Close to 100 South Australians living with disability have been supported under the state's new disability advocacy service in its first four months of operation.
The greater assistance responds to a recommendation from SA government's independent safeguarding taskforce, which worked to identify gaps in oversight and support of people with disability.
Importantly, it means that no person is left to struggle alone without the support they need to live a full life.
Furthermore the initiative helps individuals and their carers to better navigate the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
According to Health Minister Michelle Lensink, the individual advocacy service is available whether these people are current NDIS participants or have 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," the minister said.
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.
A total of $1.2 million has been committed over three years for the new service.