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Funding and Accessing the NDIS

Below you will find resources on different funding avenues that you may be able to access to get support for you and your family

Financial support and funding for Autism

The Australian Government offers a variety of financial assistance programs for individuals with Autism, as well as their caregivers. This financial support may available either during the diagnostic phase or after a diagnosis has been confirmed.

It is important to note that you must apply for these funding schemes in order to receive financial support. It will not be automatically granted to you or your child upon diagnosis. Some schemes may require proof of diagnosis, while others may ask for additional information regarding your or your child's financial needs.

 

Eligibility criteria for funding may vary, so it is possible that you or your child may be eligible for support under one program but not another. It is also worth noting that some programs or services may have limited funding available, and you may be placed on a waiting list

Funding Pathways

NDIS

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is the way that people with disabilities are being financially supported in Australia. It is managed by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

The NDIS works on an individual basis with people who have been diagnosed with a disability or disorder, or who are suspected as having a disability or disorder, to determine a funding plan for reasonable and necessary support. Some supports may also assist the carers of people with a disability or disorder.

If you or your child receive an NDIS plan, it will outline your (or their) goals and aspirations in relation to these outcomes. Being part of the NDIS means you or your child will get access to the support you need to meet these goals, regardless of your situation or diagnosis.

To determine whether you or your child is eligible, you can complete a checklist on the NDIS website. If you meet the criteria, you can find out how to become a participant on the website.

Medicare

Medicare is Australia’s universal health care scheme. It guarantees all citizens access to a wide range of health services at little or no cost.

The Chronic Disease Management Plan, the Better Access to Mental Health Plan and ) are all Medicare plans designed to support people living with autism. The Medicare Safety Net can help with high out-of-pocket costs for some Medicare services.

The Better Access to Mental Health Plan provides you or your child with up to 10 sessions per year with mental health professionals – like psychologists, mental health occupational therapists and some social workers – using the Medicare rebate. This referral can be accessed through your GP.

Group sessions – such as a social skills group or emotion regulation groups – can also be claimed under this plan, but you will need to check whether Medicare covers them first

Centrelink

Centrelink, managed by the Australian Government Department of Human Services, delivers a range of payments for children or adults with autism, or caring for people with autism.

Carer Allowance

The Carer Allowance (child) is a means-tested payment for people who care for children with disability or disorder at home. If you are eligible it is paid as a fortnightly cash payment, and additional one-off payments are also announced from time to time. Once your child is 16 or older, you can arrange to swap to a Carer Allowance (adult).

Carer Payment (child)

The Carer Payment (child) is a means-tested payment for those who cannot support themselves, because they’re caring for a child with a disability or disorder. It is a fortnightly cash payment.

Once your child is over 16, you can arrange to swap to Carer Payment (adult).

Child Disability Assistance Payment

If you are receiving the Carer Allowance for looking after a child with a disability or serious illness, you may be eligible to access the Child Disability Assistance Payment, an automatic yearly payment, as of the 1 July each year. The payment is $1000 for each eligible child who qualifies for the Carer Allowance.

Carer Supplement

The Carer Supplement is an annual payment of $600 to assist carers with the costs of looking after for a person with a disability or disorder.

To be eligible, you must be receiving the Carer Allowance or the Carer Payment as of the 1 July each year. You do not need to apply for the Carer Supplement – it will automatically be paid to you by Centrelink if you are eligible.

Disability Support Pension

From the age of 16, you or your child may be eligible for the Disability Support Pension. If eligible, the Disability Support Pension provides financial help if autism prevents a person from working.

Centrelink initiative: Health Care Card

When you receive the Carer Allowance, your child will be issued with a Health Care Card. It entitles your child to concession rates for prescription medicines and other concessions like discounted public transport for some cardholders, bulk billing by selected doctors and higher refunds through the Medicare Safety Net.

Centrelink payment: Carer adjustment payment

The Carer Adjustment Payment is a one off payment for children under seven who have a severe illness or a significant disability. If eligible, the maximum payment amount any family can receive is $10,000 for each child. There are several eligibility criteria, and the amount you receive is dependent on your family’s circumstances. The payment is non-taxable.

Young kids

Myth!  Did you know that you do not need a formal diagnosis in order to access the NDIS?*

*For children under 7, Under the early Childhood Approach, who meet the elibility criteria

How to Access the NDIS Early Childhood Approach

Check eligibility criteria, and contact your Local Area Coordinator/Early Childhood Partner for support.

Gather your evidence for your access request

Attend a planning meeting with an NDIS representative and set goals for your child

Once your request has been approved you can start accessing support

You can check your child's eligibility on the NDIS website or by calling the NDIS hotline on 1800 800 110. There are specific requirements that may differ based on your child's age. It is important to know that if your child is under 7, they do not need a diagnosis to access support or ABA therapy, if you have evidence that there is a developmental delay. In Penrith, your Early Childhood Partners are Lifestart and Northcott for children under 7. For children over 7, your local area coorindator is Uniting.

To apply for the NDIS, you will need to complete an Access Request Form, which can be found on the NDIS website or obtained by calling the NDIS hotline. You will need to provide information about your child's developmental concerns or disability, as well as any medical reports or assessments that support your application. Writing a carer impact statement can also be helpful.

Once your child's NDIS application has been approved, you will be invited to attend a planning meeting with an NDIS representative. This meeting will be used to discuss your child's needs and goals, and to develop a personalised plan for their support.

Once your access request has been approved, you will be allocated an NDIS plan. Your plan will stipulate what funds have been allocated and what they can be used for. Your funding can be managed differently depending on your needs. To learn more about plan management options, you can read our blog here.

Once you have chosen a service provider, your child can begin receiving early intervention services, which may include therapies such as Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), Speech Therapy, or Occupational Therapy. Your child's progress will be regularly reviewed, and their NDIS plan may be updated to reflect their changing needs.

To access therapy support at Scarlett's Autism Therapy Centre using your NDIS funding you must have Improved Daily Living Funding that is self or plan managed, and goals that relevant to our service.

Get an Assessment

We are able to conduct developmental assessments, that can be submitted to the NDIS as evidence, of your child's support needs. To learn more about our assessment process, you can read more here:

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