There is a lot to know when it comes to Assistive technology under the NDIS. Read below as we break it down for you and give insight into the basics of Assistive technology - what it means and if you are funded for it.
What is Assistive Technology under the NDIS?
The NDIS explains assistive technology as ‘items that help you do things you can’t do because of your disability. Or, things that help you do something more easily or safely.’
This may include items that:
- reduce the need for assistance
- make assistance safe or easy
- help maintain functioning
- allow you to complete tasks independently
- are personalised for you
What are the different levels of Assistive Technology?
Our friends at MyCareSpace have done a great job at explaining the 4 levels that the NDIA uses to describe the complexity of your AT needs.
Level 1 (basic):
Cost less than $1500. Are low risk and participants will mostly identify and buy from a retail store or online. No need for an OT to prescribe although a therapist may give you suggestions.
Examples include: nonslip bathmats, large print labels, doorbells, etc.
Level 2 (standard):
are typically 'off the shelf' AT that participants can buy from AT providers and test/trial before making a final choice.
Examples include: bath seat, handrails, ramps, etc.
Only minor adjustments needed (E.g. adjust height of shower chair legs). Assessments may be required depending on availability and individual circumstances.
Level 3 (specialised):
is similar to Level 2 AT, however, it often requires specific modification to suit the needs of the participant. Requires an assessment and quote which includes supply, delivery and set-up, as well as ongoing maintenance/repair costs.
Examples include: desktop electronic magnification, home modifications such as bathroom adaptions and pressure mattresses, etc.
Level 4 (complex):
are typically high cost and custom made or 'off the shelf' but configured uniquely for the individual. Requires an assessment and a written quote which includes supply, delivery and set-up, as well as ongoing maintenance/repair costs.
Examples include: power wheelchairs, cochlear implant speech processors, complex home modifications that require major structural change, etc.
Note: Sometimes an item of AT may be more complex to assess because of 'risk factors'. These are explained in the AT Complexity Level Classification document.
What is low COST Assistive Technology?
Different processes are required to fund for different levels of assistive technology.
The NDIA breaks down the cost of AT into 3 categories:
- Low cost assistive technology: under $1,500 per item
- Mid cost assistive technology: between $1,500 and $5,000 per item
- High cost assistive technology: over $5,000 per item.
Low cost AT items do not require an assessment, quote or specific approval from the NDIA before purchasing.
What are low RISK items?
Low risk AT products are:
- Safe to use
- Don’t require help setting it up
- Available for purchase off the shelf or the internet
Higher risk AT products may be one or all of the following:
- complex, such as a power wheelchair
- known to have caused harm
- Require assistance for training, set-up and advice for use
Can I purchase AT items using my NDIS funding?
Given that all NDIS plans now allow for flexible Core budgets, low cost low risk assistive technology can be purchased for almost all NDIS participants (exceptions apply).
You can use the ‘What can you spend your NDIS funding on?’ list from page 10 of the NDIS Participant booklet 3 - 'Using your NDIS plan', to determine if you can use your Core funds to purchase low-cost AT items.
Level 1 and 2 Low Cost AT, valued at $1500 or less is included in your NDIS Plan under ‘Consumables’ in your Core Budget and myPortal under ‘Low Cost AT’. They do not require an assessment, quote or specific approval from the NDIA before purchasing.
Levels 3 and 4, mostly require an assessment to identify the items that are most suitable for you, and you will require a quote from one or more providers before making a purchase. You will need to submit your quote to the NDIS (or your Plan manager can do this on your behalf). Once a quote is approved you will require an invoice from the supplier which will then be paid by the NDIS