Advocacy helping South Australians living with disability get support
Nearly 100 South Australians living with disability have received information and support from the state’s new disability advocacy service in its first four months of operation.
The implementation of the new advocacy service was a direct recommendation from the State Government’s independent safeguarding taskforce, which was tasked with examining gaps in oversight and safeguarding for people living with disability.
The State Government committed a total of $1.2 million over three years for the new service – the first-time disability advocacy has been funded since 2007.
The service is helping South Australians navigate the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and ensure they are receiving adequate supports.
The individual advocacy service is available to all South Australians living with disability, and their carers, whether they are current NDIS participants or having issues with accessing the NDIS for the first time.
It provides free legal representation and legal advice, along with practical assistance such as in-person support at meetings and medical appointments, or information and referrals to other helpful resources.
People with disability and their families can contact the advocacy service to receive support on a range of topics, including understanding the NDIS and assistance to overcome application rejections.
Since the service began on December 9 2020, it has provided assistance to 97 people, including:
- assistance and advice for all 97 clients;
- eight legal representations on behalf of individuals lodging an appeal regarding an NDIS decision;
- legal advice and in-person support to attend meetings and medical appointments, resulting in increased NDIS supports for 11 people to date;
- help for 10 people living in rural and remote areas to access the NDIS or achieve changes in NDIS plans; and
- referral pathways for 20 individuals needing specific support services for non-NDIS related matters.
The Uniting Communities Law Centre was selected to run the service via a competitive tender process.
Uniting Communities Senior Manager Sarah Watson said the vital service is helping people with disability to better access their own communities.
“Any South Australian struggling to work through the NDIS and understand their or their loved one’s rights should give us a call so we can discuss their individual situation and how we can help,” said Ms Watson.