Regional areas may get boost from disabilities scheme
AN OPTION allowing people with disabilities to spend their support funding how they see fit - free from the constrains of one agency - could best serve people in regional areas.
And families who have taken advantage of this chance to self-direct are encouraging others to follow suit as the potential remains largely untapped in some areas.
The State Government last year rolled out the Your Life Your Choice scheme as a precursor to the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
The initiative involves people with disabilities self-directing their government funding instead of being restricted to one agency.
Disability Services Minister Tracy Davis has reiterated the option available, releasing a series of online handbooks explaining the way people can manage their disability support.
"These handbooks will give people with a disability and host providers the information they need to become a part of Your Life Your Choice," she said.
Consultant with host provider Bespoke Lifestyles Dianne Mandeville said disability services in regional Queensland were still getting familiar with the option to self-direct.
She believes it would serve regional areas well, as people could choose their support from the community rather from just traditional service providers.
"…in regional areas there may not be much choice for people as there may not be many disability service providers in some areas," she said.
"With self-direction, people can use generic supports within their community or employ people directly from the community. "This gives much more freedom and choice.
"Mackay parents Jim and Connie Young moved to self-directed funding in 2009. They say the move allowed them to make their daughter, Eileen, 41, completely independent, with her own home and choice of who her carers were.
"It was a very gradual process," Mrs Young said.
"When we started Eileen had some funding and we were able to obtain the house and she had enough funding to be supported there for so many days a week and then the rest of the time she used to come home to us.
"Gradually we were able to gain more funding until she was able to move to her own home permanently.
"It became apparent to all of us that Ilene was happy in her own home and she came to recognize it as being her place."