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Aids and Equipment Program Top-up Fund for Children Guidelines

1. Introduction

The Top-up Fund for Children was established by the Victorian government in May 2012 to assist families and children with the cost of aids and equipment. The Top-up Fund for Children is available for: manual and powered wheelchairs and associated initial customisation; pressure cushions and walking aids for eligible children less than 18 years of age. The fund will improve the timely provision of aids and equipment for children. The fund will cover the full amount of funding required to meet the gap or difference between the maximum aids and equipment subsidy and the total cost of the item. Ballarat Health Services State-wide equipment program (SWEP) will manage the fund.

The purpose of these guidelines is to provide the framework for the operation of the fund.


2. Victorian Aids and Equipment Program

The Commonwealth Government established the Program of Aids for Disabled People (PADP) in 1981, the International Year of the Disabled. In 1987 the Commonwealth transferred funding and program administration responsibility for the PADP to the States and Territories. Since the initial transfer, the PADP has expanded significantly and become the key platform for the provision of aids, equipment, vehicle and home modification services in Victoria. In June 2001, the name was changed to the Victorian Aids and Equipment Program.


2.1 Program Overview

The Department of Human Services funds a range of aids and equipment programs which form the platform for the broader supply of aids and equipment to support people with a disability and the frail aged to remain living in the community.

The Aids and Equipment Program now operates from two state-wide services:

  1. 1. The SWEP manages:
    Aids and Equipment Program
    Continence Aids Program
    Domiciliary Oxygen Program
    Supported Accommodation Equipment Assistance Scheme
    Vehicle Modification Subsidy Scheme
    Top-up Fund for Children.
  2. Yooralla manages:
    Electronic Communication Devices Scheme.


2.2 Aim of the Aids and Equipment Program

The Aids and Equipment Program provides people with a permanent or long-term disability with subsidised aids and equipment to enhance independence in their home, facilitate community participation and support families and carers in their role.

The Aids and Equipment Program is a subsidy program with maximum subsidies for all items of aids and equipment.

A full list of the items and the applicable subsidy level available is outlined in the Aids and Equipment Program guidelines available at: http://swep.bhs.org.au/aids-and-equipment/guidelines


2.3 Aim of the Top-up Fund for Children

The fund supports families and children with the cost of the following items of aids and equipment:

  • manual wheelchairs and associated initial customisation
  • powered wheelchairs and associated initial customisation
  • pressure cushions
  • walking aids.

The fund will fully cover the gap amount between the maximum subsidy provided by the Aids and Equipment Program and the total cost of the equipment item.


2.4 Objectives of the Aids and Equipment Program Top-up Fund for Children

  • Assist families and children less than 18 years of age with a permanent or long-term disability with the costs of the above mentioned equipment.
  • Improve the timely provision of aids and equipment for children.
  • Reduce the amount of time families, case managers and therapists spend seeking additional funding for aids and equipment.
  • Provide a central point of access to additional funding to address the gap between the subsidy available through the Aids and Equipment Program and the actual cost of children's equipment.
  • Ensure the allocation of funds is undertaken in an equitable and transparent manner.


3. Eligibility & Available Equipment

3.1 Eligibility Criteria

In addition to applicants meeting the general eligibility criteria for the Aids and Equipment Program the eligibility criteria for the fund is as follows:

  • be less than 18 years of age when the Aids and Equipment Program application is received
  • have an approved Aids and Equipment application for available equipment
  • be listed on a Health Care Card or hold a Pension Concession Card.


3.2 Reissue Equipment

Where suitable reissue equipment is available, top up funding will not be provided. However if a reissue wheelchair is available and requires customisation to suit the child's needs top up funds will be used where there is a gap between the maximum subsidy and the total cost of the customisation.


3.3 Available Equipment List

Equipment Item Category Funded Equipment

1. Manual wheelchairs and initial customisations*

* Where the prescription for customisation is submitted at the same time as that for a wheelchair

Manual (basic chair) (15 kilograms or more)


Manual (light weight) based on medical or assessed need (less than 15 kilograms)

Wheelchair customising:
non standardised items/ features required because of the persons disability or disabling condition.

2. Powered wheelchairs and initial customisations*

* Where the prescription for customisation is submitted at the same time as that for a wheelchair

Wheelchair customising:
non standardised items/ features required because of the persons disability or disabling condition.
3. Pressure cushions Cushions

4. Walking aids

Walking frames, specialised walking aids:
The initial cost of the walker.

 

3.4 Maintenance, Repairs and Future Customisations

The Top-up Fund for Children covers the base cost for the equipment and the associated initial customisation of wheelchairs. Ongoing maintenance or repairs of walking aids and wheelchairs will be funded from the Aids and Equipment Program maintenance and repairs budget. Funding for future customisation of wheelchairs will be subsidised through the Aids and Equipment Program. Please note that funding does not cover assessment, therapy, or customisation for walking aids.


3.5 Equipment Ownership

Items of aids and equipment purchased through with the fund will remain the property of the Aids and Equipment Program.


4. Application Process

4.1 Assessment and Prescription

Consistent with the Aids and Equipment Program guidelines assessment of the child's needs and prescription for the equipment is required by the fund to ensure that the proposed equipment is the most appropriate to meet the child's needs.

The guidelines are available at: http://swep.bhs.org.au


4.2 Application Process

There are two ways that an application can be made to the fund as follows:
1. Submit a completed Aids and Equipment Program application together with a completed Top-up Fund for Children application form to SWEP.

Or

2. Submit a completed Aids and Equipment Program application to SWEP who will identify if the child may be eligible to apply to the fund and forward a Top-up Fund for Children application form to the child's family and advise the prescriber.

SWEP will advise the child's family and the prescriber in writing of the outcome of the funding application.

Please note that application forms for both the Aids and Equipment Program and Aids and Equipment Program Top-up Fund for Children are available at: http://swep.bhs.org.au/node/36

Please post or email completed forms to:

Postal address:
Top - up Fund for Children
SWEP
PO Box 1993
BAKERY HILL VIC 3354
Email: swep@bhs.org.au


4.3 Approval Process

  • Top-up funding will be approved subject to meeting the eligibility criteria for the fund.
  • If there are insufficient funds available, the urgency of the child's equipment needs will be assessed and the application will be waitlisted in line with SWEP's Priority of Access Guidelines that are available on the websitehttp://swep.bhs.org.au
  • Once funding is available, the application will progress to the Aids and Equipment program and the equipment will be ordered according to fund availability.


5. Retrospective or Reimbursement of Funding

The Top-up Fund for Children will not reimburse or provide funds for any costs associated with any items of aids or equipment that a person, family or organisation may have already purchased, either before or after their application to the fund has been lodged, regardless of their eligibility for this program.

SWEP must approve all applications to the Top-up Fund for Children, prior to the provision of equipment. The Victorian Aids and Equipment Program will not provide funds retrospectively.


6. Contact Details

SWEP:

Postal address: PO Box 1993
BAKERY HILL VIC 3354
Telephone: 1300 747 937
Facsimile: 03 5333 8111
Email: swep@bhs.org.au
Website: http://swep.bhs.org.au

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