The ACT NDIS Taskforce has released a further $2.4 million of funding to support Canberrans living with disabilities in the latest round of the Enhanced Service Offers, a precursor to the NDIS.
This is the second instalment of $7.7 million dollars allocated by the Federal and ACT governments to assist people living with disability in the Territory.
Minister for Disability Joy Burch said ''the enhanced service offer grants are an important part of the transition to the NDIS, allowing people to get used to the idea that individuals with disability will have a choice and control over the supports and services they use''.
A total of 1514 people applied for the second round of funding although only 556 applications were successful. Close to 1000 unsuccessful applicants must now wait for the NDIS to be formally introduced on July 1 for further assistance.
Chelsea Boulding is a 12-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who will now receive $10,000 in equipment to increase her independence. Chelsea is a self-published author and an ambassador for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, yet has extremely limited independence due to her condition.
''This grant is going to change our lives, especially Chelsea's, dramatically,'' said her mother Leah. ''I was nervously waiting to get this grant and when I finally opened the envelope I burst into tears. It means that much to our family.
''We have six children and it's been very hard to find a vehicle modification that will fit our needs. For our daughter this is definitely not a luxury.''
Another recipient is a young artist with a psychological disability who will now receive a $12,000 flexible supports and services grant to start his own clothing business, a designated component of his recovery plan. ''I've already started the business, this is going to help me pay for stock advertising, and exhibition,'' the recipient said. ''I've been designing for about 10 or 12 years, and this is going to concentrate on the business''.
The ACT NDIS Taskforce gave priority to applicants without established contact with health services and applications were assessed by judging who would most benefit from additional assistance.
All younger people in residential aged care who applied received the ESO grant, while 90 per cent of people with a psychosocial disability who live with family were successful.
Kate Jenkins, a single mother with a 24-year-old paraplegic son, will have to wait to receive funding from the NDIS after submitting an unsuccessful application. ''It would've taken the stress level off me having to work so hard,'' she said. ''It costs me $240 a week for a physiotherapist to come out twice a week. My son has achieved a lot, but he needs to have this therapy or he just withers away. I have worked for eight years as a security guard working 50 hours per week to pay for his much-needed physiotherapy.''
Director of the ACT NDIS Taskforce Kate Starick said: ''It is important that people realise that even if they weren't successful for a grant through the ESO it does not mean that they will not be able to access the NDIS.''