Disability Rights

Advocacy Service Inc

The voice of our clients is at the core of all our services.

General Advocacy  |  Centrelink Appeals  |  Systemic Advocacy

Disability Rights Advocacy Service is part of the national network of disability advocacy organisations funded by the Australian Government.

GENERAL ADVOCACY

NDAP Individual Advocacy – including Centrelink appeals

 

Our individual advocacy program representing people on a one-to-one basis to resolve their individual concerns.

Our advocates will work with a person who has a disability, their family, guardian and/or significant associate in a way that supports their wishes in resolving issues.

Our advocates never take over and make decisions for a person with a disability or decide what’s ‘best’ for them.

They will not convince people with a disability that they should ‘make do’ with less than a person who does not have a disability.

They don’t pretend problems don’t exist and they encourage and support people with a disability to do be empowered; to do what they can for themselves.

The voice of our clients is at the core of all our services.

This may involve advice about how to advocate for yourself or representing you via a phone call, a letter or support through legal proceedings such as tribunals and SACAT (SA Civil and Administrative Tribunal) hearings where appropriate. DRAS advocates provide the expertise to support people with a disability to attain their rights and to have a voice in decisions that affect their life.

Other issues our advocates can help with include:

  • Education and schooling

  • Housing 

  • Equipment

  • Support services

  • Access to premises and programs

  • Unfair treatment by businesses

  • Centrelink matters

Eligibility for Individual Advocacy

 

  • You must have a disability.

  • You must live in South Australia in one of our service regions of Adelaide metropolitan area, Adelaide Hills and Murray Bridge, or South East SA and Coorong or Riverland.

  • You must have experienced discrimination, abuse or neglect.

Individual Advocacy Video

AN EXAMPLE OF OUR WORK

Shaun was a Housing SA tenant with Autism who suffered crippling anxiety attacks.  He had previously had a cat which helped calm him when he felt his control slipping. Our advocate worked with him to apply for an exemption to the no-pets rule for his apartment complex so he could move his cat in with him. Shaun and Monty the cat live happily and Shaun is able to go about his life with far fewer ‘meltdowns’.“I can’t imagine how I would cope with life without Monty and I can’t thank DRAS enough with helping me get permission to have him with me.”

CENTRELINK APPEALS

DRAS supports a lot of people to appeal decisions by Centrelink to refuse to pay them the Disability Support Pension. Our advocates cannot do applications for Centrelink payments for you. But we are happy to help you appeal any decisions you think are incorrect or unfair.

If you have applied and been refused, as soon as possible, you should write on the letter you have received ‘I request a review of this rejection by an authorised review officer’. You need to sign it, date it and take a copy for yourself. Then take the letter to a Centrelink office and lodge it there. Make sure they give you a receipt for the letter or stamp the copy you have made for yourself. Or you can contact us and we will send you a form.

If and when you receive another letter telling you that the decision has been refused, contact DRAS and we will assign someone to help you appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).  More information can be found on our fact sheet about Applying for the DSP and Centrelink and the AAT.

COMMENTS ABOUT OUR WORK

“Anyone dealing with the bureaucracy when making an application for the DSP is simply overwhelmed by the complexity of the system. My DRAS advocate helped me deal with that.”

SYSTEMIC ADVOCACY

Systemic Advocacy aims to identify, challenge and change policies, legislation and structures that negatively impact upon people with disabilities.

Systemic Advocacy offers: 

  • Identification of issues that may impact on the rights and opportunities of more than one individual.

  • Promotion of changes to policies and practices of government departments and other services to ensure that people with a disability do not experience discrimination and disadvantage.

  • Action to enhance services offered to people with a disability and their carers and that such services are person-centred.

 

Systemic Advocacy Program Activities

Most of the systems issues undertaken by Disability Rights Advocacy Service start in its Individual Advocacy Program, as well as other sources.

 

A systemic approach is taken when an issue affects more than one person. This will ensure that the problem is resolved and that many people who may never access advocacy services benefit from the systemic advocacy action.

 

DRAS works with people to identify problems that affect many people with a disability. We work strategically to make changes that benefit the entire community.  

We do this by representing our members’ interests on various committees and boards that have the power to change the lives of people with disabilities for the better. We also take up single causes and lobby for change to legislation and policies.

 

If you believe you know of an issue or policy that creates a barrier or discriminates against people with a disability and/or their families we encourage you to contact DRAS by email or on 8351 9500 so we can work with you to draft a plan for change.

 

Or you could look out for our regional focus groups (we will post times and dates to Facebook) and our self advocacy community groups (call us on 8351 9500 or 0475 751 131 for details)

Systemic Advocacy Video

EXAMPLES OF OUR WORK

DRAS worked with the Attorney General to have laws changed to include protections for support animals in rental and strata title properties.

CONTACT US

HEAD OFFICE

Phone:  08 8351 9500

Fax:  08 8152 0396

Email:  admin@dras.com.au

Open:  9am - 5pm, Monday - Friday

 

4/80 Henley Beach Road (Dew St),
Mile End, SA 5031

PO Box 742, Torrensville SA 5031

Our advocates will travel to you where possible

RIVERLAND

Phone:  08 8582 2422

Email:  mbiram@dras.com.au

Meetings by appointment only

2A Ahern Street, Berri SA 5343

PO Box 1210868, Berri SA 5343

SOUTH EAST

Phone: 0427 236 002

Email: admin@dras.com.au

Open: 9am - 5pm, Monday - Wednesday                9am - 1pm, Thursday

Gramac Solutions, 1A Hedley Street

Mt Gambier SA 5290

PO Box 1210, Mt Gambier SA 5290

DRAS acknowledges the traditional custodians of this land and pays respect to Elders, past and present.

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The development of this website was funded in part by the National Disability Insurance Agency’s through and Individual Capacity Building grant.