Concerns remain over new disability funding

The head of an advocacy group for disabled people has welcomed the Government's overhaul of disability funding, despite an apparent lack of clarity.

Disability Connect chief executive Mike Potter told the AM Show on Monday justice has been served with the new legislation for carers.

Under the changes, spouses and parents can now be paid up to $25.50 an hour for looking after their disabled family members. Currently the funding can't be used to employ a spouse.

"Parents of children with disabilities need to have a voice, that voice has at least been heard. In the past it hasn't been heard and at least that's something to celebrate," Potter said.

However, concerns still remain about how the funding will be allocated. Budget 2019 has allocated $32 million to help fund the changes, which will come into effect in 2020. 

"The devil is in the detail... that's $8 million dollars a year over four years. That's quite light from my perspective," Potter added.

"I think there's going to be more people that are going to come out and ask for funding to be able to look after family members." 

Potter says these applicants should be shown more compassion than the current system allows.

"The assessment in which people qualify for getting family-funded care is quite stringent, I think, and I think there needs to be some leeway around that too.

"If you don't quite qualify for that but your dependent child is dependent, you're still giving up your life, you're giving up your education, you're giving up your work and you're having to give up a social life to be able to care for your child."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the changes illustrate the Government's compassion for all those affected by disabilities.

"We have heard loud and clear from families with disabled members about the need to change Funded Family Care," Ardern said on Sunday.

"Today progresses a more compassionate Government that addresses the needs of stretched parents and partners."


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