What is disability and parenting support
If you are caring for a child with a disability, there is support available to you. This page will help you find and get the right support for your family.
The government support you get depends on where you live. Some support is for everyone in Australia. Other support is provided by state and territory governments.
National Disability Insurance Scheme
If your child has a significant and permanent disability, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) supports them and your family. The aim is to help your child in their daily life so they can reach their goals, and to provide support as early as possible to reduce the impact of their disability for the future.
The NDIS is available across Australia. You can check whether your child is eligible.
If you have received Better Start payments, they have now changed to the NDIS. Call 1800 800 110 to see if your child is eligible for NDIS support. Better Start funding will stop when they have an approved NDIS plan in place.
If they are not eligible, they will continue to be supported under Better Start funding until the child turns 7, or when their funds have all been spent. There are some differences in some states. You can find out more on the Better Start website.
Other financial support
Payments for carers
Most financial support services are coordinated by Centrelink. You may be entitled to:
- Carer Payment: An income support payment if you give constant care to someone who has a severe disability.
- Carer Allowance: An additional fortnightly payment if you give daily care to someone who has a disability.
- Child Disability Assistance Payment: $1,000 for each child who qualifies for Carer Allowance.
There are a range of other payments for carers. Visit the Services Australia website for more information.
You may be able to get respite care. If you need emergency respite, call Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737.
Financial support for health care
Medicare may pay for health care, screening tests and scans, and some assessment and diagnosis sessions. You can find out more about what Medicare will pay for.
If you’ve spent over a certain amount on medical costs for your family in one calendar year, you may be eligible for extra financial support through the Medicare Safety Net.
You may also be eligible for a Health Care Card, which gives discounts on prescription medication and concession prices on items like public transport tickets, taxi fares and utility bills.
Financial support for child care
The Department of Education, Skills and Employment can contribute towards child care costs associated with providing extra care for your child because of their disability through the Inclusion Support Program. Your childcare service needs to apply for this funding.
If your child is over 5 and has severe or permanent incontinence, you can get financial help from the Continence Aids Payments Scheme (CAPS). Payment is made by Medicare directly into your bank account.
Support in your state or territory
There are other health and support services available, depending which state or territory you live in. For example, they may pay for aids and equipment to help improve your child’s quality of life.
- ACT — Community Services
- NSW — Communities & Justice
- NT — Office of Disability
- Qld — People with disability
- SA — Care and Support — Disability
- Tas — Department of Communities
- Vic — Department of Families, Fairness and Housing — Disability
- WA — Department of Communities
Non-profit and charity support services
Reimagine Australia helps families of children who have disability or developmental delay find services and navigate the service system. It’s a good starting point to find out about what services are available to you.
Siblings Australia provides support, information and resources for the siblings and families of children who have a disability, chronic disease or mental illness.
Playgroup Australia is the national peak body representing playgroups. They can help you find a playgroup that will suit your child’s special needs.
There are also many state-based non-profit organisations that provide services and support to children with disabilities and their families, including:
- Northcott (NSW/ACT) 1800 818 286
- Yooralla (Vic) 03 9666 4500
- SCOPE (Vic) 1300 4 72673
- Novita (SA) 1300 668 482
- Activ (WA) 08 9387 0555
- Baptcare (Tas and Vic) 13 22 78
Many non-profit organisations provide support and advocacy for people with a specific condition, for example, Vision Australia, CPL or Down Syndrome Australia. Depending on your child’s disability, there might be a specific support network available to you.
Parent support groups
There are many parent support groups, such as My Time, which can provide you with information and other resources about parenting and caring for children with a disability.
Carer Gateway is a national online and phone service that provides practical information and useful resources for carers. Search the Carer Gateway website, call 1800 422 737 or use their interactive service finder to locate your nearest carer support services.
More information about disability and disability services
Pregnancy, Birth and Baby provides guidance, information and support, and can link you with other support services in your community. Call 1800 882 436 or video call, 7am – midnight (AET), 7 days a week.
Raising Children Network provides evidence-based information about disabilities, including online forums that connect you with other parents and a information on disability services to help you access and find out more about the services available to you.
Service Seeker is an online tool that finds health and community services in your area.
You can also visit the National Disability Gateway if you need help to find and access disability services across Australia.
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Last reviewed: September 2021