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

So, you are considering if an Assistance Dog is a good option for you and more so, if NDIS would approve the costs of purchasing, training, and maintaining the animal.

NDIS bases their funding decision on the multiple points of evidence which you must provide:

· Allied Health professionals to confirm you need an assistance dog (This can be and OT assessment)

· An Accredited Assistance Animal provider to confirm the assistance animal can be matched to you and is qualified or is being trained. They will carry out a suitability assessment to ensure.

· Statements from you, regrading any previous experiences with an assistance animal.

Your starting point should be with an assistance animal and their training provider. NDIS will only consider funding for an animal which has been trained by an Accredited Assistance Animal provider. An Accredited Assistance Animal provider may be registered with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission or with the relevant state or territory authority for assistance animals. You will need to confirm with the provider and request evidence of registration.

You will need to decide if you want to source your own puppy and supply them for training, or if your training provider takes care of all steps of obtaining and training the puppy. Not all options available with all providers, so check with them first.

Following evidence will need to be obtained from the Accredited Assistance Animal provider:

· Suitability Assessment (for you)

· Indication of the animal having passed local state’s Public Access Test (or confirmation of provider’s capacity to complete that test in the future, once animal is trained)

· Quote for the full cost of getting your assistance animal. If the animal is not fully trained, the quote should include amount or percentage of funds to be paid for initial and any progress payments.

You may find it difficult to locate an accredited assistance animal provider in your area, or they have extended waiting lists, or have their books closed. This could mean that it can take a considerable time before you are able to apply to NDIS for relevant funding. For this reason, we recommend you secure a training provider first, or at a minimum be on a wait list prior to obtaining an OT Report to support your application.

Once you have identified who you will use as your provider for the assistance animal, you can progress to the assessment by an Occupational Therapist (OT). An OT will assess and provide recommendations on how assistance animal should help with your disability support needs. NDIS will look for the minimum of 3 active tasks that the animal will do to enable you to do things you otherwise wouldn’t be able to due to your disability. They will also want to compare the other options for support with those active tasks to ensure an assistance animal provides best and most cost-effective option. Generally, this means that you need less of other disability supports as your assistance animal reduces the effects of your disability and replaces a requirement for costly assistive technology or 1:1 personal care support.

It may also be helpful to collect some support letters from your family or friends which confirm your ability to look after an animal if you have not been an assistance animal owner before.

You will need to consider your environment and if it is suitable for a dog, as well as who will look after them and tend to their daily needs.

We have significant experience in supporting participants with preparing their Assistance Animal applications for NDIS by completing comprehensive Assistance Animal OT assessment. Our report format takes in to account all NDIS requirements to make sure you don’t miss anything! It takes up to 2 weeks to provide the report following your assessment with an Occupational Therapist. However, as mentioned above, an Occupational Therapists report is only one piece of the application puzzle. Your application will not be complete without all relevant information and evidence from your Accredited Assistance Animal provider.

Would you like to know more? NDIS has developed very comprehensive information on all things relevant to seeking Assistance Animal funding. You can find it here:

If you want to know more about how an Occupational Therapists assessment works to assist your application for an Assistance Animal, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Flexiwell Group on [email protected] or (07) 3532 5945

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