Rebecca doesn’t have a telephone or internet service connected to her home. She asks us to fund a mobile phone so she can access the internet to book appointments with her service provider. Rebecca also wants to use the mobile phone to stay in contact with her support coordinator.
Would we fund this?
No, we won’t typically fund a mobile phone as it’s a day-to-day living cost. A mobile phone is unlikely to be an extra living cost due solely and directly as a result of your disability needs. If you need a mobile phone because of another funded support, for example you need to talk to your NDIS support provider, it’s likely you would already be paying for phone calls as a day-to-day living cost anyway.
If you need a smart phone to use the internet, this is also a day to day living cost.
Why wouldn’t we fund this?
Mobile phones and smart phones are a general household item. Most Australians have them, and most of the community uses them. We can’t fund things that every Australian expects to pay for themselves as a day-to-day living cost.
Even when your disability means you may benefit from a mobile phone or a smart phone, the cost of the phone is unlikely to be an extra cost solely and directly because of your disability needs. Options like a personal computer, would achieve the same benefit. Computers are also a day-to-day living cost. We would ordinarily expect every Australian to pay for their own smart phone or personal computer.
And even if you need the mobile phone because of another funded support, e.g. to talk to your NDIS funded therapist, it’s likely you would need a phone for reasons unrelated to your disability. Most Australians need a mobile phone for things like communicating with friends and family.
To work out whether a support is reasonable and necessary for you, we look at the information you give us against the NDIS Funding Criteria. For example we may look at whether you can access a device through informal networks or in the community, such as from your local library.
What other related supports might we fund?
While we wouldn’t typically fund a mobile phone, we may fund a smart device such as a tablet if the cost of the electronic device is an extra cost due solely and directly as a result of your disability needs. For example you need software, such as a screen reader, which changes how you use the smart device. Refer to Smart Device -Tablets would we fund it.
Hanna lives with multiple sclerosis. Her therapist recommends she use a smart phone app to track her daily energy consumption. This would help her to better manage task organisation and pacing of her activities to minimise her fatigue when performing her daily living tasks. Hanna already has a smart phone, but it is old and she has been intending to buy a newer model. The therapist has confirmed the app is compatible for use on the newer model phone she is wishing to purchase.
Hanna asks us to fund a mobile phone as well as the cost of the app the therapist recommended. She supports her request with the therapist’s written recommendation of its likely benefits. She also includes a quote for the price of the phone.
When working out whether the funding for the mobile phone and apps are reasonable and necessary, the planner considers the information provided against the NDIS Funding Criteria. The planner looks at whether:
- Hanna’s need for the mobile phone and app are solely and directly as a result of her disability needs
- there are other options to an app which would achieve a similar outcome
- the mobile phone app will be effective and beneficial for Hannah, in line with current best practice
- her therapist has considered or run trials with other options before recommending this app
- the mobile phone and app are value for money when compared with the cost of other options which may achieve the same benefit.
The planner decides the following:
- The app is not a day-to-day living cost. Hanna needs it solely and directly as a result of her disability needs.
- Hanna already has a mobile phone and has been looking at purchasing a new model due to it being old. Her plan to purchase a new phone is not related to her disability needs.
- The therapist’s recommendation states the app will help Hanna to complete all of her daily activities independently by assisting her to manage her energy reserves more effectively.
- The therapist’s recommendations support the app as the simplest and cheapest of the options available.
- The app, which requires a new model mobile phone to operate, is value for money when compared with cost of other options which calculate energy consumption and assist users to manage limited energy reserves.
This means the funding for the app is reasonable and necessary and is approved. The mobile phone is not considered reasonable and necessary as it’s not related to Hanna’s disability and she was already planning to upgrade her old phone. It’s considered a day-to day living cost. As funding for the mobile phone is not reasonable and necessary, we don’t fund it.
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