NDIS amendments give relief to older Australians who are blind or vision impaired

Vision 2020 Australia CEO Jennifer Gersbeck has welcomed the Government’s announcement to amend the National Disability Scheme (NDIS) Bill to ensure people over the age of 65 have access to disability support.

The amendments to the Bill will see the age threshold retained at 65 but Australians already in the system will be allowed to remain beyond that age.

“We are relieved that the Government has taken these steps to ensure thousands of older Australians who are blind or vision impaired will be included in the NDIS scheme,” Ms Gersbeck said.

“One of our concerns about the NDIS was the risk that people aged over 65 years may not have had access to equitable disability services, so we are very pleased about the Government’s announcement today,” she said.

“People who need early intervention aids and support for eye conditions where the symptoms are not realised until later will now be able to enter the scheme and this is great news,” Ms Gersbeck said.

As the peak body for the eye health and vision care sector, we have been working tirelessly with the sector to ensure the Government scheme meets the needs of people who are blind or who have significant vision loss,” Ms Gersbeck said.

Existing services for older Australians, such as hearing and vision services, that complement the assistance available through aged care, will also continue to provide supports to people who develop a disability after age 65.

“This interface between the NDIS and Aged Care is vital,” said Maryanne Diamond from Vision Australia.

“It’s a relief that the Government has taken heed of our recommendations and we congratulate them on this announcement and the extensive consultations undertaken to respond to feedback,” Ms Gersbeck said.

The Government will also establish an NDIS division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and an independent expert panel to advise the Agency’s merits review process.