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How the NDIS can fund iPads and other tablets (COVID-19 update)

Animated man with beard with arms crossed and finger pointed to lip. He is surrounded by floating tech; an iPad, smartphone, smartwatch and headset.

COVID-19 Update (May 2020):

With many therapists now providing support remotely, you may be able to use your NDIS funding to buy an iPad or tablet to help you access these online sessions.

This article is updated on 18 May 2020 to reflect the latest guidelines from the NDIS. As these guidelines might be confusing, we try to explain them more clearly in this article.  

To find out more, give our team a call on 1300 333 700 or read our COVID-19 FAQs to learn how the NDIS is ensuring participants can continue receiving supports throughout.

With physical distancing causing many providers to move their services online, the need for iPads, Galaxy Tabs and other tablets has increased. Fortunately, the NDIS has recognised the vital role these devices play in ensuring you can continue to receive supports throughout COVID-19, so they have made it possible to pay for them using your NDIS funding – in this article we explore how.

Please note: These changes are temporary and in place until September 2020, with the NDIS conducting a review at the end of June 2020.

When will the NDIS fund an iPad?

While the NDIS have made it easier to purchase an iPad using your NDIS funds, you still need to be able to show that it’s specifically needed because of your disability and is a reasonable and necessary purchase.

To help you determine if that’s the case, ask yourself these two questions. If you answer yes to them and you have enough funding in your plan, then you will likely be able to use your NDIS funding to purchase the device

  • Is the iPad/tablet necessary?
    • Do you need the iPad/tablet to continue accessing existing services, like online therapy sessions instead of face to face sessions? If so:
    • Has your therapist recommended the use of the iPad/tablet?
    • Do you not already own or have access to a device that would allow you to access existing services, such as a laptop, smartphone, or tablet?
       
  • Is the cost of the iPad/tablet reasonable?
    • Is it a standard tablet that costs less than $600?
    • If the cost exceeds $600, what feature do you require that is not available on a standard tablet? Do you need this feature because your disability prevents you to use a standard tablet?

For example, if you want to purchase a standard tablet because your therapist is now running all their sessions over video chats and you don’t have a device that lets you join in, your purchase would be considered reasonable and necessary.

How does the process work?

There are several ways to purchase a tablet using your NDIS funds, but here’s an example of how the process works if you’re a plan managed customer with Plan Partners:

  1. Reach out to our team and discuss why you need a tablet and your options
  2. Contact the retailer of your choice and ask for an invoice or quote for the device 
  3. Submit the invoice to Plan Partners for payment from your funding
  4. Once paid, collect your device from the store or arrange for it to be delivered

The device will be purchased using funding from your Core budget, however if you only have funding in your Capacity-building budget, you can now use a special new line item from category 15. Find out more about the budget categories in your plan.

Not Plan Managed?

If you don’t have a Plan Manager and are NDIA managed, you must purchase the device through a registered provider, which can limit your options.

Fortunately, the NDIS have also made it easier to switch to Plan Management and be more flexible with how you use your funding throughout COVID-19.

Can the NDIS pay my internet bill?

No, you cannot use your NDIS funds to pay for your internet bill. While you might need the internet to access remote therapy, it’s considered an everyday expense and as such it’s not reasonable and necessary for the NDIS to pay for it.

The NDIS also won’t fund additional accessories such as cases and warranties, as they are not related to a person’s disability. For more information, read the answer to the question ‘Can I buy additional assistive technology, electronics or equipment with my NDIS funding?'

How can I find out more?

To discuss your personal situation and whether you’re eligible to purchase an iPad or other tablet, give our friendly Plan Partners team a call on 1300 333 700 or leave your details here and we will contact you.

For more information on the NDIS’ COVID-19 response, head to our special FAQs on the topic or read more about the NDIS assistive technology changes here.

Top Tips

  • The NDIS have made it possible to purchase an iPad or similar tablet using your NDIS funds, as a temporary measure in response to COVID-19.
  • To buy a tablet using your NDIS funds, you’ll need to show that you need it to continue accessing therapy remotely and that it meets the NDIS’ ‘reasonable and necessary’ criteria.
  • As the internet is considered an everyday expense, you cannot use your NDIS funds to pay for your internet bill.
  • If you have a Plan Manager or self-manage your NDIS funding, you can purchase the device from any retailer. If you are NDIA managed, you must use a registered provider.
  • Before Plan Partners can process your invoice, we will need to clarify that the purchase is reasonable and necessary – so make sure to contact us before you purchase the device.
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10 comments

Plan Partners logo
Jason (not verified)   04th May, 2020

Hi

My name is Jason and my daughter is a participant of NDIS.
Actually, we purchased laptop last week for joining some teletherapy class(speech and occupation) because my daughter started from last week so I purchased.

I just wonder i can claim the invoice from NDIS consumable fund.before the purchase I just asked my support coordinator and she said if the therapist
report that the participant need the device for class hey can use the NDIS fund but I didn’t ask that.It was last week.
I just wonder I can claim the invoice from NDIS.
I will appreciate it if you give me a the response.

Kind regards,
Jason

Plan Partners logo
Plan Partners Team   04th May, 2020

Hi Jason,

Thanks for your comment.
Before processing your invoice, we will need to clarify that the purchase is reasonable and necessary – feel free to give us a call on 1300 333 700.

Warm regards,
Tegan from the Plan Partners team.

Plan Partners logo
Betty Mackenzie (not verified)   04th May, 2020

My son is agency managed,I had tried to purchase an I pad an was told by Apple they provided for NDIS, but pro former invoice I was told to send to enquiries was rejected, I cannot find a provider in Adelaide that is registered, How can we get an I pad for online therapy,Agency Managed, Please help
I have called NDIS three times and told different things each time

Plan Partners logo
Plan Partners Team   04th May, 2020

Hi Betty,

Thank you for your comment.

If it is hard to find a registered service provider, please note that the NDIS have now made it easier to switch to Plan Management. Plan Management allows you to easily access unregistered providers, and there are many other benefits to having Plan Management as well! Find out more here: https://planpartners.com.au/covid-19-switch

If you have any further questions, feel free to call us on 1300 333 700 or email us at info@planpartners.com.au. We're here to help.

Warm regards,
Tegan from the Plan Partners team.

Plan Partners logo
Kylie (not verified)   05th May, 2020

Afternoon can my daughter purchase a iPad with her ndis

Plan Partners logo
Plan Partners Team   05th May, 2020

Hi Kylie,
Thank you for your comment.
Before we are able to confirm whether you are able to purchase a tablet for your daughter, we will need to clarify that the purchase is reasonable and necessary – feel free to give us a call on 1300 333 700.

Warm regards,
Tegan from the Plan Partners team.

Plan Partners logo
Angela (not verified)   18th May, 2020

Can you tell me any ndis providers in nsw that I can purchase an ipad from for my son? I have already spoken to my sons OT and she recommends one for telehealth and online school learning. I am ndis managed and need to find a provider.

Plan Partners logo
Plan Partners Team   18th May, 2020

Hi Angela
Thank you for your comment.

If it is hard to find a registered service provider, please note that the NDIS have now made it easier to switch to Plan Management. Plan Management allows you to easily access unregistered providers, and there are many other benefits to having Plan Management as well! Find out more here: https://planpartners.com.au/covid-19-switch

If you have any further questions, feel free to call us on 1300 333 700 or email us at info@planpartners.com.au. We're here to help.

Warm regards,
Tegan from the Plan Partners team.

Plan Partners logo
Hana (not verified)   18th May, 2020

Hi if my son has speech and language and expressive delay, and requires an iPad for online therapy and also to access apps, is he eligible but isn’t receiving core support, just building capacity support? Please let me know. Thanks.

Plan Partners logo
Plan Partners Team   18th May, 2020

Hi Hanna,
Thank you for your comment.
The NDIS have introduced a way to pay for tablets under capacity building funds-
Before we are able to confirm whether you are able to purchase a tablet for your son, we will need to clarify that the purchase is reasonable and necessary – feel free to give us a call on 1300 333 700.

Warm regards,
Tegan from the Plan Partners team.

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