The Macular Disease Foundation Australia is furious with the Federal Government's ambiguous amendments to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) announced today.
Despite the recent extensive Senate Committee consultation process, the Government continues to ignore the majority view that people who acquire a disability after the age of 65 years should be included in the NDIS.
A national Galaxy survey commissioned by the Macular Disease Foundation Australia in February revealed that 82% of people said that it was unfair to exclude people who acquire a disability over 65 years.
Macular Disease Foundation Australia CEO, Julie Heraghty said, "Letting people fall through the cracks of two Government reform agendas based on an arbitrary pension age cut off is unfair and unjust.
"If you acquire a disability, such as legal blindness from macular degeneration after the age of 65 years, you are presently excluded from the support of the NDIS and expected to be catered for in the aged care system.
"The NDIS is not providing older Australians with the peace of mind that they deserve. On top of this, the aged care system is not powered to care for those with a disability of blindness or serious vision loss, even under the present aged care reform," said Heraghty.
The Macular Disease Foundation recently presented a compelling case to the Senate Committee alongside National Seniors Australia stating that the Government needs to extend the NDIS to include people who acquire a disability after 65 or find another solution very quickly.
"What is alarming is that Australians are unaware of the over 65 year old exclusion. The national survey also revealed that only 3% of all Australians know that the NDIS exclusion starts at age 65 years," said Heraghty.
For the estimated 167,000 people who have late stage age-related macular degeneration and experience serious vision impairment or blindness, virtually all are aged over 65 and therefore will be excluded from the NDIS.
"The Government has an obligation to support older Australians who go blind. The older you get, the harder it gets, and we can't let this group suffer in silence," said Heraghty.
To read the full press release, please click here,
13 March 2013