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Quick guide to low-cost NDIS assistive technology

Updated 14 December, 2020
A woman thinking about low-cost AT options with a purple background

These days, there’s no shortage of exciting low-cost technology that can make life easier for people with disability – what we call Assisted Technology. In this article we look at some examples and explore how the NDIS funds low-cost Assistive Technology.

How does the NDIS fund low-cost assistive technology?

The NDIS can fund any piece of equipment or technology that’s related to your disability – this can be something that helps in a therapeutic sense or that allows you to perform a task you’d otherwise be unable to do.

As a general rule, if this equipment cost less than $1,500 and can be bought off-the-shelf, then the NDIS considers it low-cost assistive technology. This falls under the Core support category Consumables, so you can buy it using your Core funding.

If it costs more than $1500 it is regarded as NDIS Assistive Technology, which is a Capital Support.

What sort of technology can the NDIS fund?

While there’s no list of exactly what the NDIS will fund, here are some popular items to help get you thinking about what might be suitable for you:

  • iPads and Tablets: With many providers limiting their face-to-face sessions at the moment, iPads and tablets have become so popular that the NDIS has changed their rules around them.

  • Apps: There are many smartphone apps out there to help people with disability. From text-to-speech apps for people with visual impairment, to apps that can assist people to communicate who are non-verbal, there’s thousands of apps out there that might support you in achieving your NDIS goals.

  • Headphones: Noise cancelling headphones can be useful for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, by blocking out distracting background noise and even helping avoid sensory overload.

  • Smartwatches: Smartwatches come loaded with many features that can make life easier for people with disability, including GPS, fall detection and heart rate monitoring. Even virtual wallets, which allow you to link your smartwatch to your bank account, can be really useful for mobility purposes.

  • Smart-home accessories: To assist you with daily living around the house, there’s all kinds of  technology, like voice activated lights or doors for people with mobility related disabilities, visual doorbells for people with hearing impairment, or smart speakers that allow you to get the weather and news with your voice alone.

Are there rules around what I can buy?

As with all NDIS supports, any technology you buy must meet the criteria of reasonable and necessary. This means it needs to be both related to your disability and offer value for money.

If a piece of equipment you need comes in different models at different prices, you will generally need to buy the cheapest one.

If there’s a specific reason that you require a more expensive option, you may have to provide evidence as to why. This might be as simple as a letter from an Occupational Therapist explaining that the more expensive item has an extra feature you require.  

How do I buy low-cost assistive technology with my NDIS funds?

In most cases you will need to purchase the item with your own money, then submit your invoice for reimbursement from the NDIS or your Plan Manager. If you’re agency managed, you will need to purchase the item through a registered provider.

We’ve partnered with Officeworks to make the process even easier for our customers. If an item is available at Officeworks, you can now contact Plan Partners to place an order and we’ll handle the rest. No more spending your own money and then requesting a reimbursement; the funds will come straight out of your Core NDIS budget and you’ll get the item the next business day.

Have more questions?

Want to learn more about low-cost Assistive Technology or how you can use your NDIS funding to purchase it? We're here to help. Chat with us online or give us a call on 1300 333 700.

Top Tips 

  • There’s so much exciting technology out there that might be able to help you achieve your NDIS goals – and new ones are emerging every day! Keep an eye online or ask your service provider or Support Coordinator about your options.
  • While not always the case, if a piece of technology costs less than $1,500, offers value for money and doesn’t need to be specially ordered or modified before you use it, you can use your Core budget to purchase it. 
  • To buy an item with your funding, it must be specifically related to your disability and the goals in your NDIS plan.  
  • Value for money is another important criteria, but if you need a more expensive variant because it comes loaded with a feature you need, a letter from an OT will help.
  • If you’re a Plan Partners customer, you can purchase low-cost Assistive Technology from Officeworks simply by calling us. This saves you having to buy it with your own money and then wait to be paid back by the NDIS.

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