There are many support options available for you if your child has a disability. You will need to apply for any financial help, as assistance is not automatically provided. Knowing what support is available and how you can access it can make caring for your child easier.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme provides support if your child has a significant and permanent disability. The aim is to work with your child as an individual and give you choice about support. The NDIS is available across Australia, and is rolling out in Western Australia. Find out if the scheme is available in your area and if your child is eligible.
If you are receiving Better Start payments, these are transitioning to the NDIS. You should contact the NDIS to see if your child is eligible, if you haven’t done so already, by calling 1800 800 110. If your child is eligible, 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 are expended. There some differences in some states. You can find out more on the Better Start website.
Medicare offers a long list of rebates that may pay for some assessment and diagnosis sessions. You can find out more on the Medicare Benefits Schedule. The Government provides you with extra Medicare benefits if you’ve spent over a certain amount on medical costs in one calendar year, via 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.
There are also payments for carers, such as the Centrelink Carer Allowance, which supports people who care for a child with a disability at home. Both the carer and the child they are caring for must be eligible. The Carer Payment is an income and assets tested payment for those providing care for someone with a significant disability.
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 Subsidy. 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.
State and territory governments
Financial support from state and territory governments includes aids and equipment programs to provide financial assistance for things like custom-made shoes or walking aids to help improve your child’s quality of life. Contact the Department of Health and Human Services in your state or territory.
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Last reviewed: June 2020