Obese Aussies claiming NDIS payments

OBESE Australians have demanded taxpayer-funded disability payments, as the $22 billion National Disability Insurance Scheme fights costly claims for home alterations, psychotherapy and 24/7 care.

A 210kg man on the disability pension used Legal Aid to pursue NDIS funding for his morbid obesity. But a tribunal found the 64-year-old had not done enough to try to lose weight and ruled that obesity was not a permanent disability.

A morbidly obese woman who needs two or three people to transfer her from her bed to a wheelchair also took legal action for NDIS funding to pay for home modifications, a dietitian and a physiotherapist. But again, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal ruled that her obesity was not permanent and should therefore not be covered by the NDIS.

Another woman with anxiety applied for NDIS funding to pay for her psychotherapy. The tribunal rejected her claim, stating the NDIS should not pay "simply because she does not receive adequate treatment and support through the health system''.

File picture: A 210kg man on the disability pension used Legal Aid to pursue NDIS funding for his morbid obesity.
File picture: A 210kg man on the disability pension used Legal Aid to pursue NDIS funding for his morbid obesity.

The cases were among dozens of appeals in the past year against rulings by the National Disability Insurance Agency, which decides who gets NDIS funding.

An NDIA spokesman yesterday said the NDIS "is not welfare'', adding: "It was never intended to replace other mainstream government services."

The scheme provides payments to 208,793 Australians with a disability.

But desperate families have complained of being trapped in red tape trying to get their children NDIS support.

Single mother and full-time carer Megan Firster waited months for funding for her son Leo, 4, who has epileptic encephalopathy and is unable to talk, walk or be left alone.

And Capalaba mother Leisl Woodfood was shocked to find the NDIS plan for her son Jimmy, 3, who suffers from a neuro-autoimmune disorder, was missing certain vital provisions that he was entitled to.



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