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Assistive Technology… Will the NDIS Fund it?

At times, it can feel a little overwhelming navigating the intricacies of the NDIS. Especially when it comes to knowing whether you can use your funding on specific items. To help you understand what types of assistive technology the NDIS can fund, we’ve pulled together case study examples based on some of the most common categories that participant’s ask about.

Young woman with hearing impairment using assistive technology

What does the NDIS fund?

When it comes to the NDIS, funding is provided if the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) consider it to be reasonable and necessary. If you’re unfamiliar with reasonable and necessary under the NDIS, funding, support or assistive technology are typically categorised as reasonable and necessary if it:

  • Relates to your disability needs

  • Helps your individual goals and aspirations

  • Helps you social/economic participation

  • Is value for money

  • Is effective and beneficial for you

  • Helps to maintain your informal supports

  • Is the responsibility of the NDIS to fund

The NDIS won’t provide funding if any harm will come to you or other, it is not related to your disability, it provides the same benefit as another support already funded in your plan or it relates to a day-to-day living cost such as rent, groceries, or utility costs that are not related to your disability.

Case Study: Vehicles and Vehicle Modifications

Having a vehicle can be a great way to increase independence. However, it depends on your circumstances as to whether the NDIS can fund this support.

An example where funding won’t be approved:

Sue would like to buy a vehicle to increase her independence and requests funding for this in her NDIS plan.

Why the NDIS won’t fund this:

The NDIS won’t fund this because a vehicle is considered a day-to-day living cost outside of Sue’s disability. For the NDIS to fund a vehicle or modifications, the cost needs to relate specifically to your disability.

An example where funding would be approved:

Anna would like a vehicle to increase her independence. She would like to modify a vehicle to suit her disability related needs.

Why the NDIS would fund this:

The NDIS can approve modifications to a vehicle as long as the modifications are considered to be value for money. Another option to ensure value for money, would be for Anna to purchase a vehicle that has already been modified to suit her needs. The NDIS may fund the pre-existing modifications at a rate equal to their depreciated value.

For more information on this case study, click here.

Case Study: Wheelchair Modifications

Wheelchair modification will typically be funding by the NDIS as long as evidence is provided to show this is reasonable and necessary. This NDIA will look out for a number of supporting criteria as evidence. They may ask:

  • Why you need the wheelchair modification

  • How it relates to your disability support needs

  • If the modification can be properly installed and safely operated

  • How the modification is value for money

  • How the modifications are effective and beneficial in assisting you to live your life as independently as possible

  • How the modifications can help you to participate in social and economic activities

An example where funding won’t be approved:

Dan would like to purchase a particular model and design of wheelchair with extra features.

Why the NDIS won’t fund this:

The NDIS typically won’t fund extra items that are not considered reasonable and necessary, such as particular brands or models or specialty features that don’t relate to your disability.

An example where funding would be approved:

Gemma needs a power assist system added to her wheelchair to allow her to travel medium/long distances, increasing her independence and mobility.

Why the NDIS would fund this:

As long as Gemma can provide evidence, such as a report from an occupational therapist, and the modification is considered appropriate, value for money and relates to her disability needs, the NDIS will likely fund this support.

For more information on this case study, click here.

Case Study: Smart Devices

Although having smart devices like an iPad or tablet can be super convenient to have in your life, the NDIS doesn’t usually fund them.

An example where funding won’t be approved:

Devon would like to purchase an iPad so he can access the apps that his therapist has recommended for him.

Why the NDIS won’t fund this:

The NDIS usually won’t fund smart devices as they are considered a day-to-day cost or general household item and something that is available for people with and without a disability. Even if your disability means you may benefit from the help of a smart device, they are unlikely to be considered as an extra living cost essential to your disability needs.

An example where funding would be approved:

Natalie uses an alternative communication device as her only way to communicate and is in need of a tablet to interact with those around her.

Why the NDIS would fund this:

If the device is essential to your disability, then the NDIS may fund it as long as it is considered to be value for money.

There are some circumstances where the NDIS may fund general household items as long as evidence can be provided to show that the cost of a smart devices is an extra cost that is a direct result of your disability. Things like screen readers or other specialty software may also be funded.

For more information on this case study, click here.

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