DisabilityCare and our services
Muscular Dystrophy associations across Australia are reviewing their programs in response to the introduction of national funding for disability services under the new DisabilityCare program, formerly known as the NDIS (national disability insurance scheme).
As supporters of this initiative, actively involved in calling on the Australian government to respond to the Every Australian Counts campaign, Muscular Dystrophy Foundation and our associated state-based associations are pleased the scheme has begun to roll out. Particularly because the self-directed nature of the scheme will offer better choices and provide greater control for those who are eligible.
Currently DisabilityCare is available to eligible residents of Tasmania, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory as well as residents of the Barkly region of the Northern Territory, the Barwon region of Victoria and the Hunter region of New South Wales. Queensland residents will not be able to access the scheme until July 2016 and Western Australia is not currently participating. Although the vision and ultimate goal of the Australian Government is to provide a truly national service, currently the vast majority of Australians are still not able to access DisabilityCare.
We remain concerned for those who fall through the funding ‘cracks’. People over 65 years of age are ineligible for DisabilityCare. Yet they represent a large segment of the clients our state organisations provide services for. Of more than 60 neuromuscular conditions supported by the state organisations, a large number of these conditions are characterised by adult onset symptoms. Additionally families who do not meet the eligibility requirements of current state-based funding because of their Australian residency status, will continue to be ineligible for DisabilityCare and will continue to rely on the services of state MD associations for support.
As DisabilityCare rolls out across Australia over the coming years, there is little doubt it’s introduction will cause a shift in the focus of our service provision. However, similarly to current disability funding schemes, even when it does become nationally available DisabilityCare will only provide a minimum level of support for those eligible.
Programs and services provided by our state MD associations that do not currently receive support from the Government will remain essential for our clients. We will continue to rely on contributions from donors and other fundraising initiatives to ensure vital services remain available not only for those living with these conditions but also for their parents, siblings, children and carers. The welfare of all people affected by muscular dystrophy will always remain at the core of our existence.