Mobility scooters give those with disability a level of independence that they would not otherwise have. Being able to attend local events and go out with friends will enrich their social lives and improve their mental and emotional health.
Unfortunately, portable mobility scooters and wheelchairs can be expensive. If you’re in need of a mobility scooter, it’s good to know what kind of support you can get from the government.
To help you out, here’s what you need to know about government funding for mobility scooters. Specifically, we will be taking a look at the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the Victorian Aids and Equipment Program (VA&EP).
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
The NDIS was formed in 2013 and became fully operational in 2020. It is a Federal Government scheme that aims to fund the costs of significant and permanent disability. If you want to know if you’re entitled to full NDIS funding, you will need to check the eligibility criteria.
To access the NDIS, you must be aged between 7 and 65. You need to be an Australian citizen, a permanent resident or hold a Protected Special Category visa. You will also need to have a significant or permanent disability. According to the NDIS, a significant disability is one that prevents you from doing normal, everyday tasks. If you need help from another person, need to use special equipment, or need to make modifications to your home, then you will be able to access the scheme.
Additionally, if you want to access early intervention support, you must have a permanent disability or be a child aged 0-6 with significant hindrances with development.
If you’re not eligible for NDIS funding, please see the Victorian Aids and Equipment Program section below.
- NDIS Plan
If you’re planning to buy a mobility scooter or a wheelchair through the NDIS you will need to create an NDIS plan. This usually involves speaking to someone from the NDIA about your personal details, the current support that you receive, how you do everyday activities, your goals and the specific equipment that you’ll require. All of this information will help the NDIS give you the support plan that suits your needs.
During the planning conversation, you might want to talk about how you’d benefit from a mobility scooter, what kind of scooter you need, how much money you’ll need to buy and maintain said scooter and any other related costs.
Before going to the planning meeting, it might be worth doing a bit of research on your own to find the right mobility scooter for you.
Victorian Aids and Equipment Program (VA&EP)
If you’re a Victorian with a disability and you don’t meet the NDIS’s eligibility criteria because of your age, residency status and functional impairment, you can apply to the Victorian Aids and Equipment Program.
TO be eligible, you must either be a permanent resident of Victoria or hold a Permanent Protection Visa, Humanitarian Visa or be an asylum seeker. If you’re on a visa or if you’re an asylum seeker, you also need to require assistive technology on a permanent or long-term basis.
On the other hand, you will not be eligible if you live in an Australian Government-funded aged care facility, receive aids and equipment through other government-funded programs (like the NDIS), are able to claim private health insurance or an inpatient of a public or private hospital.
- Home care packages
For those who are receiving an Australian Government home care package, you may be able to apply to the aid and equipment program.
If you’re receiving Home Care level packages 3 and 4, you are eligible to apply for power wheelchairs, scooters or home modifications. If you are receiving level packages 1 and 2, you will only be eligible to apply for the items already available through that program.
- Funded organisations
If you are eligible for the VA&EP, you will need to contact the right government-funded organisation.
With relation to mobility, the relevant organisations are the Aids and Equipment Program, Support Accomodation Equipment Assistance Scheme and the Vehicle Modification Subsidy Scheme (VMSS). All of these organisations are managed by the State-Wide Equipment Program (SWEP).
If you reside in another state, make sure you check the relevant local government pages for more information.
This was just a general guide to help you get started. If you have any concerns or questions, please visit official NDIS or state government pages. Since mobility scooters can change one’s life for the better, It’s worth doing a little bit of research to find out if you’re eligible for government assistance.