This afternoon, the NDIA has provided further clarification around accessing Low-Cost Assistive Technology during the COVID-19 pandemic. Below is a summary of the changes in relation to devices and the full update can be found on the NDIS website here.

*This article was updated 7 May, 2020

A participant may use their NDIS Funding to access low-cost assistive technology IF:

  • Used to maintain therapy, program or other support during social distancing
  • Your provider of supports has provided CONFIRMATION IN WRITING (‘Written Advice’) of the necessity of the device to continue accessing supports/services
  • The device is the LOWEST SPECS necessary, wifi only
  • You don’t already own it, have another suitable device or have access to a device
  • The device isn’t already funded by health or education
  • The device isn’t already on the excluded list

How much can I spend?

Participants can spend up to a maximum of $1500 on low cost AT items from their existing CORE–Consumables budget. However, the NDIA has stated that Participants should not spend more than $750 on electronic devices needed to maintain existing services.

Written Advice

Participants must make sure the written advice is kept, and provided to the NDIA – they can upload it to their participant record or ask their provider or plan manager to email it to the NDIA at enquiries@ndis.gov.au with a subject like ‘Low cost AT flexibility evidence’. Their provider should also keep a copy in case the Agency requests it at a later date.

Who can access low-cost AT?

  • After April 1, 2020 – Participants can use their CORE–Consumables funding flexibly to purchase a low cost AT device.
  • From April 30, 2020 – Participants who only have funding in their capacity building budgets will be able to use a special line item to purchase a device only (COVID-19 Low Cost AT to support Capacity Building support delivery 15_222400911_0124_1_3)
  • From May 9, 2020 – a system update will automatically allow CORE flexibility for all participants without an existing CORE-Consumables budget. This means if you have funding in another core category and not consumables you could use this flexibly to purchase an item.

Where can I buy a device?

  • Plan managed or self-managed participants can purchase these items from any provider.
  • Agency managed participants can purchase these from any registered NDIS provider (this could include a therapy or support coordination provider).

NOTE – If your plan does not have sufficient funds for ongoing supports, you should follow the usual process for a plan review. The Agency will not accept changes to plans solely to purchase low-cost AT under this policy.

This is a time-limited policy that will be in place until September 2020 and will be reviewed at the end of June 2020.

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