Assistive technology (AT) can help you be more independent and get around easier. But like any technology, it can break down and require repairs.
If you have assistive technology in your NDIS Plan, some funds for repairs and maintenance are usually included.
Today we’re looking at the types of AT repairs your NDIS Plan may cover, how to arrange repairs and what happens if you need urgent or out of hours repairs.
If you are looking for general information about the NDIS and AT, check out our previous story NDIS assistive technology approvals: All you need to know!
General AT repairs.
At your NDIS plan or plan reassessment meeting, you can either tell the NDIS how much funding you need for assistive technology repairs or they can calculate an estimate for you. It’s helpful to obtain information from your maintenance provider such as a priced schedule of services or a quote.
Common AT items that need annual repairs and maintenance include:
- Manual and electric beds
- Communication and cognitive support technology
- Power scooters and mobility devices
- Hoists and transfer equipment
- Orthotics and prosthetics
- Manual and powered wheelchairs
- Modified vehicles
- Life support AT.
- Small repairs like tyre punctures. Funds will be placed in your Core > Consumables budget.
- Major repairs and regular servicing or maintenance. Funds will be placed in your Capital > Assistive Technology budget.
- Accidental damage not covered by a warranty.
If you have flexible funds left after purchasing AT, these can also be used for minor repairs and maintenance.
Check your equipment after purchase.
When you first purchase AT, check that it’s fit for purpose, of acceptable quality and isn’t broken. If it does not work, contact your AT assessor or the company you purchased it from for a refund or replacement.
Be sure to keep your receipt and register the warranty in case you need to make a warranty claim in the future.
If the equipment stops working, check your purchase receipt and warranty information first to determine if the repair may be covered under warranty so you don’t have to dip into your NDIS funds.
Maintaining your equipment.
Like any asset, your AT equipment might need regular maintenance to keep it operating in top condition. If your plan has funding for repairs, you are able to have maintenance done when and as needed. You do not have to get an assessment first but it is a good idea to obtain a quote.
It is best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to regular maintenance so consider noting the due date for regular maintenance on a calendar or ask the repairer to send you a reminder.
How to arrange repairs for AT:
- Contact your repair provider.
- If you hired or leased the equipment, the supplier will usually take care of repairs. If you bought the equipment, contact your preferred AT repair provider. If you don’t have a preferred repairer contact your LAC or support coordinator.
- Book the repair. Check you have enough funds in your NDIS Plan to pay for the repair first.
- Get the item repaired. If you need a loan AT item while yours is being fixed, ask your AT repairer.
- Arrange payment for your repairs. This may be direct payment, by invoice or by asking your provider to lodge a claim with the NDIA depending on how this budget is managed.
Urgent assistive technology repairs.
The NDIA can provide an authorisation number over the phone if you need urgent AT repairs which may typically require approval i.e high cost. A repair is considered urgent if you depend on the equipment for safety, mobility, communication or daily living activities.
Equipment that is damaged or destroyed in a natural disaster such as a flood is considered an urgent repair.
If you need urgent repairs outside of regular business hours, then your equipment may only be able to be repaired so that it is ‘safe and usable’.
Criteria for urgent repairs:
- You own the item (it’s not leased, hired or owned by someone else). Proof of ownership may be required.
- Your NDIS Plan is active and you have received AT funding in the past five years.
- The repair (or hire, if required) is urgent and needs to be completed out of hours to ensure safe use or your safety.
- The cost of the repair or hire is in line with industry benchmarks (for details see Urgent AT repairs).
What if your AT is broken or needs replacing?
If your AT doesn’t work, is broken, breaks down continuously or is dangerous to use, the NDIS may fund a replacement. Replacements may also be approved if your functional needs significantly change or you outgrow the AT.
If you have planned ahead for a replacement, funds will be included in your AT budget. If you do not have enough funds to replace an item of AT, you will need a plan reassessment.
Leap in! can help.
Our friendly and knowledgeable plan managers help NDIS participants all over Australia to navigate the NDIS and manage their NDIS budgets. To find out more about the benefits of plan management, talk to one of our crew by calling 1300 05 78 78 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Story originally published 3 March 2021 and updated 1 November 2022.