Nanango residents petition for NDIS change due to age discrimination policies after a disabled senior citizen raised concern about not being covered for support.
Sam Cristaldi, 65, was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease (MND) in December 2019 just three weeks after his 65th birthday, which meant he could not get support under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). After receiving his first diagnosis, the Motor Neuron Disease Association of Queensland helped him navigate the Commonwealth Home Support Program when he was denied a home care package.
MND Queensland’s director of services Stacey Thorpe advocated for Sam and helped to get him the Level 3 Home Care Package (HCP) he would inevitably need.
“While he has been assessed for a Level 3 HCP, he is only on a Level 1 as an interim due to wait times,” Thorpe said. “He has been trying to build up the funding in his HCP to a level that he could use it to pay for the carpet to be replaced with more suitable flooring. This is a very slow process when he gets about $750 a month, and this is not the only modification he needs in his home.”
After suffering a major fall, Sam Cristaldi has required more assistance because of the growing difficulty in his mobility.
Stacey said Sam also needs personal care for his showers and receives some support for this from his aged care service provider Blue Care, even though he is at Level 1. She continues:
“The whole process is incredibly distressing and disappointing when these expenses could be covered off by the NDIS, enabling Sam to have the best possible care in his remaining years.
My Aged Care is intended to help older people finding it harder to complete daily activities, and it is designed to support the frail and aged, not the disabled.
But even the highest-level home care packages are utterly inadequate for those that need daily personal care, mobility aids, home modifications and regular allied health services.
The system leaves so many vulnerable Australian’s dangerously unsupported and the impact on the whole family is devastating. Some people have even had to sell their family home to subsidise the care needed.”
Stacey said since the NDIS was established, those people becoming disabled after the age of 65 have been discriminated against. People aged over 65 get less support, and it takes longer to get said support. They are also required to make a co-contribution, which people under 65 and covered by the NDIS are not required to give.
MND Queensland supports the national “Disability Doesn’t Discriminate” campaign in response to a groundswell of stories like Sam’s.
Media outlets have approached local Federal MP David Littleproud for comment but have received no response ahead of publication.
Cristaldi is urging all other Australians to sign a petition to insist the Federal Government remove the age restriction from the new NDIS due for release in late 2021. A petition for NDIS change due to age discrimination, according to supporters, could help other seniors who suffer the same plight.
“Please sign the petition – it takes eight seconds and you could change someone’s life,” he says. “That could include someone close to you and dear to you.”
Original story found on the South Burnett website, information from the Australian Government Department of Social Services website. Note: Content has been edited for style and length.
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