June 25, 2018

Helping Marta deal with doctors

Marta is very uncomfortable with doctors, but really needs their help.

Born with complex medical conditions, she had multiple painful orthopaedic surgeries in childhood which were only partly corrective. Now 64, she has progressive osteoarthritis and muscle wasting in her legs and arms, and suffers from anxiety, which affects her ability to plan and organise tasks.

Marta is fiercely independent and stoic. She has managed working when she could throughout her life, with only financial support for one pair of orthopaedic boots each year. Finding it difficult to work when her osteoarthritis worsened, she applied for Newstart Allowance, but her disability prevented her from meeting Newstart’s requirements.

While her doctor helped her apply for Disability Support Pension, her traumatic prior experience with doctors meant she was not able to obtain the comprehensive medical supporting evidence she needed. This meant she was assessed with zero points of impairment and was not granted the DSP. She applied to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to appeal the decision.

Marta asked Leadership Plus for advocacy assistance. The advocate worked with her GP prior to the AAT hearing, and accompanied her to the hearing, where she was very anxious. The AAT was not able to find in her favour on the original decision, but:

  • assessed her as having 15 points on the impairment tables
  • recommended a neuropsychological assessment and allied health therapy assessments
  • recommended applying again once those assessments were done

The advocate and Marta’s GP worked together to:

  • arrange for Marta to join a hospital Community Therapy Service, where she benefited from hydrotherapy as well as getting additional assessments
  • obtain a neuropsychological assessment at no cost
  • apply for the NDIS with the assistance of the Community Therapy Service

Marta lodged a new application for the DSP with the additional reports, and has had her initial planning meeting with the NDIS.

The indications from the planning meeting is that Marta will be able to get further support from the NDIS, two pairs of boots per year, transport funding and home modifications. She has previously paid for these herself. It’s also likely she will have support coordination included in her package

We’re hopeful that Marta’s life will be significantly improved.