Ramp hopes dashed

Legally blind man Phillip Chalker and his wife Michelle are calling on the NDIS to approve their application for a ramp to their front door. photograph hayley mills

Legally blind man Phillip Chalker and his wife Michelle are calling on the NDIS to approve their application for a ramp to their front door. photograph hayley mills

Latrobe Valley disability advocate Phillip Chalker is calling on the National Disability Insurance Scheme to pick up its game after he was incorrectly led to believe his request for an entry ramp had been granted.

Mr Chalker, who is legally blind, said he and his wife Michelle had been trying to have an entry ramp installed at their Traralgon home since 2016 as he finds it difficult to navigate the seven steps to their front door.

Mr Chalker said he received a call from the NDIS office in Dandenong last week to say the ramp application had been approved.

However, not long after, Mr Chalker received another call, this time from the Traralgon NDIS branch, to say there had been an error and they would not be receiving the entry ramp.

"It is beyond a joke," Mr Chalker said.

"They don't seem to care. Why did they let it get this far in the first place before they decline it?"

Mr Chalker said he would like to help his wife carry shopping bags and other things into the house when required, however, he couldn't help because he had to hold the handrail to use the stairs in front of the house.

An NDIA spokesperson did not address Mr Chalker's case specifically but said applications for home modifications funded by the NDIS need to be related to an individual's disability-related needs with supporting evidence provided from suitably qualified practitioners.

"If an application does not meet the reasonable and necessary criteria set out in the legislation it cannot be approved," he said.

"Participants are entitled to request a review of an NDIA decision.

"If the person still disagrees with the decision made by the NDIA after an internal review is completed, they may make an application directly to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for external review by an independent tribunal." 

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