An Australian father with severe disabilities has to go to bed without company for 20 hours on the weekend thanks to a gruesome cut to his NDIS package of $ 45,000 a year.
Inactivity could expose Cameron Browne to another blood clot, like the one that caused the stroke that left him severely disabled a decade ago.
Hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities are facing similar cuts as their support under a new program. Independent appraisers will review NDIS packages to help contain the cost of the system.
Delays in decision making also cause great stress for Australians with disabilities. In one shocking case, Liam Smith waited more than two years for approval to move to independent residential accommodation.
The wheelchair-bound man with visual, hearing, mobility and intellectual disabilities had to move because his aging parents had health problems.
Liam’s mother, Beth, said local MPs and even the head of the NDIS had been involved in the case to no avail.
« It’s just indescribable. Angry is an understatement, to the point where I’m very emotional about the whole thing and it affects our relationship with our son because he wants to move and doesn’t understand why he can’t. » She said.
Just hours after News Corp asked NDIS to explain the long delay in Liam’s case, the agency approved funding so he could live independently.
« The agency apologizes to Mr. Smith and his family for the time it took to evaluate and approve his application, » she told News Corp.
Mr. Browne, who used to play rugby for the Dee Why Lions, suffered a stroke at the age of 33 that resulted in impaired vision, identification problems, a wheelchair and 24-hour care.
Mr. Browne’s parents looked after him and his 11 year old son Cooper for 10 years, but they are now seriously ill and have recently moved to an elderly care village. Cooper has moved to live with relatives on the Sunshine Coast.
Mr Browne had hoped for an increase in NDIS support when his parents could no longer take care of him, but was shocked when his package was ripped open.
His supervisor, Samantha Ball, said he is currently getting extra care hours on the weekend, which means his package will expire within 57 weeks and he will have no money at all next year.
NDIS told News Corp, « Mr. Browne has an approved NDIS plan with a substantial level of funding that recognizes his need for a high level of support in maintaining his independence at home and in the community and notes the complexity. »
« If they completely cut off funding for people like me, it means a life of waste, » Browne said.
« I would hardly ever be able to see my son and would just get stuck in bed, not seeing anyone, not working on my mobility or going out and enjoying doing things like everyone else. »
Nick Rushworth, executive officer of Brain Injury Australia, said more than 14,000 Australians with brain injuries who received NDIS funding « were afraid of being evicted from their homes if they no longer had access to the support they needed. » « .
« The government is targeting the least responsive because of their disability and it’s a shame, » he said.
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