Australia-born Children to New Zealand Citizens Denied NDIS Access

Australian authorities have denied disabled Australia-born children the access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) because of their parents’ citizenship of New Zealand.

The disability advocates called the issue as a “clear case of discrimination” as the government doesn’t allow children born in Australia to NZ parents to access the disability schemes. Many of the NZ residents in Australia fall under the category of special visa residents and according to the government’s ruling, even they do not have the right to access the disability insurance scheme.

The government’s rule allows only people with permanent resident-ship or national citizenship to utilise the benefits of the scheme. Until a child living in Australia turns 10, he cannot become the citizen of the nation and hence he loses the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of NDIS scheme.

Sydney-born Toby Bensemann, 7, is facing the after-effects of the government’s ruling. He was born premature in 2008 but now he has autism. Mother Angela said that his son has been improving gradually since he was diagnosed with the disease.

“Toby has just flourished, he exceeded all our expectations in his first couple of years at school,” she said as quoted by the ABC. “We went from having this little 24-weeker who we were told probably wouldn’t survive, and if he did he would be severely disabled, to having this wee boy who was going to mainstream school.”

The autistic child’s mother said that she wanted her son’s early intervention to continue, but she has been told by the authorities that his son was not eligible to access the disability insurance scheme as he has not yet reached the age of 10, which is the minimum eligible age limit for obtaining Australian citizenship.

Around two-thirds of the disability service providers across Australia complaint that the Federal Government was not supporting them with the problems arising relating to the NDIS scheme’s trial sites, ABC reported in January. Around 64 percent of the service providers believed that the government was not responding to their professional requirements.