During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic response, we are hearing about innovative ways providers including Allied Health professionals are continuing to deliver services to participants – some of these are online.
We recommend participants and their families and carers work with their existing providers to discuss the best way to receive services and supports while maintaining physical distancing – this may include using available technology, developing exercise programs participants can do at home or borrowing equipment and keeping in touch over the phone.
Parents and guardians should also talk to their child’s provider about everyday activities they can do with their child, using items available at home and including new activities in everyday play.
To help participants continue to receive their NDIS funded supports and services during this period, the NDIA has temporarily broadened the flexible approach to purchasing low cost AT items.
This allows participants to access low cost AT items, such as smart devices and fitness equipment, in consultation with their existing support providers.
Participants can now use their existing NDIS funding to purchase an item if:
- it will maintain funded NDIS supports like a program, therapy or requirement (for example physiotherapy or Auslan interpreting provided via video conferencing), and
- the provider of supports has confirmed in writing the device is necessary to continue supports and services while maintaining physical distancing requirements, and
- it is the lowest specification that will maintain funded supports, and
- they do not already have the item, another suitable item or access to the item, and
- the item has not been funded by another service system (such as education), and
- the item or circumstances are not specifically excluded.
Participants are able to spend up to $1500 on low cost AT items from their existing budgets. Participants should not spend more than $750 on electronic devices needed to maintain existing services.
In the case of computer tablets or iPads for telehealth and care or participating in online video classes, advice from AT specialists is that most NDIS participants will not need more than a standard tablet, which costs no more than $600.
Participants can use their funding flexibly to purchase low cost AT using funding in their core - consumables budget. Plan managed or self-managed participants can purchase these items from any provider, and Agency managed participants can purchase these from any registered NDIS provider (this could include a therapy or support coordination provider).
This is a time limited policy which will be in place until September 2020 and will be reviewed at the end of June 2020.
NDIS funding cannot be used for:
- any item that does not relate to the participant’s disability or that doesn’t help to maintain NDIS funded supports and services
- devices with specifications beyond the minimum needed
- smart phones, smart watches, iPads or tablets with mobile connections (e.g. 3G or 4G)
- multiple devices
- replacements for loss or damage
- utility costs (internet connection)
- additional hardware or accessories
- purchase of items when rental options may be appropriate.