ALEX COOMBS AND JANE PORTNOY
Alex Coombs and Jane Portnoy are Social Workers – Haemophilia & Other Inherited Bleeding Disorders at the Ronald Sawers Haemophilia Centre at Alfred Health, Melbourne
Q: I’m a bit confused by the Disability Support Pension (DSP) which I get, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and My Aged Care. Does one affect the other? I live with my mum who is getting older and slower every day and we are both beginning to have problems and might need help.
It can be daunting to unravel the government benefits schemes and services available to people with bleeding disorders and their family as they grow older. This question is common among our clients.
We are all growing older and some days it seems the acceleration is faster than others. Disability and aged care services can be a minefield of terminology, acronyms, official websites and guidelines. Waiting in the queue on the telephone for answers can seem endless and be very tiring. With that in mind, we have outlined answers to some of the issues raised in this question.
If you have a bleeding disorder, it is important to understand the difference between a medical condition and a disability.
When you are applying for government benefits or services, the terms ‘haemophilia’, ‘von Willebrand disease’, ‘inherited bleeding disorder’, and ‘genetic disorder’ are considered to be medical conditions. When you give your medical history, you will disclose these if asked to ensure your records are accurate.
Having a medical condition is not deemed a ‘disability’ in itself, but you may develop a disability as a consequence of this medical condition, or your bleeding disorder can contribute to your disability.
|MyGov is the online portal that allows you to access Centrelink, the ATO (Australian Tax Office), Medicare, and many other public services including your NDIS or MyAged Care account.
Using MyGov is almost mandatory if you want to interact with Centrelink.
T: 13 2300
Monday to Friday 8 am to 5 pm
|Login to MyGov to access your Centrelink account.
Centrelink delivers Centrelink (Australian Government) social security payments and services to Australians.
To find more information about Centrelink payments and services, go to https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/
Centrelink Indigenous Call Centre
T: 1800 136 380
Monday to Friday 8 am to 5 pm
|Disability Support Pension (DSP)
T: 13 2717
Monday to Friday 8 am to 5 pm
|The Disability Support Pension is your income. It is means tested and based on your inability to work full-time or part-time.
You are eligible if you are aged between 16 and 64 years and experience a reduced participation capacity due to a physical, intellectual, or psychiatric condition.
To meet the medical criteria, individuals applying for the DSP must be manifestly medically eligible or have a disability or medical condition that is:
|The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) & National Disability Insurance Authority (NDIA)
T: 1800 800 110
Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm (local time)
|The NDIA is the agency that administers the NDIS.
The NDIS is the scheme that provides the funding for your services, support and equipment/modifications to the home/car etc. which will enable you to be as independent as possible.
T: 1800 643 787
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm AEST
|The Disability Gateway has information and services to help people with disability, their family, friends and carers to find the support they need in Australia.
Currently there is no automatic transition from NDIS to My Aged Care.
Upon turning 65 years old, if you have been on the NDIS funding, you have a choice to move to MyAged Care or remain on the NDIS.
These are two separate pools of funding initially dependent on the age of the applicant. Discussions with the Federal Government to open up the NDIS to those over 65 as well who have a disability are on-going.
In short, to be eligible for the NDIS you will need to apply before turning 65 years of age and have functional impairments brought on by a developmental, intellectual or mental health disability or an acquired disability such as from an accident or illness, which restricts your ability to lead an independent life. It provides funding for in-home supports such as support workers, equipment and home modifications. Once approved for a NDIS funding budget, it is for life.
Currently My Aged Care is for those 65 years and older (50 years or older for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people) whose independence is impacted by the aging process and its effects and where it reduces their capacity to continue their self-care. You may need in-home services to continue to live in your existing home. Some may consider relocation to supported accommodation in either an aged care home providing different levels of support or in a retirement village. If you acquire or develop a disability after 65 years of age you currently cannot apply to the NDIS for additional funding.
On reaching Age Pension age (see under Age Pension below for your respective attainable date) and if you are in receipt of an eligible payment, you can apply for a transfer to the Age Pension, which is simpler and easier than completing a full Age Pension claim.
Centrelink will send you an invitation to transfer 13 weeks before you reach Age Pension age. Qualifying for the Age Pension depends on your circumstances and the payment you currently get. On contact with Centrelink’s Age Pension staff, you will need to tell them if you:
Please ensure you complete the process to the end to ensure continuity of your benefits and entitlements.
Go to https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/topics/transfer-age-pension/31161
T: 13 2300
Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm
|The Age Pension is the main income support payment for people who have reached the Age Pension age:
T: 1800 200 422
|My Aged Care is a referral and information system for anyone aged 65 years and older (50 years or older for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people).
This is not the Age Pension available from Centrelink.
This is where you or your family go to begin the process of seeking appropriate services, equipment, and specialist aged care assessments of your needs that will assist in keeping you or your aging family member at home and independent for as long as possible. It is also the point at which you can request an in-home assessment for possible nursing home placement or what other supported residential options exist and including access to planned respite stay for the ageing person.
You can still seek out your family GP after accessing My Aged Care as well.
Once your register, it is important you keep the reference number you receive handy at all times to make further enquiries.
You may be wondering where you can go and who to talk to for more help.
Links and contact numbers have been provided above to help you to look further into your respective claim area.
If you need more help?
Haemophilia Treatment Centre (HTC) social workers and counsellors can support you with gathering information in making your application, referring you on to Centrelink helplines, Centrelink social workers and other community advocacy services.
This article is adapted with permission from Ask us: Q & As with Alex and Jane, Alfred Hospital HTC Team. The Missing Factor, September 2019, magazine of Haemophilia Foundation Victoria (www.hfv.org.au)
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