St Marys couple seek early access to NDIS for son with disability

DESPERATE: Beverly Rubenach, pictured with her daughter Esther Rubenach Beveridge, is lobbying for early access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme for her son. Picture: Tamara McDonald

DESPERATE: Beverly Rubenach, pictured with her daughter Esther Rubenach Beveridge, is lobbying for early access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme for her son. Picture: Tamara McDonald

A St Marys couple who have cared for their son for 30 years are pleading for accelerated access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Beverly and Peter Rubenach are 68 and 70 years old respectively, and have cared for their son, Tim, since he was just a baby.

They continue to care for Tim full-time. 

Tim has had an acquired brain injury since he was an infant, and lives with epilepsy.

He requires constant supervision and two carers, but Mrs Ruben recently broke her leg.

Due to her immobility, her two adults daughters have had to contribute to Tim’s care. 

One, Esther, took carers’ leave from a job on King Island to help her family.

Mr and Mrs Rubenach are asking to be granted early access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Mrs Rubenach said she hoped the scheme would provide the family access to one full-time carer, and possibly a part-time carer too. 

Tim will not receive NDIS services until 2018 due to the state roll out, which hinges eligibility on the recipient’s age. 

A National Disability Insurance Agency spokesman said a person could not legally be accepted into the NDIS outside the agreed phasing schedule. 

“The phasing schedule has been agreed between the states, territories and federal government,” the spokesman said. 

“Emergency circumstances prior to NDIS availability remain with the state or territory,” he said.  

Mrs Rubenach said the family had begun seeking support prior to her injury. 

She said the couple were seeking security as they grew older. 

Mrs Rubenach said the family currently received 33 hours of care a week for Tim through the state government.

But she said due to Tim needing two carers, and care including travel time to St Marys, it did not suffice and the family was seeking further support. 

She said the family had discussed Tim going into respite care with the government, but did not think it was viable.

"He needs 24 hour a day, one on one, you can't leave him even for two seconds," Mrs Rubenach said. 

Human Services Minister Jacquie Petrusma said Disability and Community Services and other agencies were “working closely” with the Rubenach family, and were providing them additional support hours and “the offer of respite”. 

“State and federal government agencies, together with non-government organisations, are all involved in providing as much support as possible for Tim and his family,” Ms Petrusma said. 

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