The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has begun its national roll out and is on track to commence in parts of Gippsland in October this year. There is a lot of information available and it can be complex to understand so we wanted to take the time to make sure our clients are well informed. This is a huge step forward for those in Australia with hearing loss. Up until now there have been no funds available for those with hearing loss that are older than 26 years and not on a pension.
What is the NDIS?
The NDIS is a new way of providing support/funding to Australian citizens under the age of 65, with a permanent disability, including hearing loss.
Who is eligible?
To be eligible to receive funding for your hearing loss and related needs you must demonstrate that you are:
- Under 65 years
- An Australian citizen
- Encounter communication difficulties because of this hearing loss
- Have an average hearing loss of 23dB or more across 3 500Hz, 1kHz & 2kHz (likely eligible if you already have hearing aids)
- Not eligible to receive funding for your hearing loss through another agency (eg. Worksafe), or through pension benefits.
How to apply for NDIS funding?
To apply for funding through the NDIS you will need to get an access request from by calling the NDI agency (NDIA) on 1800 800 110. Although funding is not available in the Baw Baw, Latrobe valley, Bass Coast and South Gippsland Shires until October, applications can be accepted from April this year. Funding in Casey & Cardinia will be available from 1 September 2018 and in Wellington & East Gippsland from 1 January 2019. Applicants can be made up to 6 months prior to these dates.
Application process so far: As the NDIS is in its early stages (national roll-out only started in July 2016), they are still finding their feet with it being that hearing loss has been a particularly troublesome area.
What we know so far: Upon application you will need to provide supporting documentation about your hearing loss. This is to be completed by your hearing care provider and needs to include a recent hearing assessment and report. Gippsland Audiology is an accredited NDIS provider therefore your audiologist will be able to provide you with a report containing all the information required to support your application. Following the submission of your written application, including the report, you will be assigned a case manager who will work with you to develop your first NDIS plan. The plan will identify the reasonable and necessary supports you require to meet your immediate needs and start to identify and achieve your goals. Your plan will then be reviewed/renewed every 12 months. Once your NDIS plan has been approved and the necessary funds made available you are free to chose any registered hearing care provider to assist you with your hearing needs.
What will the NDIS fund?
The NDIS will fund reasonable and necessary supports. For those with hearing loss this includes appointments with your hearing care provider, hearing aids, ongoing maintenance/repair of your hearing aids and any other services that may help with other issues arising from your hearing loss, eg. psychology.
Apply early, given the lengthy processing time. Remember you will require a recent hearing test and report to support your application form. Visit ndis.gov.au or call them on 1800 800 110 to request and access (application form) or pop in and see any of our Audiologists to discuss further.