We can only fund an assistance animal if it’s a disability related support, which means the animal should help you with your disability support needs. This is different to an animal that helps you with needs that aren’t related to your disability, such as a pet. Pets can have many benefits for people whether they have a disability or not. We need evidence to show the assistance animal helps with your disability related support needs.
We use the La Trobe definition of an assistance animal to help us work out if the animal is a disability related support. We look at the 3 active tasks the animal does that means you can do things you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do because of your disability. That’s one way we help work out if it’s a disability related support. It also helps us understand how the assistance animal helps with your disability support needs more than a pet would.
When we decide whether an assistance animal is related to your disability, we’ll ask you about your support needs. We’ll discuss how the assistance animal can reduce the effects of your disability. This usually means it should help you need less other disability supports.
For example, if you have a vision impairment, we’d think about whether a dog guide would help you do some things you currently can’t do in your life. So, a dog guide could help you move around the community safely, do daily tasks at home, or get to and from work.
Another example is if you have post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and can’t leave your home because of your disability. An assistance animal would have to be able to help you do some things your PTSD stops you doing in your life. So, an assistance animal could help you get out into the community, meet with friends and family or go to work.