Disabled may lose benefits if fast legal action not taken

PEOPLE who become disabled through an injury may lose their benefits under the National Disability Insurance Scheme, if they don't take legal action soon after becoming disabled.

After bills for the NDIS passed the Senate last week, the Australians Lawyers Alliance remains concerned about detailed clauses in the bill that were not changed before it was passed.

ALA national president Tony Kerin said on Sunday while the Act was a great step forward for people with a disability, there were still problems with the laws which had not been rectified.

He said the legislation, as it stands, could force the very people it was designed to protect into legal action in a specified time frame or these people would run the risk of having their benefits removed.

"This clause fails to consider that a participant may not be psychologically or ready to take such action," Mr Kerin said.

"Lack of clarity about review processes, long-term scheme sustainability and the right to an advocate and funding of that advocacy service are some of the issues that also remain unresolved," he said.

Mr Kerin said he hoped the legal issues, which could put some disabled people at further disadvantage, would be rectified under rules created as part of the laws.

But he said it would have been better if the legal problem was actually corrected in the laws, rather than in regulations of rules to come later.

"Having said that, we have to work with what we have and look forward to commenting on all of the Rules, some of which are yet to be made available for comment," he said.

The issues raised by the ALA also follow previous technical problems with the bill, which could have seen disabled people forced off the scheme when they turned 65.

But those problems were averted when Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin made changes to the bill two weeks.

Those changes also included a clause to ensure all of Australia's international obligations on the treatment of disabled people were met through the new laws.

The NDIS will initially only be rolled out in launch areas in South Australia, New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory.

It is understood the Federal Government was still waiting for the Queensland Government to come on board with the complete scheme, once the scheme rolls out nationally.