Fifteen years ago Lara Irvine was travelling the world with her sister, tasting exotic foods in South-East Asia and, like most tourists in their early 20s, posing happily for photos with locals and landmarks.
Today, Ms Irvine is fed through a tube, her body being unable to digest the simplest of foods while her lungs function at 40 per cent capacity.
Despite this, she has fallen through the cracks of state and federal government programs, with her application to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) being rejected and her access to at-home care no longer funded by the Victorian Government.
“Your classification with other agencies doesn’t mean anything to the NDIS, so Centrelink classifies me as disabled, city council does,” she said.
“None of those things I ever had any trouble getting, and there’s a lot of hoops to jump through to get the disabled pension in the first place.”
Ms Irvine suffers from scleroderma, a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body produces too much collagen, preventing some organs from functioning properly and leaving the skin dry or hardened.
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