Crucial tech support for vulnerable

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) recipients will be able to purchase assistive technology to help them through the COVID-19 crisis and self-isolation.

For the next four months, eligible participants will be able to flexibly use existing NDIS plan funding to purchase low-cost assistive technology, including smart devices, to enable continued access to disability supports through telehealth and telepractice while physical distancing regulations are in place for the coronavirus pandemic.

The funding is aimed at ensuring NDIS participants remain connected to their services and disability supports.

The initiative builds on previous coronavirus-specific supports announced for NDIS participants and providers, including outbound calls to high-risk participants, special teams of planners to assist participants, flexible use of funding to access disability supports and for providers, cash flow assistance and a 10 per cent COVID-19 loading on some services.

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) welcomed the new funding for assistive technology.

“Having access to the right phone or assistive technology is vital for people with disability to be able to access important telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said ACCAN director of inclusion Wayne Hawkins.

“Allowing NDIS participants to use their existing plan funding to purchase assistive technology is a very welcomed step by the government.”

Mr Hawkins explained that it was important for consumers to understand what mainstream and assistive technology is available and may best suit their individual needs.

“There is no one-size-fits-all approach to communications products for people with disability. Someone with a vision impairment is going to have very different needs to someone who is deaf.”

ACCAN’s accessible telecoms service provides free information about both mainstream and assistive communications products and services suitable for seniors and consumers with disability.

Consumers can also find training to help them use their new devices.

Will you be eligible for the funds for assistive technologies?

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Ben Hocking
Ben Hocking
Ben Hocking is a skilled writer and editor with interests and expertise in politics, government, Centrelink, finance, health, retirement income, superannuation, Wordle and sports.
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