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What On Earth Is Happening With The Low Cost Assistive Technology Threshold?

Has the threshold increased? Can quarterly reports be trusted? Evie investigates.

By Evie Naufal

Updated 15 Apr 20242 Dec 2019

Update: the NDIA has released some clarification. Apparently, the threshold has only increased for 9 line items that have to be listed as reasonable and necessary in the participant’s plan. For all other low cost assistive technology items, the threshold is still $1,500. Read more here. (16 December, 2019)


When a quarterly report is released, it is honestly one of the highlights of our year. Yes, we know that is kind of sad. But the latest one, which came out a few weeks ago, did not disappoint (read our full analysis).

The report announced a number of big achievements for the NDIA, as well as a couple major changes. The biggest (and most exciting) of which was a massive increase to the price threshold for Low Cost AT, hidden away on page 38:

Low cost AT, for those of you not following along at home, is a series of line items that come under the Consumables support category. They allow Participants to use their Core support budgets to purchase low cost assistive technology without going through the whole quoting and approval process. Think things like bath mats, smart home devices or modified cutlery.

The threshold for what was considered “low cost” increased from around $500 to “generally under $1,500” in July this year. And according to this update, it was tripled again to $5,000 on 1 October.

This would be fantastic news for many NDIS Participants needing equipment or technology that falls in the price range. But sadly, it seems like this might be an update that is too good to be true. 

The Assistive Tech and Consumables Code Guide (think the Price Guide, but for AT) was updated on 1 December 2019 and continues to list the price threshold as $1,500. Moreover, there was no mention of this change in Sunday’s Price Guide update. We are also hearing reports from providers and Participants trying to claim at the higher threshold that their claims are being rejected. 

In all honesty, the most logical (and heartbreaking) explanation we have for this inconsistency is that the information in the quarterly report was wrong. Maybe they were going to increase the threshold, but changed their minds. None of us want to live in a world where quarterly reports can’t be trusted, but it seems to be the reality in which we find ourselves.

We’ll keep you in the loop as we hear more.

Authors

Evie Naufal

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