How to buy equipment and Assistive Technology with your NDIS funds
NDIS Assistive Technology can be a game changer for people with disability, allowing them to perform tasks they’d otherwise have difficulty doing. There are many kinds of assistive Technology that can be funded under the NDIS and the process can be slightly different for each. In this article we explore Assistive Technology and how you can purchase it using your NDIS funding.
What is NDIS Assistive Technology?
Assistive Technology (AT) is basically any piece of equipment that lets you perform a task you otherwise wouldn’t be able to do or makes it easier and safer for you to do so.
There’s almost no limit to the kinds of equipment and Assistive Technology that might be able to make your life easier. There are lots of exciting pieces of Assistive Technology out there and new ones coming out every day, so think creatively about what your NDIS goals are and how technology can help you achieve them and ask your OT or physiotherapy for suggestions.
From non-slip bathmats and adaptive can openers, all the way to electric wheelchairs and stair lifts, these tools can create new opportunities to live an independent life.
Is there a difference between Assistive Technology and low-cost Assistive Technology?
Yes. While they’re both similar in some regards, there are some major differences in terms of how they’re funded under the NDIS.
Assistive Technology is more complex and may require customisation. Because it often costs more and is considered more specialised, the process for purchasing Assistive Technology is a bit more complicated.
How do I get funding for NDIS Assistive Technology?
Assistive Technology is categorised as a Capital support. To get budget included in your plan for a piece of Assistive Technology, you’ll need to submit a quote to the NDIS. Once the quote is approved, you’ll receive funding for that specific item only along with additional funding for ongoing costs, such as maintenance.
How do I purchase NDIS Assistive Technology?
There are several steps involved in purchasing Assistive Technology. While it can appear overwhelming at first, you’ll have a lot of support along the way.
1. Get Support
Before starting your journey, you’ll need to engage an Occupational Therapist (OT) This is an NDIS requirement, as your OT will perform an assessment and let the NDIS know whether you require the piece of Assistive Technology. Your therapist will also help you through the rest of the quotation process and can assist with any questions you may have.
2. Get a quote
With the support of your therapist, contact the equipment provider (or providers) and get a quote.
Once you have your quotes, you can submit them to the NDIS along with any supporting documentation from your OT. As each state has a different process for submitting quotes, it’s best to ask your OT for assistance with this step.
3. Get an invoice
Once the NDIS has approved your quote, contact the provider and ask for an invoice for the equipment. You’ll then have to submit this invoice to the NDIS for processing and payment. If you have a Plan Manager, simply submit your invoice to them and they’ll ensure it’s processed correctly.
4. Get your equipment
After your provider’s invoice has been paid, they’ll be able to get you your equipment. Because a lot of Assistive Technology is made to your specifications, this step often involves them ordering your equipment from the manufacturer. This can take some time, so be prepared for delays and ask your provider for a timeframe.
What about ongoing costs?
Once you receive your Assistive Technology, it’s very likely there will be some additional costs over the course of its life. Things like regular maintenance and repairs can be funded by the NDIS. You can also receive funding to hire a temporary piece of equipment while you wait for yours to arrive from the retailer or if you would OT would like you to ‘test it out’ before you purchase.
Need some support?
- If the equipment you need costs less than $1500 and is off the shelf, it’s considered low-cost Assistive Technology and you should be able to pay for it using your Core budget.
- More expensive Assistive Technology is a Capital Support and will require a quote.
- If you’re requesting to have Assistive Technology included in your plan, also ask for Improved Daily Living funding, as you’ll need an Occupational Therapist to assess your need and get quotes for your equipment.
- Because the NDIS can take a long time to approve quotes, you can also request funding to rent equipment so you’re never without.
- You can get a repair allowance to maintain your equipment, so ask for this in your planning meeting.
- If you have Plan Management, you only need to send the invoice to your Plan Manager. Plan Managers can only process invoices, not quotes.
- If you have a Support Coordinator, they can help you selecting a therapist for the assessments and purchasing your equipment with a provider.