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13 August 2021

Would the NDIS fund it? Mobile phones, medicines and household items.

The NDIS funds many different types of supports depending on a participant’s individual needs and circumstances.

Sometimes, the NDIS will approve an item for one person but reject it for another. So it can be a little bit unclear which items you can purchase with your funds.

The NDIS has released some handy guides that can help you to determine if purchasing a support would meet the “reasonable and necessary” test. Read on to find out more.

A recap on “reasonable and necessary”.

If you’ve been reading our emails for a while now, chances are you’re familiar with the term “reasonable and necessary”. It’s a rule applied to every purchase you make with your NDIS funds.

Each item purchased with your NDIS funds should:

  • Help you achieve your goals
  • Be related to your disability needs
  • Be likely to be beneficial for you
  • Be good value for money.

The NDIS also considers living arrangements and informal supports provided by family members and friends.

Each NDIS participant has unique support needs, even if they have the same disability. That’s why the supports funded by the NDIS may be different from person to person.

The below examples help us to understand how the NDIS applies the reasonable and necessary test.

Mobile phones.

An example the NDIS would not fund:

Lisa doesn’t have a telephone or the internet at home. She wants a mobile phone to book appointments for her service provider and contact her support coordinator.

The NDIS would not fund a mobile phone as it is a day-to-day living cost that most Australians pay for themselves. A mobile phone is not required solely as a result of Lisa’s disability needs.

An example the NDIS may fund:

Sally lives with multiple sclerosis. Her therapist recommends using a smartphone app, which costs money to download, to track her daily energy consumption. Sally has also been thinking of upgrading her existing mobile phone.

The NDIS decides the app is not a day-to-day living cost as Sally needs it solely because of her disability needs. Even though a later model mobile phone is required to use the app, the NDIS would not fund that as it’s not related to Sally’s disability and is a day-to-day living cost.


An example the NDIS would not fund:

Hamish asks the NDIS to fund medication that may help him manage his disability. His doctor supports the request. People with similar disabilities have trialled the medicine.

The NDIS would not fund the medicine because other agencies in Australia fund this type of treatment. Even if it is not subsidised under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, the NDIS cannot pay for it.

Household items.

An example the NDIS would not fund:

Parvati wants the NDIS to fund a dishwasher and washing machine to help her manage better at home and be more independent.

The NDIS would not fund this request as the dishwasher and washing machine are common household items and are not disability-related supports.


An example the NDIS would not fund:

Ming’s disability means he has trouble breathing and keeping his airways free from infection. He regularly needs to use life support equipment. His area has an unreliable power supply, so he asks the NDIS to fund a backup generator.

The NDIS would not fund the generator because state and territory governments are responsible for power supply and backup power supply.

The NDIS may fund batteries or backup batteries for related assistive technology devices such as respiratory equipment.

Where to find out more.

The NDIS has created a series of examples that help participants to understand how funding decisions are made. The series includes examples of assistive technologies, health and wellbeing supports, mental health supports and more. You can find them at What does the NDIS fund?

Leap in! has also created a comprehensive guide to the types of supports the NDIS funds called What will the NDIS will pay for?


Want more great Leap in! stories?

Check out the News section of our website for all the latest stories from the Leap in! Crew.

If you’d like to get in touch with the Leap in! Crew, call 1300 05 78 78, email crew@leapin.com.au or chat with us online.

Further reading

What will the NDIS pay for?

NDIS budget areas explained: Consumables budget.

NDIS Plan budget categories explained.