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There are several channels of funding available for individuals on the autism spectrum, their families and carers that provide financial assistance to access services and supports to cover living and care costs.
Autism SA also has a fee for service option, a payment model where services are accessed individually rather than as part of a plan, and are paid for by the client.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
Autistic individuals, their families and carers may be able to receive financial support through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
The NDIS creates a funding plan that enables individuals on the spectrum of all ages to receive what is termed reasonable and necessary support. This funding can be used to access a range of autism services and therapies, as well as support in the community.
NDIS funding can be used to access a range of autism services and therapies, as well as support in the community.
This represents a person-centred approach that enables you to choose the sort of supports that you think will help you to achieve your goals through your individualised funding plan, as well as decode which providers and organisations you want to deliver your support. This means greater control and independence for individuals on the autism spectrum to live the life they choose in an inclusive society.
Funding for children aged under 7 is accessed via the Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) pathway. Individuals aged 7 years and over are funded via the regular NDIS Pathway.
How NDIS funding is allocated
NDIS funding is allocated according to an individual’s specific needs within eight outcome domains, depending on their life stage:
- Choice and control
- Daily living
- Health and wellbeing
- Lifelong learning
- Social, community and civic participation
Types of supports that can be funded
Some of the types of supports that can be funded through your NDIS Plan include:
- Daily living activities
- Transport, to enable participation in the community, social, economic and daily living activities
- Workplace support that enables you to successfully gain or keep employment
- Therapeutic supports, including behaviour support
- Support with household tasks to allow you to maintain your home environment
- Support provided by skilled personnel in aids or equipment assessment, set up and training, and
- Home modification design and construction.
NDIS Plan and support
An NDIS Plan is designed in consultation with a participant and their families or carers, and identifies Goals and Aspirations as well as how support will help these to be achieved.
NDIS support can assist autistic individuals to:
- Pursue goals, objectives and aspirations
- Increase independence
- Increase social and economic participation, and
- Develop capacity to actively take part in the community.
Autism SA supports available through NDIS funding
Autism SA provides a range of supports and services to individuals of all ages with a National Disability Insurance Scheme Plan.
These include, but are not limited to:
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Personal care support
- Behavioural support
- Mealtime and continence therapy
- AAC assessments and therapy
- Developmental education support
- Aquatic therapy
- School inclusion programs
- School transition support
- Individual mentoring and support
- Supported independent living, and
- Community-based support.
How to apply for NDIS funding
The Autism SA My Pathways Team provides guidance for autistic individuals and their families on applying for NDIS funding.
Our Pathways Consultants can assist and guide individuals on the autism spectrum and their families through the process of applying to become NDIS participants (we also work with people without autism).
In addition, once an NDIS Plan has been accepted and approved, Pathways Consultants can provide advice and guidance to help individuals choose therapies, interventions, programs and other services that will provide appropriate levels of support to meet their specific needs.
NDIS pre-planning support
Autism SA My Pathways Consultants can act as advisers to individuals on the autism spectrum and their families, and assist in the preparation of your application to become an NDIS participant.
Preparing for an NDIS planning meeting
An NDIS planning meeting is an important part of the process, as it is where you are able to define your goals and reasonable and necessary needs. Our Pathways Consultants can assist you to prepare for this meeting.
NDIS post-planning support
Once an NDIS Plan has been approved, the My Pathways team can assist in determining the best means of utilising your funding, and help you to access relevant programs, therapies and services, either through support that is available at Autism SA or from other providers.
NDIS Support Coordinators
Autism SA Support Coordinators help NDIS participants to coordinate and implement the supports in your plan, form formal and informal support networks, and build capacity to manage your supports independently.
Contact My Pathways to find out more about NDIS funding support
To learn more about the NDIS and the supports Autism SA can provide, please contact My Pathways on the Infoline on 1300 AUTISM (1300 288 476) or email email@example.com.
The Infoline is available from 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday and members of the team are available to answer questions regarding the NDIS and appropriate supports and pathways.
The Carer Allowance is a payment for parents or carers who are caring at home for an autistic child or adult. It is means-tested, and if you are eligible it is paid as a fortnightly cash payment. Additional one-off payments are also available from time to time, and it is adjusted annually in line with inflation.
If the person being cared for is a child under 16, they may also be eligible for a Health Care Card, a concession card that gives access to cheaper medicines and discounts on some services.
If you are caring at home for an autistic child, and this means you are unable to work or support yourself, you may be eligible for the Carer Payment. There are different rates of Carer Payment for single people and couples, and both the carer and the person you are providing care for need to be eligible. This is a fortnightly cash payment that is means-tested.
Child Disability Assistance Payment
If you are receiving a Carer Allowance to care for an autistic child, you may also be eligible to receive an annual Child Disability Assistance Payment, made as a one-off payment each year on 1 July.
If you receive the Carer Allowance or the Carer Payment, you may also be entitled to a Carer Supplement. This is an annual, one-off payment on 1 July which assists in meeting the costs of caring at home for a child or adult on the autism spectrum. No application is required, as Centrelink will automatically make the payment if you are eligible.
Disability Support Pension
If you are on the autism spectrum, aged over 16 years, and autism prevents you from working or being able to support yourself, you may be eligible for a Disability Support Pension. There are both medical and non-medical criteria that must be met before a Disability Support Pension can be received.
Health Care Card
If you receive the Carer Allowance for caring for a child under 16, they will receive a Health Care Card which provides discounts on medicines and some services (such as travel concessions, bulk billing and higher refunds through the Medicare Safety Net).
Carer Adjustment Payment
The Carer Adjustment Payment is an annual payment for parents/carers caring for a child under seven who is on the autism spectrum. To receive the payment, you must already be in receipt of a Carer Allowance, and there are other eligibility criteria in place as well.
Contact My Pathways to find out more
To learn more about what financial assistance and payments are available for individuals on the autism spectrum, their families and/or carers through Centrelink, please contact My Pathways on the Infoline on 1300 AUTISM (1300 288 476) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Infoline is available from 9 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday and members of the team are available to answer questions regarding Centrelink payments and other sources of financial support.
If you are waiting for an NDIS Plan and funding to be approved, or you are not eligible for NDIS funding, you can still access Autism SA services by covering the cost of any fees yourself.
Our Fee for service model is one where we provide supports and services separately rather than as part of a plan or package, with each being paid for separately. Fee for service pricing is aligned with NDIS rates.
Contact My Pathways to find out more
To learn more about our Fee for service provision and fees, as well as any other information about self-funded autism support and services, please contact My Pathways on the Infoline on 1300 AUTISM (1300 288 476) or email email@example.com.
The Infoline is available from 9 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday and members of the team are available to answer questions regarding our fees and the range of services that you can access.
Helping Children with Autism (HCWA)
Helping Children with Autism (HCWA) was a program funded by the federal government to assist parents and carers of children on the autism spectrum to receive services and support.
Helping Children with Autism (HCWA) has now been replaced by the NDIS.