Blind man's appeal for new life with new guide dog

APPEAL: Kelvin Steinhardt missed out on funding for a new guide dog through his original NDIS plan. He is pictured with his retired guide dog Mickey.
APPEAL: Kelvin Steinhardt missed out on funding for a new guide dog through his original NDIS plan. He is pictured with his retired guide dog Mickey. David Nielsen

AN IPSWICH man says his confidence has been cut to shreds after a mix-up with his NDIS plan resulted in an ongoing wait for a guide dog.

Kelvin Steinhardt, 55, has been without a guide dog since early this year after his third dog Mickey was retired due to poor eyesight and old age.

Unfortunately, what appears to have been a misunderstanding regarding Mr Steinhardt's NDIS application meant that funding for a replacement guide dog was not provided in the plan that was approved for him on August 9 last year.

Mr Steinhardt applied for a review of the plan in the first week of September, but said he was still waiting for word back on whether or not a new guide dog would be funded.

It has been a frustrating wait for Mr Steinhardt, who has been completely blind since the aged of 18 as a result of glaucoma and detached retinas.

"I will be 56 on my next birthday and I was hoping for one more guide dog to see my time out," Mr Steinhardt said.

"I've probably got 10-12 years of working life left, plus my social interaction has become dependant on having a guide dog there with me."

Mr Steinhardt has been getting by with a cane instead of a guide dog for the past few months, but an accident three weeks ago confirmed why that probably wasn't the safest bet.

While walking through town, he tripped on a gutter, fell onto the road and was hit by a car.

"The guide dog is not in my plan and nobody can tell me when it might be," he said.

"My confidence has been cut to shreds."

National Disability Insurance Agency spokesperson said while it was not free to discuss Mr Steinhardt's individual case, it could offer general information regarding assistance for people in his position.

"If a participant thinks a decision made by the NDIA about them is wrong, they are encouraged to contact their local office and discuss their concern," they said in a statement.

"If they wish to lodge a complaint after that they contact a national complaints phone number or email and they can submit an application for an internal review."

Federal Member for Blair Shayne Neumann said his office was in constant contact with Mr Steinhardt and was trying to assist in a speedy resolution. He urged any Ipswich presidents with NDIS issues to contact his office for advice and support.

Topics:  blind guide dog ipswich ndia ndis

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