Understanding assistive technology (AT) and capital supports NDIS

September 20, 2020

capital supports NDIS

Understanding assistive technology (AT) and the NDIS

The NDIS funding you receive within your plan differs for everyone and is determined by how your disability affects your life and what supports you need to reach your goals.

For many NDIS participants, assistive technology (AT) is required to help complete day-to-day activities, such as using a computer and traveling around within the community.

Funding for AT is allocated within your capital supports NDIS budget and can be accessed to purchase equipment required to help achieve your goals and enjoy a fulfilling life.

What is capital supports NDIS assistive technology?

Core, capital and capacity building NDIS are the three main categories that your funding is separated into. How much funding you receive for each category will vary depending on your individual circumstances and what supports are deemed reasonable and necessary for you. Each category contains line items for different types of supports that work in unique ways to help you achieve your goals.

Supports within your core budget could include funding to purchase low-cost equipment to assist with mobility or funds to pay for a support worker to help with cleaning your home.

Your capacity building budget is designed to build your self-sufficiency and confidence by teaching you the skills you need to live more independently.

Your capital supports NDIS budget is where funding is allocated for larger expenses such as modifications to your home and AT.

Capital support AT ranges from Level 1 (Basic Assistive Technology) such as non-slip bathmats up to Level 4 (Complex Assistive Technology) for custom-made wheelchairs and hearing aids. As the price difference between these levels can differ dramatically, certain AT requires you to obtain an assessment and multiple quotes prior to purchasing.

Here is a short guide to the levels for AT within your capital supports NDIS budget.

Level 1 – Basic Assistive Technology

This AT can be bought without the need for an assessment or any specialised assistance to set up. Low-cost items of less than $1,500 don’t require any quotes before purchase. Some of these items may include adapted grip equipment, mobility cranes or walking sticks and short-term supply of continence briefs.

Level 2 – Standard Assistive Technology

These items can usually be bought from an AT supplier with little assistance to set up. Assessments may be required for Standard AT depending on individual circumstances. Some of these items may include over-toilet frames, portable ramps, OCR reading machines and orthotic footwear.

Level 3 – Specialised Assistive Technology

Specialised AT is similar to Level 2 Standard AT however will require additional modification to suit each individual. An assessment and written quote is required to purchase this AT. Some of these items may include electronic Braille display, items for administering medication, adaptation of bathroom and kitchen fittings, pressure mattresses, power-assist wheelchairs and bath lifts.

Level 4 – Complex Assistive Technology

Complex AT is custom-made equipment that is specially made to suit your needs. You will need to work with an AT assessor to identify a suitable supplier and arrange an assessment before purchasing. Sometimes, multiple written quotes will also be required. Some of these items may include power wheelchairs with integrated controls, complex bathing devices including shower commodes, bed rails, cochlear implant speech processors, modifications to the structure of your home and electronic voice prostheses.

How to purchase AT

If you need more complex AT that requires an assessment, your allied health professional, dietician, psychologist or other specialised health professional may be able to complete the assessment for you. How you can purchase your approved AT will differ depending on how you are managing your NDIS funding.

Self-managed – If you manage your own NDIS funding, you will be required to source your own AT supplier and arrange for payment using your funds. You are able to access any AT provider you choose and are not limited to just NDIS registered providers. Ensure that you keep your records to make a claim with the NDIS as you would with any other support.

NDIA managed (agency-managed) – Your Local Area Coordination (LAC) or Support Coordinator can assist with sourcing an appropriate AT supplier for you. Similar to how your other supports are managed, you don’t need to keep track of your funds or pay suppliers. Speak to your LAC or Support Coordinator if you believe you need to purchase AT.

Plan managed – If your plan is managed by a third-party plan management agency, such as Disability Plan Services, they will look after everything on your behalf. Your Plan Manager will assist by sourcing the appropriate AT for your needs, find a suitable provider to purchase the equipment, engage with them on your behalf and negotiate the best rate, establish a service agreement (if required) and pay them utilising your NDIS funding.

If you are not happy with how your current Plan Manager is managing your funds, please contact the team at Disability Plan Services today for a confidential discussion.

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