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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

In this resource Plan Hero answers:

What are the different levels of Assistive Technology?

According to the NDIS, there are 4 different levels that the NDIA uses to describe the complexity of your AT needs and we explain these levels below:

Level 1 (Basic)

This level includes items that:

  • Cost less than $1500
  • Are low risk and do not cause harm to you or others
  • Are mostly bought from a retail store or online
  • Don’t require a professional or therapist to prescribe or review them
  • Examples include: nonslip bathmats, large print labels, doorbells, etc
Level 2 (Standard)

This level includes items that:

  • Typically ‘off the shelf’ items that you can buy from AT providers and test/trial before making a final choice
  • Are low risk and do not cause harm to you or others
  • Only minor adjustments needed (E.g. adjust height of shower chair legs).
  • Assessments may be required depending on availability and individual circumstances.
  • Examples include: bath seat, handrails, ramps, etc.
Level 3 (Specialised)

This level includes items that are similar to level 2 AT, however:

  • 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
Level 4 (Complex)

This level is the highest risk or complex and are items taht 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

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 as listed above, and there are also different COSTS associated

.The NDIA breaks down the cost of AT into 3 categories:

  • Low cost assistive technology:
    • under $1,500 per item
    • generally funded under Core Supports – Consumables budget OR Capital Supports – Assistive technology
  • Mid cost assistive technology:
    • between $1,500 and $5,000 per item
    • generally funded under Capital Supports – Assistive technology
  • High cost assistive technology: over $5,000 per item.
    • generally funded under Capital Supports – Assistive technology

What is low RISK Assistive Technology?

Low risk are generally items that do not cause harm to you or others, and can be safely purchased for your needs without requiring further assessment or approval.

Low risk AT products are:

  • Safe to use 
  • Don’t require help setting it up
  • Available for purchase off the shelf or the internet
  • 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, if your plan has funding for Consumables in your CORE budget – you can use this to purchase low cost low risk assistive technology (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. 

Purchasing Level 1 and 2 Low Cost AT

For items valued at $1500 or less, this would be included in your NDIS Plan under ‘Consumables’ in your Core Budget and my Portal under ‘Low Cost AT’. They do not require an assessment, quote or specific approval from the NDIA before purchasing. 

Purchasing Levels 3 and 4 AT

These items MOSTLY require an assessment to identify the items that are most suitable for you.

You don’t need to provide the NDIA quotes for AT items under $15,000, but they will still need some evidence (including a cost estimate) to make sure you get the right AT. 

For items over $15,000 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.

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