Claiming smart devices using you NDIS funding can be TOUGH! There are very specific eligibility requirements and processes that need to be adhered to because the NDIS consider smart devices to be an everyday item. That being said, it is still possible to claim under the NDIS. Find out if you meet the eligibility requirements and our top tips on claiming smart devices.
How does NDIS funding work for smart devices
NDIS funding for smart devices, such as tablets or iPads, works in the same way as most other NDIS supports and services – you need to show that you need the smart device because of your disability and that it ticks the NDIS boxes when it comes to reasonable and necessary.
Top Tip #1: Determine if it’s necessary
When you’re trying to figure out if something is reasonable and necessary, you should consider:
Do you need the smart device to access support services (i.e., online sessions)?
Has your provider recommended getting a smart device?
Do you need the device specifically because of your disability?
Do you already own or have access to a smart device that could be used for the intended purpose?
Is it value for money?
The last question is an important one, as the NDIS typically won’t fund the most expensive or fancy smart device, but instead they may fund a device that allows you to access the supports you need.
If the smart device costs less than $600 it may be considered reasonable. If it costs more than $600, you will need to provide further evidence including specifying what feature the higher cost device has that is necessary due to your disability.
Where does the funding come from?
If it has been determined that a smart device is reasonable and necessary, the next step is to determine if you have funding available.
Top Tip #2: Talk with your Plan Manager
To claim a smart device, you will need to use funding from your core budget, your consumables budget, or your capacity building budget underline item 15_222400911_0124_1_3 Low-Cost AT. However, it is important that you use funding that is available and not needed for other supports. This is where your plan manager can help. They can work with you to determine what your current support costs are in your core budget, consumables budget and capacity building budget, and where there is funding available to make your claim. By doing this, you can ensure that you reduce the risk of impacting other necessary supports with your purchase.
To claim a smart device using your NDIS funding, you will need a letter from an assistive technology advisor such as a therapist confirming the support is necessary and to send this letter to the NDIA, then you will need to purchase the item. Keep in mind that having a letter of recommendation does not necessarily mean that the NDIS will determine that a smart device is reasonable and necessary
Top Tip #3: How your plan is managed can make a difference
If you are plan managed or self-managed, providers don’t need to be registered with the NDIA for you to access their supports or services. Which means, it is easier to purchase smart devices through “big box” electronic stores.
If you are agency managed, you only have access to NDIA registered providers, which pretty much excludes “big box” stores. However, you may be able to find a store registered with the NDIA or purchase through your support coordinator if you have one.
Case Study #1: Unsuccessful Claim
Tamsin’s therapist has recommended several apps to help her manage her disability, and her therapist has provided a letter of recommendation to share with the NDIA.
Will the NDIA approve her claim for a tablet?
No. The reason the NDIA wouldn’t approve this claim is because most smart devices and computers are considered an everyday item for all Australians. Essentially this is considered a day-to-day living cost which typically isn’t funded under the NDIS.
However, if the apps that the therapist has recommended are necessary in helping Tamsin manage her disability and there are costs involved with the apps, the NDIS may fund the purchase of the apps.
Case Study #2: Successful Claim
Lexie’s speech pathologist has recommended she use a tablet as her main form of communication. Her speech pathologist provides written evidence indicating that this is the most appropriate solution for her communication needs.
Will the NDIA approve Lexie's claim for a tablet?
Although a tablet is considered an everyday device, in Lexie’s case, this would be her main form of communication and would be considered reasonable and necessary. This NDIS are likely to approve this claim.
For more details on claiming smart devices under the NDIS, click here.
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