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Assistance Animal NDIS Application- what do you need to know?

Updated: Dec 15, 2023


So, you're pondering whether an Assistance Dog might be the right choice for you. More importantly, you're wondering if the NDIS would cover the expenses involved in purchasing, training, and caring for the animal.

The NDIS makes funding decisions based on various pieces of evidence, which you must provide:

  • Allied Health professionals need to confirm your need for an assistance dog (such as an OT assessment).

  • An Accredited Assistance Animal provider needs to confirm that the assistance animal can be matched to you and is qualified or undergoing training. They'll conduct an assessment to ensure suitability.

  • Statements from you regarding any prior experiences with an assistance animal.

First step:

Your initial step should involve engaging with an assistance animal and their training provider. NDIS will only consider funding for an animal trained by an Accredited Assistance Animal provider. These providers may be registered with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission or the relevant state or territory authority for assistance animals. You'll need to confirm their registration and request evidence from the provider.

You'll need to decide whether you want to source a puppy yourself and provide it for training or have your training provider handle all steps of obtaining and training the puppy. Not all options are available with every provider, so be sure to check with them first.

The following evidence needs to be obtained from the Accredited Assistance Animal provider:

  • Suitability Assessment (for you)

  • Confirmation that the animal has passed the local state’s Public Access Test (or the provider's ability to complete the test once the animal is trained)

  • Quote detailing the full cost of acquiring your assistance animal. If the animal isn't fully trained, the quote should include the initial payment and any progress payments.

You might encounter challenges finding an accredited assistance animal provider in your area due to extended waiting lists or closed bookings. This could considerably delay your ability to apply for NDIS funding. Therefore, it's advisable to secure a training provider or at least be on a waiting list before obtaining an OT Report to support your application.

Following Step:

After identifying your assistance animal provider, you can proceed to an assessment by an Occupational Therapist (OT). The OT will evaluate and recommend how the assistance animal should help with your disability support needs. NDIS will look for at least three active tasks the animal will perform to aid you due to your disability.

It might be helpful to gather support letters from family or friends confirming your capability to care for an animal if you're new to owning an assistance animal.

Consider your living environment's suitability for a dog and who will care for their daily needs.

You already have a suitably qualified Assistance Animal, but would like to apply for maintenance funding through NDIS?

An identical assessment and reporting process will be followed to request maintenance funding from NDIS for suitably qualified Assistance Animal. Prior to your OT Assessment, you will be asked to request some information from your training provider, who will be required to complete declaration as part of the Assistance Animal Report. Prior to submitting your OT report, you will also need to put together an annual spreadsheet of costs you wish to claim with all associated evidence. The process can feel convoluited and complex, so we advise you ask for assistance from your Support Coordinator or a trusted informal support ( like a friend or a family member).

We have extensive experience supporting participants in preparing Assistance Animal applications for the NDIS through comprehensive OT assessments. Our report format covers all NDIS requirements, ensuring you don't miss anything! It takes up to 2 weeks to provide the report following your OT assessment. However, remember, the OT report is just one part of the application. Your application won't be complete without all relevant information and evidence from your Accredited Assistance Animal provider.

Want more information? The NDIS has comprehensive resources regarding Assistance Animal funding available here: NDIS Assistance Animal Guidelines

For further details on how an Occupational Therapist's assessment can assist your Assistance Animal application, feel free to contact us at Flexiwell Group via email at [email protected] or call (07) 3532 5945.

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