Does the NDIS fund alternative therapies?

One question we’re often asked at myAutonomy is whether the NDIS funds alternative therapies.

There are many therapies these days –– things like hypnotherapy, reiki, float tanks, and infrared saunas –– and some people find benefits from them.

But do these types of things fall under NDIS funding? Let’s take a look.

Commonly acceptable therapies

While some therapies can be funded by the NDIS (depending on your personal plan) most alternative therapies are not covered.

The therapies that are most likely to be approved are evidence-based and commonly accepted.

Therapies are typically covered by the Improved Daily Living category and must be provided by a suitably qualified allied health professional.

But there are a range of professionals that are not considered eligible for this code. These include things like:

  • Hypnotherapists
  • Reiki practitioners
  • Life coaches
  • Kinesiologists

While therapists such as these might be eligible in some cases, they are not considered allied health professionals.

The ‘reasonable and necessary’ test

For a participant to receive a therapy under NDIS funding, the support must meet the ‘reasonable and necessary’ test.

To meet this test, there are six key questions that need to be taken into account.

  1. Is the support listed in my plan?
    Supports are much more likely to be accepted if they’re specifically listed in the participant’s plan or relate to a plan goal.
  2. Will the support help me engage in the community?
    If the support helps a participant engage socially or economically within the community, it’s more likely to be considered reasonable and necessary.
  3. The desired support is value for money
    The NDIA is more likely to fund supports that are value for money and that may reduce the need for participants to receive support in the future.
  4. Whether the support will be effective and beneficial
    Established supports are more likely to be approved than new therapies which are less proven.
  5. Is it reasonable to expect society to fund the support?
    Whether or not society at large should be expected to fund the support is also a consideration.
  6. Is the NDIS the most appropriate funding source?
    Lastly, the NDIA will consider whether or not a support is most appropriately funded by another source such as a dental scheme, public housing, medicare and more. Professions including sonography, osteopathy, audiology, and chiropractic are not covered by the NDIS but by other funding sources.

A letter of support

If the desired support isn’t listed in the NDIS plan, a letter of support from a qualified health professional, an LAC or a planner may help bolster the claim. Click here for the letter of support checklist.

The takeaway

Generally, alternative therapies are not funded under an NDIS plan. Established and commonly used therapies are much more likely to get the green light.

However, if the desired support meets the reasonable and necessary test, then it could still be covered.

Have a question or query? We’re only too happy to help.

Contact us today on 1300 60 33 89 or send us an email [email protected]

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