Department of Social Services Funding: Early Intervention Programmes
Helping Children With Autism
To be eligible for this package, your child must be under the age of seven, with an autism diagnosis, and be registered by an Autism Advisor. Families will be able to access up to $12,000 funding, with a maximum of $6,000 per financial year.
Better Start for Children with a Disability
Families must be registered with the Registration and Information Service, operated by Carers Australia. They must also be diagnosed with one of the following conditions:
- Vision or Hearing Impairment
- Cerebral Palsy
- Down Syndrome
- Prader Willi Syndrome or Cri du Chat Syndrome
- Williams, Angelman, or Kabuki Syndromes
- Smith-Magenis or CHARGE Syndromes
- Cornelia de Lange Syndrome
- Rett’s Disorder
Families will be able to access up to $12,000 funding, with a maximum of $6,000 per financial year.
Medicare Benefit Scheme
For both schemes listed below, a treatment programme must be in place before the child turns 13. Medicare rebates are available until your child turns 15.
Helping Children with Autism
Medicare rebates are available for up to four assessment sessions, and up to 20 therapy sessions. You will require a referral from your child’s paediatrician to be able to claim these rebates. This programme can only be accessed once, and is not renewable once the sessions have been used.
Better Start for Children with a Disabilty
Medicare rebates are available for up to four assessment sessions, and up to 20 therapy sessions. You will require a referral from your child’s general practitioner to be able to claim these rebates. This programme can only be accessed once, and is not renewable once the sessions have been used.
Chronic Disease Management Programme
This programme can be implemented by your family doctor for children with chronic care needs (of which Autism is one). Medicare rebates can be claimed for five sessions each calendar year. The rebate can only be claimed for individual sessions.
National Disability Insurance Scheme
NDIS funding will eventually replace early intervention funding currently provided through the Department of Social Services. Speaking of Learning is a registered provider for NDIS services.
Other Sources of Funding
Some Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) provide funding for children’s allied health services. For example, parents may be able to access funds through Uniting Care or Baptcare.
Private Health Insurance Rebates
Private health insurance rebates are available with extras cover at some health funds. If you have private health cover, including extras, contact your health fund to see if they offer rebates for speech pathology services. Rebate amounts vary widely from one fund to another, and may increase once the Medicare threshold is exceeded.