Social distancing and government requirements to stay at home have had a big impact on our lives recently. Service providers and health professionals like your local GP’s are now offering virtual consultations as a measure to keep patients safe, and similar adaptations are being made within disability support services.
The NDIS has made it a little easier for you to access health, support and online learning services by allowing you to use your NDIS funding to purchase a smart device.
In NDIS speak, they are referring to these devices as “low cost assistive technology”. In real speak, it’s a basic smart device – most commonly a tablet.
In this blog, we’ve included everything you need to know about this latest change.
How do I know if I can get one?
Like anything with the NDIS, it comes down to what’s reasonable and necessary.
The smart device is necessary if:
You need it to access disability support.
You don’t already have a device.
Do you have a laptop, smartphone or tablet at home that you can access? If so, you probably won’t be eligible.
It’s the ‘lowest specification’ necessary to get the job done.
This basically means that it’s not the fanciest model, but good enough for you to access your supports.
The smart device is reasonable if:
It costs less than $600
There are a few exceptions to this rule. Maybe the device needs to have a feature that is not available on a standard tablet, or maybe your disability prevents you from using a standard tablet and you need something more specialised.
Do I need to use existing funds?
Yes, you will need to have the funding already in your plan to take advantage of this change. The NDIA are not increasing plans to cover the cost of these devices. It’s also worth noting that they won’t do a review if all you’re looking for is a smart device.
What funding categories can I use?
Good news here – the NDIA have been quite flexible with how you can purchase a smart device. You can use your core budget, or your consumables budget.
If you don’t have enough funding in either of those you can use your capacity building funds. There has been a handy new line item in the latest NDIS Price Guide to cover this:
COVID-19 Low Cost AT to support Capacity Building support delivery 15_222400911_0124_1_3
It’s been done like this so you can be a bit flexible with your budget.
What is the process to get one?
You need a letter from a provider, confirming that the device is necessary
With this letter, you can either upload it to the portal or email it straight to the NDIS. Their address is firstname.lastname@example.org and the subject line should be ‘Low cost AT flexibility evidence’.
You will need to purchase it.
The process to get a smart device is the same process to get consumables – and it all comes down to how your plan is being managed.
If you’re plan managed or self managed you can buy from any provider.
If you’re plan is agency managed you will need to buy through a registered provider. If you have a Support Coordinator you might be able to buy one through them, otherwise a few of the big electronics retailers are registered NDIS providers.
Is this a permanent change?
No, unfortunately this is just temporary to help get us all through the pandemic. This rule will no longer apply after September 2020.
What about internet? Will the NDIS pay that?
Unfortunately the NDIS will not cover the cost of your internet access.