Completing an assistive technology (AT) assessment
A participant’s plan can include funding under the 'Improved Daily Living Skills' budget (under Capacity Building) for an AT assessment.
The NDIA needs sufficient evidence to decide which AT supports are reasonable and necessary to include in a participant’s plan.
Simple and low-cost AT will not require significant assessment, and there is guidance about providing evidence where a participant is replacing AT they currently use.
More complex AT, particularly where a participant is seeking it for the first time, may need a detailed AT assessment showing how it is the most appropriate support to include in the participant’s plan.
Sufficient evidence should be gathered before the planning meeting to demonstrate the participant’s need for an AT item, particularly if they haven’t had it before. Without this, the actual AT supports may not be included in the participant's plan, but the plan would include funding for the AT assessment.
NDIA recognises that some mid-cost assistive technology supports are relatively standard, and the evidence required to include them in a plan will be simpler. These AT supports will be itemised within the participant’s plan in the Capital – AT budget.
With appropriate advice from an AT assessor, the items can be directly purchased from the market without submitting further assessments or quotes to the Agency for review.
Planning staff will discuss when AT assessments and quotes should be provided for review prior to purchasing AT supports.
Participants are encouraged to obtain written assessment advice before proceeding to buy or source AT, which may prove helpful in the case of damaged, faulty or incorrectly prescribed AT needing to be returned under Australian Consumer Law.
For the latest update on low-cost AT funding and supply of nominated AT supports see our latest news article.
Choosing the right AT supports
If AT or home modification support is included in the plan, funding may also be included to help a participant select, trial and source the right AT solution for their needs.
In some cases, evidence of this advice is required before buying or acquiring the item.
Below are some templates to help assessors and participants provide information to help the NDIA determine the appropriate supports to include in participants’ plans.
Using these templates ensures the NDIA has the information required for planning and approval and helps avoids delays.
- General Assistive Technology Assessment Template (DOCX 110KB)
- Prosthetics and Orthotics Assistive Technology Assessment Template (DOCX 116KB)
- Continence Related Assistive Technology Assessment Template (DOCX 107KB)
- Nutrition and Dysphagia Assistive Technology Supports Assessment Template (DOCX 66KB)
- Complex Home Modification Assessment Template (DOCX 120KB)
- Vehicle Modification Assessment Template (DOCX 115KB)
- Dog Guide Assessment Template (DOCX 104KB)
The consent clause ensures the participant has given the NDIA permission to discuss the assessment and/or quotes with the provider(s) concerned directly.
Identifying AT complexity levels
The NDIA uses a risk management approach to ensure that risks to the participant and the NDIS are appropriately managed.
In Australia, the Therapeutic Goods Administration and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission oversee the regulation and safety of products including AT.
The NDIA set four levels to describe AT complexity.
The complexity level may not relate to cost of the AT. Some low-cost AT can pose significant risks if not selected or installed correctly.
The Guide to Suitability for WA (PDF 788KB) provides details of the criteria that would qualify a provider for the different AT assessments and give professional advice about different AT.
The AT complexity table provides some guidance on what level of help a participant may need, depending on the complexity of their AT needs.
You should self-assess whether you are suitably competent to provide the level of assistance which is required by the participant.
Pricing and payments for AT providers
You should work closely with the participant to understand their needs and how you will be paid for supports and services you have provided.
Self-managed participants pay providers directly for AT supports and services.
If you are working with participants with NDIA-managed or plan-managed funding, the NDIS Price Guide outlines the appropriate support items you should use for both service bookings and payment requests.
The Assistive Technology and Consumables Code Guide
The Assistive Technology and Consumables Code Guide lists the most commonly used supports. This helps providers claim payments using a 'best-fit' approach, and assists participants with consistent terminology for AT comparison.
Listing in this guide does not mean that an item would be considered reasonable and necessary for a particular individual under the NDIS, nor is it a comprehensive list of what may be considered.
Where possible, providers should use the code in the participant’s NDIS plan to claim payment for AT supports.
If a participant’s NDIS plan does not include a specific code, you should refer to the new guide for the code that best fits the provided supports.
Changes detailed in the new Guide include:
- removal of the need to provide a quote for some Assistive Products and/or Accessories
- addition of disability-related health equipment and consumables
- renaming of ‘respirator’ Assistive Products items to ‘ventilator’ to reflect preferred terminology.
Contact your local NDIS office
Do you have a question, request or urgent issue relating to assistive technology, particularly for a participant?
You can email your local NDIA office directly. Find your local office.