left stranded.

“Some plans ran out in Oc­to­ber and they’re still wait­ing for their new plan to ar­rive.”

Xavier, who has se­vere autism spec­trum dis­or­der, signed up for the Na­tional Dis­abil­ity In­sur­ance Scheme last year as its Tas­ma­nian roll­out con­tin­ued.

It al­lowed the Year 7 stu­dent to ac­cess ser­vices such as oc­cu­pa­tional ther­apy and psy­chol­ogy, while his car­ers re­ceive a respite week­end once a month.

Fam­i­lies were also wait­ing on funds for ne­ces­si­ties such as in­con­ti­nence pads while they sweated on con­tracts ar­riv­ing, Mr Jones said.

“It puts an enor­mous strain on them be­cause you need those ser­vices, they’re es­sen­tial to be able to man­age,” Mr Jones said.

“Respite is so im­por­tant — just that one week­end a month where you have a chance to be able to do things.

“There are chil­dren out there a lot worse off than mine and to be held back be­cause the bu­reau­cracy can’t get their act to­gether is just stag­ger­ing.”

Man­ag­ing body the Na­tional Dis­abil­ity In­sur­ance Agency im­me­di­ately sent Mr Jones a con­tract after it was con­tacted for a re­sponse by the Sun­day Tas­ma­nian.

“The NDIA can ad­vise that we have been in con­tact with the fam­ily and ad­dressed their con­cerns,” a spokes­woman said.

No ex­pla­na­tion for the de­lay was pro­vided. The widely ap­plauded NDIS is ex­pected to help more than 10,000 Tas­ma­ni­ans by 2019.

Its pro­gres­sive roll­out in the state since July 2013 has fo­cused on as­sist­ing young peo­ple with a dis­abil­ity.

Mr Jones’s con­cerns come as In­ter­na­tional Day of Peo­ple with a Dis­abil­ity is held to­day.

Pic­ture: MATT THOMP­SON

STRAIN: Xavier Jones, 13, with dad Nigel at their Geil­ston Bay home.

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