Ramesh is 38 has a spinal cord injury. His disability makes it hard for him to grip and lift things with his hands. Ramesh asks the NDIS to fund an automated door to the front entrance of his home, and automated lighting inside his home.
Would we typically fund this?
Yes, we can fund home automation supports that meet the NDIS funding criteria.
We can typically fund home automation supports that:
- relate to your disability
- are value for money compared with alternatives
- will benefit you in the long term.
Why would we fund this?
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.
You’ll need to give us evidence, like a report from an occupational therapist, that shows the home automation supports:
- are needed because of your disability
- are value for money compared with other supports that would achieve the same outcome, like assistive technology
- would be likely to benefit you in the long term.
What else do we think about?
We’ll think about if low or mid cost assistive technology could achieve the same outcome as your requested home automation supports would. You should explore assistive technology options first with your occupational therapist.
We’ll also think about what parts of your home it would be reasonable to fund home automation supports in. We would only fund home automation supports in the parts of your home that you need to access regularly.
We would talk to you about how you live in your home to work out what is reasonable and necessary.
We would not fund home automation to parts of your home you don’t regularly use, like the bedrooms of other adults.
If you want home automation supports that aren’t related to your disability, or to parts of your home you don’t need to regularly use, you can choose to pay for this with your own money.
Case example 1
Joanne is 52 and has multiple sclerosis. She lives in her own home with her 2 teenage children.
Joanne’s disability impacts her arm, hand, and fine motor skills. She also has a thermoregulatory disorder related to her disability, which makes it difficult for her to control her body temperature.
Joanne has a goal to be more independent at home. She talks to her occupational therapist about low cost assistive technology that could potentially help her achieve this. After looking into some assistive technology options, Joanne’s occupational therapist does an assessment and determines simple home adaptions or low cost assistive technology won’t address her disability support needs.
Joanne needs more specialised home automation supports in her home.
Based on her occupational therapist’s recommendations, Joanne asks the NDIS to fund:
- automated air-conditioning
- automated lighting.
Joanne gives her planner the assessment from her occupational therapist, which describes:
- why Joanne needs these home automation supports to address her disability support needs, specifically her thermoregulatory disorder in relation to the air conditioning
- why other supports, like assistive technology, will not be effective or beneficial at enabling Joanne to regulate her temperature and control the lights in her home.
Using this evidence, the planner decides both the automated lighting and air-conditioning meet the NDIS funding criteria because:
- they relate to Joanne’s disability
- they are value for money compared with other options that could achieve the same outcome
- they will enable Joanne to be more independent in the long term if her disability progresses, or if her children move out of home in the next few years.
The planner approves funding for air conditioning and its installation in both Joanne’s bedroom and the living area she uses most. They also approve funding for automated lighting in her bedroom, living area, kitchen and bathroom. The planner does not fund automated lighting and air conditioning to other rooms in the house.
Case example 2
Erik is 53 and has motor neurone disease. He uses an attendant propelled power wheelchair to move around and uses assistive technology to help him communicate.
Erik lives by himself, and has NDIS funded support workers who help him with personal care and daily activities during the day and at night.
Because of the impact of his disability, Erik is unable to operate switches and remotes in his home.
After talking about potential home modifications that could benefit him with his occupational therapist, Erik requests the NDIS funds a front door voice automation system and a video security system.
Erik’s planner looks at the evidence from the occupational therapist which shows the requested home automation supports:
- would help Erik operate his front door more independently
- would provide additional features to Erik’s home security
But the evidence from the occupational therapist does not show the home automation supports would increase Erik’s independence or reduce his need for current supports.
The planner determines Erik’s requested home automation supports do not meet all of the NDIS funding criteria.
The front door voice automation system is not value for money compared to other supports that achieve the same outcome, such as Erik’s support workers. Erik will continue to need help driving his powered wheelchair from his support workers, who will be with him to open the door whenever he enters and leaves his home.
The video security system is not related to Erik’s disability. Everyone needs to consider home security, whether or not they have a disability.
The planner is not able to fund these requested home modification supports in Erik’s plan.
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