Why does NDIS want you to hire mobility aids prior to buy?
Are you an NDIS recipient and are wondering why the NDIS wants you to hire mobility equipment before they release the funds for you buy the item you really want?
The NDIS provides funding for assistive technology (AT) which are physical supports that help you either:
- do something more easily or safely
- do something you cannot do due to your disability
AT covers a wide range of products including apps, non-slip mats, special forks that assist you to eat, or things like electric wheelchairs, adjustable beds or even mobility scooters.
In this article we will cover AT product risk, the types of AT categorised under low, medium or high cost, additional features and funding and AT assessments.
Understanding AT product risk
AT ranges from the simple to the complex. The NDIS usually recommends participants to hire out high risk AT such as foldable lightweight electric wheelchairs prior to buying. Call our wonderful staff on 02 8740 8963 to find out how you can hire mobility equipment.
The NDIS has 2 product risk categories (‘low’ and ‘higher’) to assess the complexity of your AT needs.
- Low risk AT products are:
- unlikely to cause harm in day-to-day life
- available for trial and / or can be purchased in retail stores
- easy to set up and safely use without professional advice.
- Higher risk AT products may be one or all of the following:
- complex, such as a power wheelchair
- known to have caused harm
- used for a restrictive practice
- require professional advice, setup or training for safe use.
Refer to the Assistive technology product risk table for a detailed explanation of different risk levels of AT that will help you identify, find and access the AT you need.
Low, mid and high cost AT
The NDIS recommends you get advice from an AT assessor to make sure you get AT that’s right for you. They may recommend you to buy some items or hire mobility equipment depending on whether your needs are likely to change, if the product is high cost or if it is high risk.
This is because the NDIS needs to ensure that you will be able to use your product easily, you are happy with your product and that your product actually does help you achieve your goals.
The Assistive technology – Guide for minor trial and rental funding (DOCX 65KB) has more information about how the NDIS works out the funding to include in your plan for minor trial or short term rental of AT.
The NDIA has different processes for low, mid and high cost AT. You can learn more about the categories and which part of your budget the funding sits in the “How do we consider the cost of the assistive technology” section of the guideline:
- Low-cost assistive technology: under $1,500 per item
- Mid-cost assistive technology: between $1,500 and $5,000 per item
- High-cost assistive technology: over $5,000 per item.
The Assistive technology – Guide for low-cost support funding (DOCX 71KB) will help you understand how much funding you may need to buy low-cost AT.
Most electric wheelchairs you can buy off the floor at Gilani Engineering sits in the low-cost AT or mid-cost AT category.
Additional features and other funding sources
You can use your own money or funding from other sources, such as Job Access, to buy additional features or access additional services which may not fall under reasonable and necessary supports in your NDIS plan.
If you require the same or similar AT for multiple purposes and locations you should discuss your needs with your planner, local area coordinator or support coordinator.
The NDIS needs to understand your AT needs and how they will help you pursue your goals. They will need different information from you depending on the cost and risk. If they believe a product is high cost or risk such as electric wheelchairs Sydney they will most likely recommend you to hire mobility equipment
Some equipment or items will need an AT assessor to assess your needs and situation, and identify the most appropriate AT. The assessor may be an allied health practitioner, continence nurse, rehabilitation engineer, AT mentor or other qualified practitioner.
If you have AT in your plan, you will also have at least $500 included in your Capacity Building Improved Daily Living – Budget to seek advice from an independent advisor about your AT requirements.
You can learn more about AT assessments and how risk is assessed in:
The good news is that Gilani Engineering are Disability Equipment NDIS providers and can help you to hire mobility equipment prior to buying if you have NDIS funding or whether you just want to try something costly before you commit to buying it.
That is why we introduced a Hire To Buy program helping our NDIS participants to try out products before buying. This means that if you decide to keep your hired product then you just have to pay or use the NDIS funding on what is owing rather than paying again.
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