Almost everyone will be temporarily or permanently impaired during their lives. Most extended families have a member with disability or, are responsible for supporting and caring for their relatives and/or friends that have a disability.
There are around 4.3 million Australians who have a disability – equating to approximately one in five people – and this proportion is growing with an ageing population.
With many Australians needing support, we need to improve accessibility and social participation of people with disability (PwD). This can be achieved by addressing the daily barriers faced by PwD and ensuring the following supports are available.
National Disability Insurance Scheme
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is an Australian Government initiative that supports eligible people with long-term or permanent intellectual, physical, sensory, cognitive and psychosocial disability. Under the NDIS, early intervention supports can also be provided for eligible children with developmental delay.
The NDIS reassures all Australians that if they, their child or loved one is born with, or acquires a permanent and significant disability, the necessary supports will be provided. A key objective is to help people receive the required support to improve their skills and independence. To achieve this, the NDIS is being introduced progressively across all Australian States and Territories. You can check your eligibility and apply for the NDIS by visiting its website.
Numerous supports and services are provided by the Australian Government and the community sector for PwD nationally. The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) may identify that your supports are best delivered by these alternative service systems. There are multiple organisations that provide support both nationally and in your residing state or territory across different categories.
The Australian Government has also developed supports to assist PwD and their carers to maintain a reasonable quality of life. These include:
Disability Support Pension
The Disability Support Pension (DSP) provides financial help if you have a permanent physical, intellectual or psychiatric condition that prevents you working.
To be eligible for DSP, you must first satisfy the medical criteria, meaning:
- Your condition must be diagnosed.
- Your condition lasts more than two years.
- Your condition prevents you working 15 hours per week or less.
There are other eligibility criteria you must satisfy. To apply for DSP, contact your local Centrelink branch and organise an appointment.
If you are ineligible for both the NDIS and DSP, you can explore other payments. There are different criteria and payment types available for PwD and their carer/s, including:
- JobSeeker Payment to assist individuals searching for work.
- Sickness Allowance for short-term assistance resulting from a medical condition.
- Carer’s Allowance for providing daily care to a family member.
Given the COVID-19 crisis, the Australian Government has also increased the Jobseeker Payment. breakthru will publish an article about these topics shortly. Meanwhile, the types and eligibility criteria of these financial supports can be reviewed by visiting the Services Australia website.
Disability Employment Services
A Disability Employment Services (DES) provider, like breakthru, helps PwD find and maintain employment. This support assists PwD and their employers to introduce workplace practices that are disability friendly. Participating in this service will involve regularly meeting with a trained Employment Consultant to help you learn the required skills to find work that best matches your individual goals and circumstances.
Eligibility for DES generally follows the same Australian Government payment criteria however, you must likewise:
- Have a diagnosed disability, injury or illness.
- Have capacity to work at minimum eight hours per week.
- Be an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
- Not be a full-time student.
To receive help finding employment, you can access the DES program by registering with Centrelink and obtaining an Employment Services Assessment (ESAt) to verify your condition and capacity to work.
Mental Health Support
There are numerous supports available, including institutions like headspace which provide tailored and holistic mental health support to people aged between 12 and 25.
breakthru works with headspace in various locations in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria by referring customers to their services. breakthru likewise accepts referrals from headspace for customers requiring additional disability support, or access to our Prevention and Recovery Care (PARC) and Family Mental Health Support Services (FMHSS) facilities.
Alternative supports include organisations like:
Crisis support is short-term and focusses on providing non-judgemental assistance and resources to people experiencing a crisis. This assistance reduces stress and improves people’s capability to manage both their current situation and future crises. Key supports include:
How breakthru can help
breakthru understands that accessing disability supports can be a stressful. With over 25 years of experience helping PwD, we have expertise in helping you achieve your best possible social, emotional and physical outcomes. We achieve this by working closely with you, your family, friends and other service providers to ensure your necessary supports are received.
breakthru also supports people during the NDIS process. We help customers apply or transition from other programmes into the scheme. Moreover, we can help check your NDIS eligibility, provide preparation for your NDIA meeting, review your NDIS plan, and offer Support Coordination to accomplish your plan quickly and with minimal stress.
If you cannot access the NDIS due to ineligibility or other reasons, we also offer fee-for-service options. Our fees depend upon the type of supports required. Alternatively, we can offer other supports like DES or FMHSS, or refer you to someone else who can help.
To receive help applying for the NDIS or obtain general supports in reference to your disability, simply contact our friendly staff today.
Through both his own experiences and those of his family and friends, Aaron has witnessed firsthand the difficulties experienced by people with disability. By working at breakthru, Aaron hopes to increase awareness around the inherent dignity people with disability possess and highlight their incalculable value in society.