Seniors who receive a carer’s payment or disability support pension are reportedly being denied $250 in funding under the Nationals’ signature Regional Seniors Transport Card.
In what appears to be another major issue with the card, only seniors in receipt of the Aged Pension are able to apply, leaving some of the neediest and most vulnerable seniors in regional communities without access to the $250 scheme.
Labor Shadow Minister for Seniors and the Cost of Living, Jo Haylen said: “It is simply unacceptable that seniors on the disability support pension aren’t eligible for the scheme. So many people are missing out, this just isn’t the same card the Nationals’ promised during the election.”
Labor Shadow Minister for Disability Inclusion, Penny Sharpe added: “These are the most vulnerable people in the State and they are right to be furious that the Nationals’ don’t think they deserve this support.”
It was also revealed that DVA Gold card holders are excluded from the program, including former prisoners of war, World War 2 veterans and permanently disabled veterans.
The card was released later than promised, has to be applied for online, and is critically underfunded by $135 million over three years, meaning that over half of eligible seniors may miss out. Entire communities in the Blue Mountains, Hunter and Central Coast and Illawarra are missing out because they are deemed to be in “metropolitan” regions.
“Seniors with disability face extraordinary barriers to getting around, especially when they live in the bush,” Penny Sharpe said, “It’s frankly disgusting that the Nationals would leave them behind.”
Labor Shadow Minister for Better Public Services, Sophie Cotsis said: “We’re hearing stories of seniors with disability being turned away from Service NSW centres empty handed after travelling long distances to apply for the card. It’s not good enough.
“Remember that some of these seniors are living in bushfire and drought affected communities. The last thing they need is to be told they don’t count.”
“The Deputy Premier must explain why seniors with disability aren’t able to access these scheme, and why he thinks carers shouldn’t be able to apply, too,” Ms Haylen added.
“This is what happens when the Nationals’ try to legislate an election rort. The list of seniors in our regions who aren’t eligible for the $250 card is getting longer than the list of those who are.”