We need to know that an assistance animal is value for money. We check if the assistance animal is the most cost effective support option for you, compared to other supports that might help in the same way for less cost.
When we think about value for money, we look at:
- if there are other supports that will help you in the same way for a much lower cost, such as other types of assistive technology , therapy supports or a behaviour support plan
- whether there’s evidence that an assistance animal will make life much better for you than it is now and be of long-term benefit to you. For example, we look at how the assistance animal will help you to do things, or manage your disability in a better way, with less help from other supports
- whether it’s likely to mean you’ll need less other supports funded in the long term. For example, it might mean you need less support from a support worker at home or to go out. To work this out we look at the long-term benefits of the assistance animal, such as how long it will help you, and the costs and benefits over time
- whether you need an assistance animal for your long term support needs
- whether the cost of the assistance animal is the same or similar to other assistance animals in your area
- how could the assistance animal help you to be more independent, and rely less on other funded and informal supports, including how long it would take to reduce your need for those supports
- how the animal will perform as an assistance animal, including the 3 active tasks it will do to help reduce the effects of your disability.
You might have funding in your plan for a support worker to help you get around the community. An assistance animal may be better value for money. This is because you may not need the support worker to help you get around the community once you have a dog guide.
For example, Rani has a support worker funded in her plan for 20 hours a week to help her get around in the community and do things like go to the shops and the library.
When we decide if an assistance animal is value for money for Rani, we look at the cost of the support worker over the long term. We then look at the cost of an assistance animal over that same period.
It could be that if Rani had an assistance animal it would replace or reduce the need for a support worker for most or all of those hours. We would look at whether the animal could help Rani do the same or more than she is able to with the support worker.
An assistance animal could also help her be more independent. Rani would be able to get around in the community when she wants to, rather than wait for her support worker. We would need to see if the assistance animal is better value for money in the long term.