Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie has called on the Government to intervene in the case of a Hills man with severe disabilities who has been left with just a fraction of the support he needs under his transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
The life of Sam Hensman, 25, of Heathfield, changed forever in 2016 when a congenital condition led to an acquired brain injury that left him unable to walk or talk and made him completely reliant on care.
When he recently transitioned from Disability SA to the NDIS, his funding package was slashed dramatically, leading to a significant reduction in support and prompting his family to approach their local MP to intervene.
“Sam and his parents and fiancé have been left devastated by the consequences of the NDIS package,” Rebekha said.
“Obviously they asked for a review of his 12-month NDIS plan but they have been told it could take 18 months for a review to be completed. This is just not good enough.
“The NDIS was designed to help people with disabilities develop their full potential not to place them into survival mode.
“With therapy, Sam has started to make verbal sounds and he is making progress with assisted walking but now there isn’t even enough money to cover the equipment he requires, especially the assisted communication device that would allow this young man to communicate with the world.
“Reasonable and adequate therapies are critical for Sam’s well-being and safety.”
After learning of Sam’s plight, Rebekha has spoken about his case in Parliament and written to the Minister for Families and Social Services, Paul Fletcher, to ask him to intervene and require the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to conduct an urgent review.
“Sam’s NDIS goals clearly state that he envisions a future where he is able to return to employment, live independently with his fiancé and live in his own home,” Rebekha said.
“There is no way these goals will be realised if the NDIA doesn’t change its mind and change its mind in a timely manner.
“Unfortunately, Sam’s case is just one of many instances where the NDIS has fallen short of its mandate.
“I am increasingly concerned about those people with disabilities – physical and mental – who are falling through the cracks and will be left worse off under the new system.”