Hearing Impaired Robbed of Smoke Alarm Subsidy

Article published 20 September 2018

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There is a glaring gap for people with hearing impairment over 65 trying to access smoke alarms.

These specialised alarm systems include a strobe light, pillow shaker and beeper.

You’d think that because smoke alarms must be installed in every home in NSW, that these specialised alarms wouldn’t be too difficult to access.

And they didn’t used to be.

Before 31 May 2017 these alarms cost just $20 through the NSW Smoke Alarm Subsidy Scheme. But overnight the price jumped 30 times to $600 for people over 65.

This is because when the responsibility for disability and aged care services shifted from NSW to the Commonwealth the NSW Smoke Alarm Subsidy Scheme ended. At the time the Commonwealth agreed to look after those over 65 in NSW.

It appears, however, that the Commonwealth isn’t holding up its end of the bargain. My Aged Care says that they don’t deal with these smoke alarms at all and even people on Home Care Packages (HCP) can’t use HCP funds to buy these smoke alarms.

So, if you have a hearing impairment and you can’t afford to install a smoke alarm and you are not in receipt of services through the NDIS or you are over 65 then you cannot get a subsidised smoke alarm. This buck passing must stop.

CPSA has written to the Australian Assistant Minister for Disability Services and Shadow Minister for Disability as well as the NSW Minister for Disability Services and the Shadow Minister for Disability. THE VOICE will keep you posted.

For more information please email our media contact at media@cpsa.org.au

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