Confined to bed: Families devastated by NDIS cuts
An Aussie dad with severe disabilities faces being confined to bed without company for 20 hours on weekends, thanks to a cruel $45,000 a year cut to his NDIS package.
The inactivity could place Cameron Browne at risk of another blood clot like the one that caused the stroke that left him severely disabled a decade ago.
Hundreds of thousands of people with a disability are facing similar cutbacks to their support under a new program that will see independent assessors review NDIS packages to rein in the costs of the scheme.
Decision delays are also creating major stress for Australians with disabilities. In one shocking case, Liam Smith waited more than two years for approval to move into independent living accommodation.
The wheelchair-bound man with seeing, hearing, mobility and intellectual disabilities needed to move because his ageing parents had developed health problems.
Liam's mother Beth said local MPs and even the boss of the NDIS had been involved in the case to no avail.
"It's just beyond words. Furious is an understatement, to the point where I'm very emotional about the whole thing and it's affected our relationship with our son, because he wants to move and doesn't understand why he can't," she said.
Just hours after News Corp asked the NDIS to explain the lengthy delay in Liam's case the agency approved the funding to allow him to move into independent living.
"The agency apologises to Mr Smith and his family for the time taken to assess and approve his request," it told News Corp.
However, the agency has refused to budge on the cutbacks to Cameron Browne's plan.
Mr Browne, who used to play rugby for the Dee Why Lions, suffered a stroke at age 33 that left him with poor vision, cognition problems, in need of a wheelchair and 24-hour care.
For 10 years Mr Browne's parents cared for him and his 11 year old son Cooper but they are now seriously ill and recently moved into an aged care village. Cooper has moved to live with relatives on the Sunshine Coast.
Mr Browne had been hoping for an increase in NDIS support once his parents were no longer able to care for him but instead was shocked when his package was slashed.
His carer Samantha Ball said at present he was currently receiving extra care hours on the weekend which meant his package would run out within 57 weeks, leaving him with no money at all next year.
The NDIS told News Corp: "Mr Browne has an approved NDIS plan, with a significant level of funding, that recognises his need for a high level of support in maintaining his independence at home and in the community, noting the complexities".
"If they totally cut off funding to people like me, it means a life of wasting away," Mr Browne said.
"I'd hardly ever be able to see my son and would just be being stuck in bed, not seeing anyone, not working on my mobility, or going out and enjoying doing things like everyone else."
Brain Injury Australia executive officer Nick Rushworth said more than 14,000 Australians with brain injuries who received NDIS funding were "scared they could be forced out of their home if they no longer have access to the support they require".
"The government is attacking the least able to react because of their disability and it is disgraceful," he said.
Originally published as Confined to bed: Families devastated by NDIS cuts