STORY: Funding promises choices for Annette, pictured above

CHARITIES are concerned the launch of the National Disability Insurance Scheme could hamper their fund-raising efforts because of a misconception that all disability services will be paid for under the program.

With the federal government planning to raise the Medicare levy by 0.5 per cent to help cover some of the costs of the national scheme, non-government organisations fear that it will lead to a public perception that fund-raising is no longer needed.

The client-centred fee-for-service scheme launches in a trial phase in the Hunter next week with Hunter charities particularly keen to see if it will affect their coffers.

Hunter-based charity the Samaritans said it would still rely on the public’s generosity to support its work.

Samaritans development director Lynne Graham said DisabilityCare was a marvellous and revolutionary service for people with disabilities that was long overdue.

“However, a lot of the work we do at Samaritans is with people outside DisabilityCare and the disability sector,” she said. “We work with carers, families, young people and children, and rely on help from the community for some of that work.”

Guide Dogs NSW chief executive Dr Graeme White said while the organisation welcomed DisabilityCare, it was concerned about a public misconception the scheme would cover all costs related to disability service provision and that donations to not-for-profit service providers would no longer be necessary.

Dr White said the NDIS would not cover people who acquired a disability over the age of 65 and would not cover people with moderate to severe disabilities.

“So there will be many people who are blind or vision-impaired who come to us for services, who will not be eligible for NDIS funding.”

A Macular Degeneration Foundation survey in February found that only 3 per cent of all Australians knew that the NDIS cut off at age 65.

The organisation was also concerned that the scheme would only be able to take on 400 new clients in its first year.

“We are particularly concerned about how many people who are blind or vision-impaired will be covered in this first year,” Dr White said.


“We were also concerned to learn that guide dogs, which cost $30,000 each to raise and train, have not been listed in the items to be covered by the NDIS.”

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