Gailene Massey is the sister and guardian of Ross, a 60-year-old man who has been supported by Achieve Australia and its predecessors since he was a child.
Ross now lives with his chosen roommates in an Achieve Australia accessible apartment at Crowle Estate.
“Ross was admitted to the National Disability Insurance Scheme quite easily but we experienced significant issues around his funding – it was adjusted dramatically up and down over the space of one year.
From that point of view, it has been a rocky ride.
“The funding was for some reason reassessed downwards, even after he experienced a subdural haematoma following a fall. He temporarily lost the ability to walk and his cognitive functions were definitely impaired – his comprehension was slower, speech less coherent and he lost the ability to do quite a few things he enjoyed. After corrective surgery he has recovered most of these functions but now requires a walker.
“We are now working with Achieve to get the NDIA planners to restore Ross’s grading to a complex case and upgrade his funding accordingly. We just want the best for Ross, but it hard to obtain the precise information and guidance we need.”
“I understand accessing the NDIS portal has been challenging for many people, but I managed OK because I have computer experience through my job. However I can imagine it would be very challenging for older parents who are guardians of people with disability.
“First you need to have an internet connection, understand how it works, and set up a MyGov account – all before you can even try to access the portal. Even then, you often end up with an error message instead of access. You just have to keep trying until you get through. Then you really need to log on regularly to keep up with changes, because not all of the information available to families via the portal is accessible by providers such as Achieve. It’s important to keep up to date and have two-way sharing of information.”