SECTION IN PROGRESS

Getting Help in Australia 

Having an illness can be very expensive and disabilities can require some extra help. We have collated a list of potential help you can get within Australia. This is not an exhaustive list and we do our best to try and advise how to get through some of the red tape, but you need to talk to representatives of each of these organisations for more specific information. 

NDIS

What is it?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme is a government-funded program for Australians with a disability under the age of 65. This scheme helps eligible people with intellectual, physical, sensory, cognitive and/or psychosocial disability supports and services to improve their everyday life, participate in the community and reach their goals. They also help provide early intervention supports to help reduce the impact of the disability by building skills to help increase one's independence. The NDIS focusses on helping with disability-related issues NOT medical. Some of the help the NDIS can assist with can include funding for wheelchairs, assistance at home, transport, assistive technology/devices, carers, home modifications etc. 

To be eligible one needs to have a:

- Permanent and significant disability 

- Be between 7-65yrs of age

- Meet Australian residency requirements

- Requires special equipment and/or support for their disability

Check detailed eligibility criteria here

Is Chiari/Syringomyelia Eligible?

Both Chiari and/or Syringomyelia CAN cause disability that is at a level that meets eligibility requirements. However, just having this medical diagnosis does not make one automatically eligible. As mentioned NDIS is NOT for medical-related help but for disabilities that may occur from the disorders. This is usually the number one reason people are declined as they focus on the diagnosis/illness. 

How to apply

- Check your eligibility and that NDIS is available within your area in Australia

- Ring the NDIS 1800-800-110 where they will ask you some simple questions to check you meet the eligibility requirements. 

- A letter with the NDIS form will be sent out. You have days in which to have your health professional fill in the form and submit supporting documents

- If accepted you be contacted and a time set to meet with a plan coordinator. Either in person or via phone you will both discuss what supports NDIS can assist with. 

Your NDIS form will include basic demographic information, and a section for your health professional to fill out. This includes information on your diagnosis (your primary diagnosis, how long you have had it, the treatment that was undertaken if the impairment is likely to be life-long, secondary diagnosis. It will also ask about the potential for early interventions that could be of benefit. There is also a list of potential assessments you may have undertaken (hearing acuity score, visual acuity rating,  expanded disability status scale, American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale etc). These tests are NOT required but may be helpful in your application. 

The final section is for you and your doctor to fill in looking at your functional ability in 5 areas which are: mobility, communication, social interaction, learning, self-care and self-management. These need to show what your issues are and your needs e.g "Person" has issues standing for more than 5mins due to their <insert condition> as it exacerbates their symptoms and may cause fainting which is a safety issue. A wheelchair would improve independence and safety as "person" would be able to go out into the community again and would have more energy to attend to more everyday tasks in a safe way. 

Your plan

Everyone's plans will be different and the amount allocated will be based on your needs. The plan will cover

What if I am declined?

You can 

Hints and Tips

- Focus on your DISABILITY and what supports NDIS can provide and WHY it will help you in your EVERYDAY LIFE to MEET YOUR GOALS and PARTICIPATE IN THE COMMUNITY. That's what they care about, especially if helping you now will decrease any future costs to them in the future. 

- Filling out the sections can take time, it is best that you spend your time and write down your difficulties on a notepad to take to your doctor and discuss. This will ensure you don't miss anything. 

- Be clear and concise with your language. The people assessing these are not doctors and you don't want to bog them down with massive amounts of complex medical language. 

- An occupational therapist can evaluate your functional capacity for your application and make suggestions of aids that could improve your functionality. 

- Your GP  is the best to fill in the main form (though any doctor can). Having your specialists (neurosurgeon, pain doctor etc) also write a short letter supporting your diagnosis and that your symptoms are disabling and long-term is helpful to include. 

Disability Pension

What is it?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme is a government-funded program for Australians with a disability under the age of 65. This scheme helps eligible people with intellectual, physical, sensory, cognitive and/or psychosocial disability supports and services to improve their everyday life, participate in the community and reach their goals. They also help provide early intervention supports to help reduce the impact of the disability by building skills to help increase one's independence. The NDIS focusses on helping with disability-related issues NOT medical. Some of the help the NDIS can assist with can include funding for wheelchairs, assistance at home, transport, assistive technology/devices, carers, home modifications etc. 

To be eligible one needs to have a:

- Permanent and significant disability 

- Be between 7-65yrs of age

- Meet Australian residency requirements

- Requires special equipment and/or support for their disability

Check detailed eligibility criteria here

Is Chiari/Syringomyelia Eligible?

Both Chiari and/or Syringomyelia CAN cause disability that is at a level that meets eligibility requirements. However, just having this medical diagnosis does not make one automatically eligible. As mentioned NDIS is NOT for medical-related help but for disabilities that may occur from the disorders. This is usually the number one reason people are declined as they focus on the diagnosis/illness. 

How to apply

- Check your eligibility and that NDIS is available within your area in Australia

- Ring the NDIS 1800-800-110 where they will ask you some simple questions to check you meet the eligibility requirements. 

- A letter with the NDIS form will be sent out. You have days in which to have your health professional fill in the form and submit supporting documents

- If accepted you be contacted and a time set to meet with a plan coordinator. Either in person or via phone you will both discuss what supports NDIS can assist with. 

Your NDIS form will include basic demographic information, and a section for your health professional to fill out. This includes information on your diagnosis (your primary diagnosis, how long you have had it, the treatment that was undertaken if the impairment is likely to be life-long, secondary diagnosis. It will also ask about the potential for early interventions that could be of benefit. There is also a list of potential assessments you may have undertaken (hearing acuity score, visual acuity rating,  expanded disability status scale, American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale etc). These tests are NOT required but may be helpful in your application. 

The final section is for you and your doctor to fill in looking at your functional ability in 5 areas which are: mobility, communication, social interaction, learning, self-care and self-management. These need to show what your issues are and your needs e.g "Person" has issues standing for more than 5mins due to their <insert condition> as it exacerbates their symptoms and may cause fainting which is a safety issue. A wheelchair would improve independence and safety as "person" would be able to go out into the community again and would have more energy to attend to more everyday tasks in a safe way. 

Your plan

Everyone's plans will be different and the amount allocated will be based on your needs. The plan will cover

What if I am declined?

You can 

Hints and Tips

Focus on your DISABILITY and what supports NDIS can provide and WHY it will help you in your EVERYDAY LIFE to MEET YOUR GOALS and PARTICIPATE IN THE COMMUNITY. That's what they care about, especially if helping you now will decrease any future costs to them in the future. 

Filling out the sections can take time, it is best that you spend your time and write down your difficulties on a notepad to take to your doctor and discuss. This will ensure you don't miss anything. 

Be clear and concise with your language. The people assessing these are not doctors and you don't want to bog them down with massive amounts of complex medical language. 

An occupational therapist can evaluate your functional capacity for your application and make suggestions of aids that could improve your functionality. 

State Specific Assistance