Access to low cost assistive technology can be crucial for many who experience disability. Whether it’s an iPad, headless headphones, or a smartwatch.
Technology can help someone access healthcare, perform essential daily tasks, and boost quality of life.
The NDIS does, in some cases, cover funding for assistive technology. But it’s important to know that tech items and other consumables will only be covered in specific circumstances.
Here, we’re covering what is and isn’t covered to help avoid the confusion.
What is low cost assistive technology?
Low cost assistive technology includes a range of different items, products, software programs, and equipment. These products are used by those who experience disability to maintain, increase, or improve functional and accessible capabilities.
Low cost assistive technology can be beneficial for a range of reasons. It may also reduce the need for formal health and support services, long-term care, and the work of caregivers.
What’s covered as low cost assistive technology?
There is a large range of items that might be considered low cost assistive technology. Some examples include:
- iPads: to gain remote access to healthcare services, tablets and iPads can provide a useful way to connect.
- Smartwatches: watches with smart abilities have features that can make some daily activities more manageable. These include features like GPS, fall detection, and heart rate monitoring.
- Headphones: noise-cancelling headphones can be useful for people who experience auditory challenges by blocking out distracting background noise and helping reduce sensory overload.
- Smart-home accessories: some smart-home devices can also assist with daily living––whether it’s assistance turning on the lights, making calls, or locking the doors.
- Apps: many apps provide a range of disability-related services. These include text-to-speech, communication, and healthcare apps.
For a complete list of items that may be covered, view the NDIS Assistive Technology and Consumables Guide.
What is and isn’t covered by the NDIS?
While many items may be useful, it’s important to keep in mind that not all assistive technology is covered by the NDIS.
To see whether an item should be covered, it’s necessary to apply the ‘reasonable and necessary’ test.
Generally speaking, an item may be covered when the assistive technology is:
- Appropriate for the participant’s needs
- Is safe for the participant to use and meets Australia’s safety standards
- Will work in all the places needed to use it
- Will help the participant do all the things they need it to
- If the equipment costs less than $1500 and can be bought off-the-shelf, then the NDIS typically considers it to be low-cost assistive technology. This falls under the Core support category Consumables, which can be purchased using Core funding.
- However, if the item costs more than $1500, it’s regarded as NDIS assistive technology, which is a Capital support.
How to gain access to assistive technology
If you’d like the NDIS to cover assistive technology in your plan, the NDIS needs to understand how the item will help you pursue your goals. Like all supports, your goals dictate what is and isn’t appropriate.
Depending on the technology being requested, an additional assessment or a recommendation letter from your service provider may be required––especially for items that cost more than $750.
The most essential thing to keep in mind is: all supports must relate to a disability and to the goals in the NDIS plan.
We’re here to help
Have a question about assistive technology? We’re on hand to offer assistance.
Contact us on 1300 60 33 89 or at [email protected] and we can help.