Buying or leasing equipment/assistive technology (AT)

NDIS participants can choose how they want to manage the funded supports in their plan. Unless your plan indicates otherwise, you can choose the providers you want to deliver those supports. For more information, visit the Using your plan page.

You are able to use your NDIS funds to:

  • Buy the equipment/AT outright; or
  • Access the equipment/AT through lease, rental or other arrangements - this includes arrangements to access refurbished and reissued equipment/AT.

The process you will follow will depend on:

  • your equipment/AT needs;
  • how complex those needs are; and
  • how you manage your equipment/AT budget.

Generally, a participant can choose to buy their AT supports from a suitable provider of their choice. These can include known providers and providers found in State/Territory government AT provider schemes.

Choosing an equipment/AT support provider

Like many technologies, AT ranges from the really simple to the very complex and sometimes you may need help to figure out what is the right AT solution for you.

At the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), we use four levels to describe the complexity of your AT needs. The table below explains the different complexity levels of AT. It can help you to identify, find and purchase the AT you need.

Complexity Level
Description and Examples
Is an assessment required before I can access NDIS funds?
Where can I buy this AT?
Level 1 – Simple, low-risk AT
  • Simple, low risk products and services that are easy to buy and need no or very little assistance to set up and use.
    Examples:
  • Non-slip bathmat
  • Large print labels
  • Doorbells.

Not required:
These are the everyday AT items that you can easily access and test out that don't cost much or require support.

You can choose to buy these from everyday suppliers. Examples:

  • Your local store (hardware, pharmacy etc.); or
  • Suppliers you find on the internet.
Level 2 – Standard AT

AT you can buy easily "off the shelf", test and trial before making a final choice. However, you might need help to set up.

Examples:

  • Bath seat
  • Hand rails
  • Ramp.

May be required: Depending on availability and your individual circumstance, you may require an assessment.

You can typically find this type of AT from an AT supplier.

Level 3 – Specialised AT solutions

Similar to Level 2 AT, but requires modification or is tailored to suit your needs.
Examples:

  • Desktop electronic magnification
  • Pressure mattresses.

Required: You will require experienced professional support to help identify and set up (and, in some cases train) before you can most effectively use it.

You should work with your AT assessor to identify suitable supplier/s from which you are able to source the most appropriate AT solution for your needs.

Level 4 – Complex AT solutions

Custom made AT which is specially made or configured for you.

  • myoelectric prostheticcochlear
  • implant speech processors.

Required: You will require specialist and/or ongoing support (including specialised training) to identify, buy and use.

You should work with your AT assessor to identify suitable supplier/s from which you are able to source the most appropriate AT solution for your needs. In some cases the NDIA may indicate which providers are suitable.

Depending on the risks associated with your disability or the environment of AT you need to use it, an item of AT may increase in complexity.

For more detailed information and examples, please refer to the NDIS AT Complexity Level Clasification document (DOCX 1.4MB)

Managing your equipment/AT budget

Self-management

If you self-manage your equipment/AT budget, you can choose and negotiate directly with a supplier to get the best value for money in line with your goals and budget. Your equipment/AT provider may or may not be registered with the NDIA. You do not need a service booking for your self-managed AT supports as you pay your providers directly.

Find out more about self-management.

Plan-management

If a Registered Plan Management Provider (RPMP) is managing your equipment/AT budget, your RPMP will support you to engage with the NDIS Registered providers of your choice, and they will help you create service agreements and issue service bookings. In this scenario, the RPMP pays your providers on your behalf.

NDIA-managed

If the NDIA is managing your NDIS plan, your Local Area Coordinator (LAC) or Support Coordinator (if one is funded in your plan) will support you to engage with the NDIS Registered providers of your choice, and they will help you create service agreements and issue service bookings. In this scenario, the NDIS ps providers on your behalf

Maintenance and repairs

Participants should check who has responsibility for the maintenance and repair of their assistive technology.

Generally, if you lease or hire an item, the organisation who provided it would help fix it, or if necessary, replace it. If the item has been bought outright, Australian Consumer Law gives you warranty rights on the supplier if something is wrong with the item. Read about your consumer rights here.

Maintenance and repairs are usually the participant's responsibility so the participant should plan for those costs and, if necessary, create a service booking with a suitable provider if the equipment/AT is bought outright. Appropriate funding should be included in your plan for these costs.

The NDIS does not own a participants equipment/AT and it does not have an equipment repair service like some state ad territory equipment/AT schemes.

Assistive Technology fact sheets

Find out more about participants using their NDIS funding to buy equipment/AT support with the following fact sheets:

Additional features and other funding sources

You can opt to use your own money, or funding from other sources (for example, Job Access) to buy additional features, or access additional services which may not fall under reasonable and necessary supports in your NDIS plan.

For example, a participant funded for a fabric-upholstered lift chair may prefer leather upholstery. In this scenario, the participant pays any additional cost to have the chair upholstered in leather.

If you require the same or similar equipment/AT for multiple purposes (for example, at home and at work), you should discuss your needs with your Local Area Coordinator in the first instance.

This page current as of
11 January 2019