I have been working on my NDIS application since August 2022, with nearly six months of evidence collection, specialist appointments, and storytelling.
With me spending months explaining and evidencing that my trigger of FND is pain and not mental health or trauma etc., they have excepted this fact. However, now have stated my chronic pain is not ‘fully treated’ noting I have provided the following:
- Evidence that my chronic pain was from a workplace injury over 22 years ago
- I see a pain specialist and have letters from two dating back to 2018
- I have increased treatment since 2017
- Specialist medication therapy
- Regular Physiotherapist, massage, and Pilates
- Steroid injections, dry needling
- Radio Frequency 3 times per year for three years
- Multiple MRI’s
- Multiple hospitalisations and the need to receive four separate rehabilitation in patient care,
- Podiatrist review and treatment
- 2021 having a spinal cord stimulator installed.
- Referred to Neurologist to work in partnership with Pain Specialist in 2022.
This was my rejection response letter
I am not satisfied that this criterion has been met for your neurological impairment resulting from Functional Neurological Disorder and your physical impairment resulting from Chronic Pain.
Importantly, this criterion is not questioning the legitimacy or permanency of any diagnosis, but it is assessing the permanency of the impairment and functional impacts (for example, your reduced capacity for mobility, self-care etc.) that result from these diagnoses.
The NDIA acknowledges that you live with limitations that affect your functional capacity, that you have had to adjust the way you do things and rely on others for assistance. However, to meet this criterion, the evidence must demonstrate that you usually need disability-specific support to participate or complete activities in one or more of the six key activities assessed (communication, social interaction, learning, mobility, self-care and self-management).
I understand you require and benefit from equipment such as Canadian Crutches. Reliance on such items are not considered substantially reduced functional capacity as the items required are considered to be ‘commonly used items’ rather than specialist equipment or technology that is specifically designed to increase the functional capacity and participation of people with disability. Section 5.8 of Becoming a Participant excludes commonly used items. If a person can mobilise with a commonly used item, then it will not satisfy the requirements of Section 5.8.lNDIS rejection letter dated 6/02/23
The example used in the NDIS instructions and guideline state that a commonly used item is like prescription reading glasses. This is a considerable stretch similar to a walking aide that still, for the most part, traps me in my home, car or workplace, unable to do things with my family and often misses out because of my inability to mobilise.
In short, the rejection was solely because I can use cheap, regularly available mobility equipment to enable me to walk and mobilise (even though this is done with great effort, prone to falls & need supervision and support when in crowded areas. I needed a prescription that you can’t buy from a chemist. Or need to be ‘more disabled’ (paraphrasing here)
So I am back to square one, encouraged by the NDIS to use my GP management plan and private health insurance to receive the support I require.
The purpose of applying for the NDIS was to ensure I maintained my current mobility.
It ensured I could continue to work, pay taxes, and have a somewhat ‘normal’ life.
Not returning to the hospital every 12-18 months with a significant flair-up and having to learn to walk each time (noting the impact on the health system and broader society).
I’m asking for a minimal plan from the NDIS, a modest request, one that each engagement seems like an impossible task.
The system is backward. It is set up to look for ways to reject someone’s application. The scheme is not looking for ways to help the vulnerable and those who genuinely require the service.
I want to work.
I want to have an opportunity to participate in civic and social activities.
I need to be able to support and be available for my family.
Without the NDIS support, I won’t be able to continue the above long-term.
I think I’ve got 3-6 months left until I will require more intensive support.