ACT News


Disability funding criteria revealed

The ACT government has revealed who will be eligible for the first funds associated with the national disability insurance scheme from July 1.

The government has released a broad set of eligibility criteria for $7.8 million in cash grants for disabled Canberrans over the next two years.

Canberrans under 65 with an intellectual, cognitive, neurological, physical or sensory disability will be able to apply for grants of up to $12,000 to support their daily life.

People with an impairment related to mental illness will also be eligible for funding.

The cash will flow to ACT residents over two years as the territory prepares for the full rollout of DisabilityCare Australia next year.

ACT Disability Minister Joy Burch said on Tuesday the government hoped the extra money would help cover disabled Canberrans who were not already using the territory's disability services.


The three grants on offer are up to $10,000 for equipment, aids and home modifications, up to $5000 for one-off items and support, and up to $12,000 to help people with a disability participate in social, recreational, educational and other community activities.

"It's about community engagement and community participation as well," Ms Burch said. "It could be access to other services that you haven't normally used. "With the existing arrangements, traditionally it's through one provider and they offer you what services are on their books. "This puts that choice and control back in the hands of the individual or their families."

The government estimates up to 5000 ACT residents could be eligible for the cash and later for assistance through DisabilityCare.

Ms Burch said a panel would assess grant applications, with priority given to Canberrans with the highest needs or to those who were not already receiving assistance.

Sue Salthouse, co-chairman of an expert advisory panel to the ACT government for DisabilityCare, said disabled Canberrans and carers should be "cautiously excited" about the extra support as the territory transitioned to the full scheme over the next 12 months.

"Certainly people should be encouraged to investigate these enhanced service offers and how relevant they might be to helping a person with a disability attain a good quality of life," she said.

"This is a time for people to review how they are operating as people with disabilities or as carers.

''This will not be the answer to everything for all people. When they look at the criteria, not everybody will be eligible." Applications for the first round of grants open on July 1.

■ For information, including the full eligibility criteria, visit the ACT government's NDIS webpage.