Services for people with disabilities

Advocacy for people with disabilities

Our service is for all people with disabilities:

  • intellectual
  • physical
  • psychiatric
  • sensory
  • cognitive

Much of our advocacy work involves specialist disability services such as:

  • supported employment
  • supported accommodation
  • respite
  • day programs
  • equipment
  • service coordination

We provide service to people in the greatest need. Priority is given to issues which most affect quality of life.

For more information about disability advocacy, view the video below, prepared by the Australian Government's National Disability Advocacy Program (the video can also be navigated in chapters on YouTube).

NDIA and Independent Advocacy

Advocacy Tasmania has a role to play in the national disability insurance scheme (NDIS) by ensuring that people with a disability receive fair treatment in their dealings with National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). We also aim to ensure that NDIA participants are treated fairly by service providers who are funded by NDIA to provide support services.

The role of advocacy is included in the NDIS ACT 2013, which states:

(13) The role of advocacy in representing the interests of people with disability is to be acknowledged and respected, recognising that advocacy supports people with disability by:

  • promoting their independence and social and economic participation; and
  • promoting choice and control in the pursuit of their goals and the planning and delivery of their supports; and
  • maximising independent lifestyles of people with disability and their full inclusion in the mainstream community.

(NDIS Act 2013, Part 2, 4, General principles guiding actions under this Act)

If you have a problem with NDIA there are actions you can take to resolve the problem. You can visit the NDIA feedback, complaints and review page here. An advocate may be able to assist you with some of these actions.

If you think you need assistance simply call Advocacy Tasmania on 1800 005 131 and talk about your issue with an advocate. We also accept referrals from anyone who works for a service or is a professional in the field on 6224 2240.

External Merits Review of NDIA Decisions

Advocacy Tasmania also has a specialist role in relation to NDIA decisions. We employ an External Merits Review (EMR) Support Officer to assist people who wish to challenge NDIA decisions in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). The External Merits Review brochure can be found in the disability section of our publications page.

The AAT has power to examine a wide range of decisions by NDIA, including who is able to participate in the NDIS and what types of support are provided to NDIS participants. You can visit the AAT website here.

Remember an application to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal must be made within 28 days after you receive the decision from NDIA. The AAT may allow a longer period in special circumstances.

The Advocacy Tasmania External Merits Review (EMR) Support Officer's job is to:

  • Assist applicants to navigate the process of seeking an Administrative Appeals Tribunal review of NDIA decisions, including preparing documents, attending conferences and hearings
  • Assist applicants to self-advocate where possible, or provide individual advocacy support, developing and implementing an individual plan in partnership with the applicant
  • Ensure a referral to the Central Assessment Provider ( a specialist legal advisor) where legal issues are highlighted for a determination as to whether legal services will be provided (for complex or novel legal cases)
  • Provide public information about the availability and role of the support person
  • Assist in the development of skills in self-advocacy by conducting individual or group sessions

If you think you need assistance simply call Advocacy Tasmania on 1800 005 131 and talk about your issue with the EMR Support Officer. We also accept referrals, on 6224 2240, from anyone who works for a service or is a professional in the field.

Applicants to the AAT may choose to use friends, family, carers, lawyers, disability advocates, or support workers from other agencies as a supporter at the AAT. The EMR Support Officer at Advocacy Tasmania may have a role in advising the applicant's chosen supporter. An example of this is a disability advocate at an agency (without an EMR Support Officer) who may have helped a person through the NDIA internal review process. The person may wish to appeal to the AAT and they have a choice about the way they get support in doing this.

The main options for support are likely to be:

  • Directly contacting the EMR Support Officer for assistance with the AAT appeal
  • Staying with the original disability advocate to support them in the AAT (with the option of getting advice from the EMR Support Officer)

Funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

Supported by Tasmania's Department of Health and Human Services, Disability Services.