COVID-19: For people with disability

Resources and informationfor people with disability, their family and carers.

Page last updated: 11:30am, 23 November 2020

  • Disability Information Helpline

    Contact the Disability Information Helpline on 1800 643 787.

    It is open Monday to Friday from 8:00am – 8:00pm.

    You can call it to get information and referrals for people with disability who need help because of coronavirus (COVID-19). It can help families, carers and support workers, too.

    It is free and private.

    There are other ways to access it if you are deaf, speak another language, or want to chat online.

    Visit the Australian Government Department of Social Services website for more information.

    When could you call the hotline? Here are some examples:

    • If you feel alone, confused or worried about coronavirus
    • If your support worker has not arrived
    • If your provider has stopped their services
    • If it is difficult for you to get food, medicine or other items you need
  • Resources about coronavirus (COVID-19)

    These resources will help you understand and protect yourself from COVID-19:

  • Do you have COVID-19?

    Symptoms of COVID-19

    If you think you have COVID-19, you can check your symptoms on the healthdirect website.

    If you have any symptoms, you must get a COVID-19 test.

    This Easy Read guide from the Council for Intellectual Disability contains information about what to do if you think you have coronavirus.

    How to get tested for COVID-19

    There are many different places you can go to get a COVID-19 test. This Easy Read guide includes everything you need to know. More information on where to get tested in the North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network region is available here.

    If you have one or more symptoms, but your disability makes it hard for you get to a testing site, a nurse may be able to come and test you at home. This is called the Call-to-Test service.

    Information about the Call-to-Test service is available on the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services website. Easy Read information is also available here.

    To request a COVID-19 test at your home, you can call 1800 675 398 and select Option 9.

    Or you can call the Disability Information Helpline on 1800 643 787 and explain that you need someone to test you at home.

  • Information about face masks

    If you live in Victoria and you have a disability, the Victorian government says you can get two free face masks. This Easy Read guide has more information.

    Do you have to wear a mask?

    The Australian Government made this Easy Read guide with more information on who has to wear a mask.

    Your support worker must wear a mask and eye protection when they come to your home. More information is available in the Frequently asked questions for people with disability and their support workers (.docx).

    If your support worker is not wearing a mask and eye protection, please ask them to wear these before entering your home.

    When your support worker visits you inside your home, you don’t have to wear a mask, but you can if you want to.

  • How to get your medicine delivered to you at home

    If you need medicine but have trouble leaving home, you can organise to have it delivered to your home.

    Call your pharmacy and ask:

    • if they deliver medicine
    • if you need to pay extra for delivery (it may depend on what medicines you are getting delivered, and whether you have a concession card)
    • how long it will take to arrive

    The pharmacy will need a prescription before they can prepare your medicine.

    You can ask your GP to send a digital prescription to your pharmacy.

    If you have a paper prescription you can either post it to the pharmacy or get someone you know like a family member or a friend, to take it to the pharmacy.

  • If you need help getting groceries during COVID-19

    Coles and Woolworths have started a Priority Assistance service for some people, including people with disability. You can ask them to deliver your groceries to your home. More information:

  • You should still get normal services from your support workers

    It is important that you still get your support services during the coronavirus pandemic. Your disability support worker is an ‘essential service’. This means that they must still provide services to you during the pandemic.

    Your support worker can still come to your house. They must wear a face mask and eye protection when they visit you. This is to protect both of you from coronavirus. When they visit you inside your home you don’t have to wear a mask, but you can if you want to. If you are feeling scared or nervous about this, you and your support worker should talk about this and how you can find ways to be more comfortable.

    If you have trouble hearing, and you need to see someone’s lips to understand them, they can take off their mask, but they must stand 1.5 metres away from you.

    If your support worker is not wearing a mask and eye protection, please ask them to wear these.

    If your support worker calls in sick, the company they work for needs to send another person so that you can get your normal support.

    If you get sick with coronavirus, your support worker should still come to help you at home. They may wear a special mask called a P2/N95 respirator to give them extra protection.

    There is more information for you and your support workers about wearing masks in the Frequently asked questions for people with disability and their support workers (.docx).

    Are you having a problem with your support services?

    Coronavirus has changed the way people with disability get their usual support and services. These services are still important. If you are unhappy with your services, you should tell someone. Here is some Easy Read information about who you can call.

    You can also lodge a complaint:

    • If your support is part of an NDIS plan you can complain to the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. Call 1800 035 544 or go to ndiscommission.gov.au
    • You can complain about any disability worker to the Victorian Disability Worker Commission. Call 1800 497 132 or provide information online.
  • You should still get your normal health checks from your GP, nurse and specialists

    It is important that you still get the health services you need during coronavirus, like seeing your GP, or seeing a specialist. They are ‘essential services’. This means they must still provide services to you during the pandemic. You should still see your health worker for all your normal check-ups.

    Your GP might see you in person, or talk to you on the telephone, or talk to you on a computer with video.  If one of these ways is easier for you, tell your GP when you make your appointment. They might be able to see you in the way you prefer.

    If you see a health worker in person, they must be wearing a face mask and eye protection. You must also wear a face mask.

  • Your rights during COVID-19

    The Australian Human Rights Commission has written some guidelines for health workers to protect the rights of people with disability. This information is available in an Easy Read guide.

  • National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

    If you have an NDIS plan, but your support needs have changed during the coronavirus pandemic, you can ask for a review of your plan.

    If you live in the north western Melbourne region, contact the Brotherhood of St Laurence. They help people access and use the NDIS in your area. The Early Child Early Intervention Coordinator helps children under seven years old and the Local Area Coordinator helps people over seven years old (Local Area Coordinator).

    Visit the Brotherhood of St Laurence website for more information and contact details.

  • Psychosocial Support Services

    Psychosocial Support Services provide functional support to people with severe mental illness who are ineligible for NDIS services. They can assist people to participate in their community, manage daily tasks, get a secure job and a house, and connect with family and friends.

    Your GP, another health worker, your friends or family can refer you to the service. You can refer yourself to the service. More information on how to access these services is available on our COVID-19 support for disability care page.

  • Are you safe at home from domestic violence and neglect?

    Some people, including people with disability, have a higher risk of domestic and family violence. This can include physical violence, sexual violence, and emotional violence. It also includes neglect. Neglect is where you don’t get the things you need to live a safe, comfortable, healthy life – like healthy food, medicine or help to go to the toilet. Nobody deserves neglect or violence.

    The Victorian Government has made Easy Read information about family violence and how to get support during COVID-19.

    1800RESPECT has made information about violence and your rights to be safe from violence:

    If you do not feel safe, or if someone is doing violence to you, or you want information, you can ask someone for help:

    1800RESPECT is a service available 24 hours a day:

    You can call Safe Steps 24 hours a day – it is for women and children who need help:

    The Better Health Channel has more information on where to go for help if you are experiencing violence, abuse or neglect.

    Relationships Australia Victoria has information on disability counselling and support for people who have experienced violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation, and those affected by the Disability Royal Commission.

  • Information about respite supports and services for families and carers of people with disability

    Respite supports and services aim to support people with a disability, their families and carers, to maintain positive family and carer relationships. Respite offers carers a chance to have a short break from their regular role. More information is available on the Better Health Channel website.

  • Other helpful sites for COVID-19 information

    ideas.org.au provides access to information and opportunities for people with disabilities. Their COVID-19 page provides both national and state-based information about everything to do with COVID-19 and disability including health, financial, social and education information.