Contributed by Ben Wilson
A massive class action over the blocking of over 65s from receiving support from the National Insurance Disability Scheme (NDIS). This is tipped to become a scandal on the scale of robodebt.
The case, involving legal firm, Mitry lawyers, could see up $800 million a year of denied help for permanently and seriously disabled persons because of their age. It is alleged this is a clear case of discrimination.
People in aged care, who receive half of the funding they would get if covered by the NDIS, are the most affected. This is causing extreme hardship for people generally on a low income. Imagine having to save up for moths to get a wheelchair. The burden carries onto families, forced to cover the cost for their older relatives. When they don’t have this sort of support, many are being forced into aged care because of poverty, rather than because they need it for health reasons.
Alternatively, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, and friends are often forced to drop their normal lives to become full-time carers. This has a ripple effect on them, their families, friends, colleagues, and social networks, and it imposes a cost on the economy.
Campaigners have been trying to get this changed for years. But it keeps on happening.
It is alleged that this is a breach of the Australian constitution, on the grounds that because the commonwealth relied on the external affairs power to enact the NDIS. But more importantly, there could be a breech because inconsistencies in the state-by-state rollout violates the ban on discrimination.
This is no way to treat older people. In fact, nobody should be treated this way.
Even if the constitutional grounds are put aside, it remains, treatment of a section of the population in a way that denies them the capacity for a decent life and dignity, is a violation of a basic human right. This sort of cruelty is an indictment on the Australian political system and those who work in it, for the simple reason that it allows this to happen.
Those who have and are suffering under this injustice have a right to compensation. The wrong must be acknowledged. Steps must be taken to ensure that others aren’t treated the same way.
This mistreatment testifies to the fact that the NDIS is being applied in a way that is aimed at minimising the support given to those with disabilities. It is saddled with hoops that applicants are forced to go through and the constant pressure to shift over to lower unemployment benefits. It is a system that is prone to applying discrimination. Australia needs better than this.
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