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83-year-old says NDIS 'discriminates against age'

Sheila King (far right) cannot get coverage under the NDIS because of her age. The program is eligible for those under 65-years-old.
Sheila King (far right) cannot get coverage under the NDIS because of her age. The program is eligible for those under 65-years-old. Alistair Brightman

THE rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme is sure to make a difference in the lives of thousands of residents on the Fraser Coast.

But 83-year-old River Heads resident Sheila King is not going to be one of them.

Despite being confined to a wheelchair for 4-5 years, and still suffering the effects of post-polio syndrome, Ms King is not eligible for coverage under the scheme - which does not accommodate those over 65.

She has claimed the scheme is "discrimination against age", stating she needs the care for her condition.

"You cannot claim on it if you're over 65 ... I need help with equipment and care, and with wheelchair access as well, and the NDIS should be able to cover me," she said.

Federal member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien said those aged over 65 would be eligible for specialised support through the aged care system.

"The NDIS is not intended to duplicate or replace the support available through other Government departments or agencies such as the aged care system, health system or income support system," he said.

"People aged 65-years-old and over are able to access highly specialised support through the aged care system."

But Ms King claims these other aged care programs don't offer the kind of help the NDIS does, due to her need for wheelchair maintenance.

"The assessment program has hundreds on the list, and you have to jump through hoops to get it. That sort of help is not available, and it hasn't got the coverage that NDIS has," she said.

"Why is my disability not as requiring of assistance under the NDIS as that of a younger person with the same disability?"

While the rollout has started across Queensland, the Fraser Coast, North and South Burnett and Cherbourg regions will not see it until July 2018.

Federal member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said the schedule was agreed to by both the Queensland and Commonwealth governments.

"The transition timetable was developed based on the existing Queensland disability service regions, the readiness of the market and the disability sector to transition to the NDIS," he said.

"A number of disability support programs will continue once the NDIS is introduced, and people accessing these programs will continue to access the same supports if they do not become a participant."

Topics:  editors picks fchealth general-seniors-news mobility ndis sheila king



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