How we helped a farmer with multiple sclerosis get early support for his needs

How we helped a farmer with multiple sclerosis get early support for his needs

If you have a disability the National Disability Insurance Scheme can provide you with support for your needs. You can challenge a decision under the scheme if you think it's wrong.

Find out how we helped Ken to get early support from the scheme that will help him manage his future needs.

Ken's story

Ken Shone

When Ken Shone’s firetruck dipped into a pothole, he thought he’d given himself whiplash. His pain would turn out to be multiple sclerosis, a disease that causes nerve damage and can affect vision, balance and muscle control.

His response began, literally, with small steps to steady himself, but soon he was innovating to suppress the impact of the disease, and achieving it in leaps and bounds.

The cattle farmer traded his motorbike for a quad bike, discovered industrial vibration gloves could steady his hands and imported an arborist’s rope that locks in a loop to hold calves he used to straddle for ear tagging.

Ken, who cares for his mother, was an inspiration for others in his multiple sclerosis support group, but it didn’t stop him worrying about the future.

‘I can’t get a job with anyone because when I’m tired, I have to lie down and rest,’ he said. ‘I’m unemployable for anything else except what I do now.’

He turned to the National Disability Insurance Scheme, set up to support independence and inclusion through strategic supports.

His request for support denied

The National Disability Insurance Agency turned down his request for support because he was still active.

Ken started to feel it would be better if he just gave up and used a wheelchair. Then he'd be eligible. He felt he was being punished for reducing the impact of his disease

How we helped Ken

The scheme has five conditions of disability around permanent impairment and substantially reduced ability.

When Ken was found ineligible, his lawyer took on his case with the Administrative Appeal Tribunal.

Early intervention sets up the future for Ken

Ken's lawyer looked at this eligibility based on the attributes of early intervention. The criteria fit well, in that Ken's condition was permanent and early supports were likely to reduce his need for future assistance and improve his capability.

Next, his lawyer worked closely with the agency lawyers on terms of reference for an assessment of Ken's needs by an occupational therapist.

The assessment came through and Ken was accepted into the scheme before the hearing.

Ken is now meeting with agency workers to discuss a plan and is hopeful about his wish list for modest aids.

How we can help

If the agency says you are not eligible for support from the scheme, you should get legal advice about whether you should appeal this decision.

Call us for free information how we can help you to get support with the National Disability Insurance Scheme on 1300 792 387, Monday to Friday from 8.45 am to 5.15 pm.

If you need an interpreter let us know. If we can’t help you we can refer you to other organisations that can.