People with disability are now able to access a dedicated Disability Information Helpline to access important information to help keep them safe and informed during COVID-19.
The Disability Information Helpline is a free and private service supported by the Federal Government and is available for people with disability, their families, carers, support workers and providers who need help because of COVID-19.
Jeff Smith, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of People With Disability Australia says that the information helpline is a critical part of the COVID-19 response for people with disability.
“We’ve advocated for specialist accessible and available information for people with disability, and welcome the implementation of the hotline.
“People with disability need access to a wide range of information sources in formats that work for us. The hotline is a critical part of the COVID-19 response to ensure people with disability stay safe and well.”
Mr Smith adds that from the very beginning of the COVID-19 crisis people with disability have been asking for accessible and up-to-date information about the virus.
The helpline can provide information, and refer people to advocacy, counselling and other supports that they need to help them through the COVID-19 crisis.
People with disability or those who need support are able to use the helpline to talk about their concerns in relation to COVID-19.
For example, people are able to call the helpline if their provider has stopped providing services or if it’s hard to get essential items like food or medication.
The Information Helpline is a part of the Federal Government’s COVID-19 response plan for people with a disability. A spokesperson for the Department of Social Services says, “The Morrison Government is providing a $90.7 million boost to support Australians with disability who are at risk amid the coronavirus outbreak to make sure necessary resources are directed to those who need it most.”
Other measures included in the Government’s response plan include:
Establishing guidelines to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 within shared residential and activity settings.
Collecting and sharing data and evidence about the spread of COVID-19 and its health impacts on people with disability.
Maintaining and preparing clinical care and public health management so that people with disability continue to have access to essential health care for non-COVID-19 related conditions.
Training to help people caring for people with disability protect themselves and the people they are caring for from infection.
The Disability Information Helpline can be contacted on 1800 643 787 Monday to Friday 8 am to 8 pm (Australian Eastern Standard Time) and Saturday and Sunday 9 am to 7 pm (Australian Eastern Standard Time). It’s not available on national public holidays.
You can visit our dedicated COVID-19 information page for the latest updates on how COVID-19 is impacting the disability sector.