Assistive technology is a term used to cover items and devices that can help you to become more independent and do things you may otherwise not be able to do because of your disability.
Assistive technology can include a range of items, from safety basics such as a shower stool to more advanced items like transfer aids or powered wheelchairs.
Purchasing assistive technology (AT) with your NDIS funds has become easier over the past few years. However, it’s still essential to follow the NDIS guidelines and ensure you meet the necessary requirements. Read on to find out more.
NDIS assistive technology basics.
Around 80% of people on the NDIS have funding for assistive technology in their plans.
The NDIS defines assistive technology as the “range of technological solutions that allow people with disability to be more independent and more connected.” (NDIS, Quarterly Report to Disability Ministers, Q1 2023-2023, p 137.)
The primary purpose of AT is to support participation at home, school, work and in the community. It also has an important role to play in wellbeing.
AT funded by the NDIS can include assistive items for recreation, household tasks, personal care, hearing equipment, vision equipment, personal mobility equipment and more. For more information about what may be funded, check out What is assistive technology under the NDIS?
Top tip: you must be able to supply evidence that any item you purchase with NDIS funds, including assistive technology, meets the reasonable and necessary requirements.
The three levels of assistive technology under the NDIS.
The pricing structure for AT under the NDIS changed in 2022, making it easier to access the technology you need, providing it meets NDIS requirements. For all assistive technology purchases, it is recommended that you obtain advice from an AT assessor or experienced professional first so you are more likely to get the best item for you.
Up to $1,500 an item (low cost assistive technology).
Items valued at up to $1,500 can be flexibly purchased with your Core supports budget. No quote is required. Low cost AT is generally more readily available in retail stores and online and requires little or no set-up.
$1,500 to $15,000 an item (mid cost assistive technology).
Mid cost assistive technology funding can be found in the Capital budget in your NDIS Plan. Written evidence from a qualified AT advisor is required to help you choose an item that is safe and right for you. Providing you have the relevant evidence, and the item is not considered to be high risk (see below) the NDIS will automatically approve funding for AT items valued at up to $15,000. No quote is required.
More than $15,000 (higher cost AT).
For AT costing more than $15,000, the NDIS needs an assessment by a professional AT advisor (sometimes called an AT assessor) and a quote for the proposed AT. In some cases, you may be required to show evidence of having trialled the item and demonstrate how it was effective for you.
Items in this price range tend to be more complicated and difficult to set up. Such items are “stated” under the Capital budget in your NDIS Plan meaning you can only purchase the item and model that’s included in your plan.
Caption: A table displaying three levels of AT
Top tip: The NDIS recommends getting advice from an AT advisor to make sure you get AT that’s right for you. An AT advisor may be an allied health practitioner, continence nurse, rehabilitation engineer or another qualified practitioner.
Assistive technology and risk.
Aside from cost, another major consideration for purchasing assistive technology with your NDIS funds is risk.
The NDIS considers some items as higher risk than others. This means they have more potential to do harm when used in a daily living environment. Such items require a different approvals process.
Low risk assistive technology.
Low risk AT are items that are unlikely to cause harm in everyday life, are likely to be readily available in stores and are easily set up without help. They are usually but not always at the lower end of the price range such as modified eating aids.
Higher risk assistive technology.
Higher risk assistive technology is more complex. Higher risk items can cause harm or require professional advice, set up or training to use safely.
Examples include bedsticks and other transfer aids, motor vehicle adaptations, pressure care devices and prosthetics. Have more questions? Check out Assistive Technology FAQs.
Top tip: Before purchasing higher risk assistive technology, you need to obtain written advice from an AT advisor or assessor and will need to obtain a quote from the NDIS.
Getting independent advice and AT assessments.
If you have AT in your plan, you will also need to have at least $500 in your Capacity Building budget to seek advice from an independent advisor about your AT requirements.
You must keep a copy of the advice as the NDIS may ask for it later. It’s a good idea to upload it to your NDIS myplace portal so it is attached to your NDIS record. You can also upload this document to the Leap in! app so you have easy access if required at a later date.
Need more funding in your plan for AT?
The amount of funding in your plan is based on your goals and individual history of supports. Written evidence from an assistive technology advisor is usually required before the NDIS will put additional funds into a new NDIS Plan.
· What item you need
· How it helps with your disability support needs
· Why it is the best value way to help you pursue your goals
· The approximate cost
· Any other evidence that may help to demonstrate why this item is right for you, including lived experience or any trials you have completed.
It’s important to take this evidence to your next plan meeting or check-in. If you are unsure whether the NDIS will fund assistive technology for you, check out the criteria on the NDIS website.
We’re here to help!
Leap in! helps thousands of Members achieve their NDIS goals. Our award-winning app helps to manage NDIS budgets in real time, plus we offer monthly Budget Health Checks with over and under spending alerts to help stay on track!
Call us on 1300 05 78 78 to book your free NDIS pre-planning session or sign up to Leap in! plan management today.
Originally published 24 March 2022, updated 21 February 2023.