Once you give us all the information and evidence we need, we’ll decide if we’ll fund the assistance animal. If we decide an assistance animal meets our NDIS funding criteria, we’ll include the funding for the assistance animal in your plan.
We’ll include the support in your Capital - Assistive technology budget. Your plan will describe the supports and what the funding can be used for, such as:
- the cost of the assessment to match the animal with you
- buying or leasing a suitable, and fully qualified assistance animal, or
- milestone payments while the animal is trained by an accredited assistance animal provider.
If you need to make milestone payments for the animal to be trained, we’ll usually fund the payments according to your plan management type and quote. For example, if you self-manage, we may fund all the money to your plan up front. Then you’re responsible for making the payments according to your service agreement and quote.
We’ll also include ongoing maintenance costs for the assistance animal in your plan. This will be described in your Core - Consumables budget. It will cover maintenance support as long as the assistance animal is a reasonable and necessary disability support for your needs.
If we decide an assistance animal isn’t reasonable and necessary, we’ll explain this to you and why we made this decision.
If you’re not happy with our decision to not fund an assistance animal, you can ask us to review our decision. We call this process an internal review.
Learn more about internal reviews.
What about any training costs once the assistance animal is qualified?
When you have a qualified assistance animal, you’ll need to learn to work together as a team. This is so you’re comfortable and safe using your assistance animal and it does the tasks you need it to do. The costs of this training is usually part of your quote from the provider.
The assistance animal provider will arrange the training for you and your animal. The training will usually be at their training centre and your home.
Generally, training to match assistance animals with their handlers takes 3 to 4 weeks. This is the same whether it’s your first assistance animal or you’ve had one before. You might need some other training for specific tasks. If you do, this will be explained in the quote from your provider.
Do we fund accommodation costs at the training centre?
We may fund accommodation costs for you to stay at the assistance animal training centre if it’s not close to your home. This allows you to focus on the training with less home life distractions.
We’ll think about all of these extra costs when we decide if the animal is value for money. That is, whether the total costs of the animal, and any extra costs, are reasonable compared to the benefits and the cost of other supports.
We don’t give you funding for meals while you stay at the assistance animal training centre. These are considered everyday living costs.
What if there are no accredited trainers close to where I live?
Training to use an assistance animal is an intensive program usually done in 2 week blocks.
Your provider may take into account any extra travel they have to do, when they quote for your assistance animal. We’ll look at all of these other costs when we decide if the animal is value for money.
That is, whether the total costs of the animal and any extra costs, are reasonable compared to the benefits and cost of other supports.