Plan Management

How does the NDIS cover buying Assistive Technology and Equipment?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) helps people living with a disability access funding for particular costs related to their disability.

Often, you may need assistive technology (AT) or equipment to help you do things that you can’t do (or can’t do easily) because of your disability. 

So, how does the NDIS cover that? Let’s take a look. 

What is assistive technology?

As the World Health Organization explains, ‘Assistive technlogy helps people to live healthy, productive, independent and dignified lives, and to participate in education, the labour market and civic life.’ 

AT is a broad term that includes everything from non-slip bathmats to modified cars and high-tech gadgets. It’s designed to help you move, communicate, process information or complete other daily tasks. 

Having the right assistive technology may help you: 

  • Be more independent 
  • Do things more safely and easily
  • Need less help from others
  • Be more involved at school, uni or work. 

How does the NDIS consider assistive technology?

The NDIS divides AT into 3 categories based on its cost and characteristics. 

Low-cost AT Mid-cost AT High-cost AT
Cost per item Under $1,500   $1,500–$15,000  Above $15,000
Characteristics Easy to set up and use

Widely available

Harder to choose and set up alone Need an individual assessment

Need specialised set up

May be customised to your needs

  • Continence products 
  • Non-slip bathmats
  • Large print labels
  • Walking sticks 
  • Basic shower chairs.
  • Standing hoist
  • Customised shower chair 
  • Ankle-foot orthotics
  • Alternative communication devices
  • Some power wheelchairs
  • Pressure care mattresses
  • A custom-made wheelchair 
  • Some complex communication devices 
  • Many prosthetics
  • Ventilators 

How does the NDIS cover assistive technology?

The funding for AT will be noted in your NDIS plan. 

Low-cost AT will be listed in your Core-Consumables section. 

Mid-cost AT will appear in your plan’s Capital budget and may list a price range. It may say something like, ‘Funding provided for wheeled shower commode with a price range of $1,500 to $3,500.’ 

High-cost AT will also be in your plan’s Capital budget. It’s likely to name the type of AT and you’ll probably have to get a quote and supply it to the NDIS.

Generally, NDIS plans also include funding for maintaining, repairing, and replacing AT.

Should you buy or hire AT?

It depends. The NDIS lets you buy AT outright or access it through rental or loan arrangements. 

Obviously, you’ll buy smaller items that will be in regular use like a bathmat. There might be some items that you choose to borrow or rent though, especially if you’re trying them out to see if they’re helpful or if your needs are likely to change. 

What does the NDIS not cover when it comes to AT?

When it comes to AT, the NDIS does not cover: 

  • Home equipment that everyone uses that doesn’t relate to your disability such as a kettle
  • Treatment or rehabilitation equipment
  • Changes to public spaces like footpaths
  • Changes to public vehicles like buses, taxis or trains 
  • Assessment or therapy tools used by healthcare professionals. 

How do you get AT included in your NDIS plan? 

There are a few ways to get NDIS-approved assistive technology in your plan. You can: 

  • Raise the need for it in your next planning meeting to ensure it’s included in your next NDIS plan
  • Ask if you can use some of the funding in your current plan
  • Ask for a plan reassessment to consider the need for AT. 

Sometimes, the NDIS will ask you for evidence to support that you need AT, such as a letter from your care team. You may also have to provide quotes or other documents to help NDIS planners. 

Are you looking for guidance?

Understanding NDIS funding can be confusing and complicated. For help with managing your own or a family member’s NDIS plan, the plan management team at Instacare is here for you. 

We create practical solutions to help you gain full control over your NDIS plan, supports, and any AT you may need.