How thousands of Queenslanders with disability could benefit from this service

Posted 2 weeks ago by Georgie Waters
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Some people with disability may benefit from financial guidance, while others may require a special disability trust to ensure funds are available for lifetime care. [Source: Shutterstock]
Some people with disability may benefit from financial guidance, while others may require a special disability trust to ensure funds are available for lifetime care. [Source: Shutterstock]

For people with disability, getting financial control might seem out of reach but with this service, it doesn’t have to be

Key points:

Around 4.4 million Australians live with disability, with over 30 percent living with severe or profound disability which is around 1.4 million Australians, according to the latest data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

To ensure the current and future care for a person with severe disability, a special disability trust may be created by the person’s family members, a legality that has been possible since September 2006, according to information on the Department of Social Services website. 

Getting the right support to establish an administrator or financial attorney can help people manage their financial situation, whether they live with disability or not. However, for some people with disability, having a special disability trust can ensure they get appropriate care for life while also reducing possible stress.

Experiencing financial stress was more than twice as likely for people living with disability compared to peers without disability, as per data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in 2021.

To assist with helping people with finances, the Queensland Public Trustee offers multiple services including enduring power of attorney, wills and financial support for people with disability.

If you qualify for a special disability trust and would like to find a suitable financial service, QPT can also assist with managing this for you.

As a client of QPT, you will have access to:

  • a public trust officer;
  • financial management plans;
  • payment of accounts and bills;
  • management of income and investments;
  • statements of account;
  • informed advice from a disability support worker.

Additionally, through its services, the QPT has helped many people with disability to manage their financial affairs. Approximately 80 customers are currently going through the Financial Independence Pathway, with 33 people having completed this already. 

The Financial Independence Pathway is ‘tailored to the goals and needs of each customer and there are regular reviews and evaluations of progress along the way.’

Director of Customer Experience at QPT Melanie Banner indicated the value of the Financial Independence Pathway for people who want to gain more financial control over their assets.

“[…] We also want to address a common misconception, that once someone is managed by the Public Trustee that it’s permanent. Our goal is to support our customers on their journey through life and ultimately to help them regain financial independence,” Ms Banner said.

“The Financial Independence Pathway is free for all our financially managed Public Trustee

customers.

“The Financial Independence Pathway can help provide evidence that our customers can successfully manage their finances independently,” she said.

Other ways for clients looking to gain greater financial control include possible referrals to a financial literacy and resilience service provider. 

However, for people seeking to gain or regain control over all their financial affairs, it is up to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal regarding financial independence decisions. 

In these cases, a Declaration of Capacity is required and must include medical documentation. However, for people who are interested in only managing some of the financial decisions, a Declaration of Capacity does not need to be completed. In either case, people with disability can engage in the Financial Independence Pathway which can take up to 12 months to complete.

Ms Banner highlighted that regardless of a client’s situation, they deserve to be supported when seeking services.

“The Queensland Public Trustee is, first and foremost, a human services organisation, dedicated to upholding the human rights of all Queenslanders,” she said.

The value of helping people with disability manage their financial affairs is highlighted through extensive research and studies. 

Almost nine percent of Australians with disability ‘went without meals due to a shortage of money,’ compared to less than three percent of their peers without disability, in the latest data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

In one study, researchers found that people with disability, such as intellectual disability, desire greater independence but they still require support from others. Increased happiness and life satisfaction have been noted by other researchers when independence is given to people with disability.

To get more information or to discuss your specific circumstances with QPT, you can call them on 1300 651 591 or visit the QPT website. 

 

Have you had a special disability trust? How does this impact your life?

Let the team at Talking Disability know on social media. 

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