The AAT this week overturned an NDIS decision to deny single occupancy Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA).
The participant, Anna Boicovitis, was deemed eligible to be funded for High Physical Support SDA but the NDIA stated that she was only eligible for dual occupancy SDA. That is, she could only have accessible housing that met her needs if she shared her home with somebody else, a stranger.
The AAT disagreed. In the decision (which you can find here: http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/cth/AATA//2022/204.html) Senior Member Cameron emphasised the rights of the participant, saying
“In particular, one of the objects of the Act is choice and control for participants. In section 4 one of the general principles is that those with a disability have the same rights as others in the community to determine their own best interests. These considerations do place an emphasis on the participant’s preference. In this case, the applicant has expressed a strong preference to live on her own. This is understandable, particularly at the age of 56.”
Ms Boicovitis has welcomed the decision, and told Villamanta:
“I knew it was possible for me to achieve my goal of living independently with the right supports, so many people I know are, I wanted to provide a future for myself. I wasn’t aware of how difficult, unfair, and how long a process the NDIS were going to make it for me.
I have Muscular Dystrophy. I was told I needed to put in place in my NDIS plan that I wanted to live alone with the right supports, which I did but after months the NDIS came back with a shared living proposition.
I needed a high physical support 1 bedroom apartment arrangement, now NDIS have asked me to find a 2 bedroom shared apartment, so after some looking into I found that what the NDIS wanted me to find, actually doesn’t exist in the current market. I’ve fought this decision for a year, after the tribunal then a hearing, 9 weeks after the hearing I got the result I wanted at last.
I’m not surprised, people tend to give up easily, fortunately for me I’m a fighter, I was going to see this through, I just wasn’t prepared it would take 18 months an extremely slow and long process. Delay after constant delay.
That’s why I encourage people to fight, if they truly believe the decision / decisions that have been given to them is unfair and unjust.”
Congratulations Anna, we hope you find your independence in your new home.