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Content Warning: These stories are about violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation and may include references to suicide or self-harming behaviours. They may contain graphic descriptions and strong language and may be distressing. Some narratives may be about First Nations people who have passed away. If you need support, please see Contact & support.

‘I’ve really learnt what support coordination isn’t, rather than what it should be.’

Maura is in her 60s and lives with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety.

‘I would not be still here if it wasn’t for the NDIS,’ Maura told the Royal Commission. ‘It keeps me alive.’

The NDIS has supported Maura for several years, but she said it’s also causing ‘additional challenges’ to her mental health.

‘I've gone through with a lot of people being assigned to support me that don’t have any understanding of mental health.’

Maura said none of her support coordinators are qualified.

‘[What] I'm finding really challenging is people that are out there that are hanging up a shingle that say that they’ve got support coordination, but they might have a certificate four in aged care or something like that.’

One of her support coordinators had 80 clients and worked only three days a week.

‘It’s not possible for her to support that many people. So the support just wasn’t there.’

Maura complained and was given another support coordinator.

‘She wasn’t over-promising and underdelivering. She was promising and not delivering!’

Another support coordinator insisted she use a cleaning service run by an NDIS service provider owned by a close family member.

‘When the cleaners would come they’d be complaining about, you know, the owner spending money and buying new BMWs and not paying their super. And I thought, I just can’t deal with this anymore, you know? Like the cleaning’s not great anyway.’

Maura said another support coordinator with no appropriate qualifications ended up ‘making a lot of money’ from her NDIS plan.

‘She’s looking at things she wants to do and then convinces me to do them when it was that you got paid travel. Like when I asked to find me [a therapist], she found one in [another city] so that she could … visit her family … so she was making sometimes $5,000 on a trip.’

Maura lives on a Disability Support Pension. One day, the support coordinator encouraged Maura to take her and her daughter to dinner.

‘Her daughter wanted to have dessert. She said, like, “[Maura’s] paying for this.” And I'm thinking … “Like, why am I paying out of my plan for all of this?”’

Maura later discovered that the ‘support coordination’ consumed half her NDIS funding.

‘She literally reduced my plan by half … you know, it’s really hard for me to get that this is a reality. I have been abused.’

Maura changed support coordinators again, but has discovered that some of her new support workers are also relatives of the coordinator.

‘You're seeing a pattern, so the story’s bigger than my story.’

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Disclaimer: This is the story of a person who shared their personal experience with the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability through a submission or private session. The names in this story are pseudonyms. The person who shared this experience was not a witness and their account is not evidence. They did not take an oath or affirmation before providing the story. Nothing in this story constitutes a finding of the Royal Commission. Any views expressed are those of the person who shared their experience, not of the Royal Commission.