Boy in wheelbarrow while waiting for NDIS wheelchair
A NINE-year-old boy with cerebral palsy has to be pulled around in a wheelbarrow while his family faces a potential two-year fight with the National Disability Insurance Scheme for a motorised wheelchair.
Nobby's Angus Hopkins, a country boy who loves riding horses and has dreams of being a historian, has been waiting for a new wheelchair for nearly a year after outgrowing the previous one.
But despite hundreds of hours on the phone with the agency, mother Jody Ezzy said it could still be up to two years before it was approved.
"When they did the final assessment and we'd picked the chair and sent the quote through, I spoke to a woman (who) advised me that as soon as they received the quote, it would take a week to two weeks (to process)," she said.
"That was in early March. I kept ringing and ringing to find out where the application was.
"Finally, another lady told it was going to take months or up to two years."
She also said the NDIS reduced Angus' plan, while the family's local area coordinator Carers Queensland lost Angus' plan review application.
Finding Angus' old wheelchair too difficult or unsafe to push around on the uneven surface at the property, Ms Ezzy said she eventually put her son in a wheelbarrow to move him.
"This kid gets around in a wheelbarrow. He can't get up the ramps at school," she said.
"He can't stand up and the strength in his arms in uneven. Pushing himself in a wheelchair is fatiguing.
"It's just so hard to do everything and anything. Basically, that's how we get around on the farm."
Ms Ezzy said she was fed up with broken promises and lack of accountability for what had been a frustrating period for the family.
"It's the lack of transparency and changing of the goal posts that happens all the time (that's most frustrating)," Ms Ezzy said.
"The biggest issues have been the lack of transparency, the way we're made to feel we're demanding things and being unreasonable for wanting basic services.
"They keep promising things and then saying 'no' later on.
"Having to explain that to him and seeing his disappointment that he can't go to shows, get himself around at home, he can't go and get the mail (is terrible)."
The family's complaints come ahead of a massive royal commission into the disability sector, which is expected to look into the NDIS.
Toowoomba participants on the scheme have also reported losing funding from their plans and being denied certain services or pieces of equipment.
Ms Ezzy said apart from his disability, Angus was a regular boy who deserved some independence and self-reliance.
"He's a typical country kid - he has bronc riding lessons, he rolls in the dirt with his dog," she said.
"He's naughty, cheeky, opinionated - a normal nine-year-old country kid who just wants to do normal things within his abilities."
The National Disability Insurance Agency, which is responsible for the NDIS, said it would work with Angus' family.
"The required documentation for Angus' wheelchair was submitted to the NDIA in late March," a spokeswoman said.
"Where information, including assessments from an allied health professional, is provided it assists the NDIA with decisions about the type of supports included in a participant's plan, to ensure their suitability.
"The NDIA will continue to work closely with his family in their recent request for a new wheelchair, which is progressing."