HELP: Jackson Seminara with his mother, Bianca, need a new van to accommodate Jackson's powered-wheelchair.
HELP: Jackson Seminara with his mother, Bianca, need a new van to accommodate Jackson's powered-wheelchair. Scott Powick

A hefty price for comfort

WHEN Jackson Seminara sprained his ankle as a 10-year-old, he and his family could not have predicted the hardship that would follow.

The injury kick-started his juvenile arthritis which, during the past four years has left the Tweed Heads South teenager in constant pain and confined to a wheelchair.

Jackson's bone structure has been compared to that of a 100-year-old, his joints are constantly inflamed and he has all-but lost the function of his upper and lower body.

After receiving help from he NDIS for a powered-wheelchair and gait trainer (walker), Jackson's family says more needs to be done for their son.

His mother, Bianca, said her family was going to be out of pocket by up to $60,000 because it needed to buy a new van, up to three years old, so the NDIS could pay for modifications to enable Jackson to get in and out.

"At the moment, because our income is limited to one disability pension - as we are full-time carers for Jackson - we are unable to finance the purchase of the vehicle we require," Mrs Seminara said.

"If we have a van which is three years or newer, NDIS will help with modifications.

"The issue we have is not having the available funds to purchase a vehicle which meets those requirements."

A NDIS spokeswoman said the organisation did not ordinarily buy vehicles for families who are part of the program.

"The NDIS generally does not fund everyday/household items which a person would normally be responsible for purchasing themselves such as household furniture, an iPad or a car," she said. "What the NDIS does fund, is the extra cost of adapting those items.

"In the case of vehicles, the NDIS does not fund the purchase of a car but may fund the cost of modifying the vehicle."

Mrs Seminara said she hoped the NDIS would modify its regulations and allow them to buy a second-hand vehicle which was more affordable.

In a show of bi-partisan support, federal MP Justine Elliot and state MP Geoff Provest have both told the Tweed Daily News they were willing to look into options to help Jackson.



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