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Autism Spectrum Australia

Financial assistance

Financial-related FAQs and answers and links to other useful resources.

Questions

1. What financial support options are available to me in the home, to care for my child who has a diagnosis of ASD?

2. My child has just been diagnosed with austism spectrum disorder (ASD). What options are available next and can I get any funding assistance?

3. What is the Helping Children with Autism Package?

4. Do I need to use the funding within two years?

5. What happens if I spend over $6000 in a financial year?

6. Can I use my funding with more than one provider?

7. Can I use the funding and the Medicare rebates at the same time?

 

Can't find what you are looking for? Please contact Aspect customer service on:

1800 277 328 or (02) 8977 8377

or email us at:

customerservice@autismspectrum.org.au

 

Answers

1. What financial support options are available to me in the home, to care for my child who has a diagnosis of ASD?

There are additional expenses associated with caring for a child or adult with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and income may be reduced by the demands of the caring role. For example, one parent may need to stop work to care for their child full time. This is recognised through the provision of benefits by the government. Centrelink is the Australian Government agency that provides payments and services to support those in need. However, the process of claiming benefits can be confusing, with complex eligibility criteria that may require specialist interpretation, or change over time.

Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) also offers a number of educational and diagnostic services for children who have or who may have an ASD. Some of these services are eligible for a Medicare rebate and some services qualify for funding under the government's Helping Children with Autism (HCWA) package. Conditions apply.

Download the Apect Diagnostic Assessment Service Flyer

Download the Aspect Building Blocks (Early Intervention Service) Brochure

Useful Links:

Helping Children with Autism (Department of Health)

Helping Children with Autism (Department of Social Services) (previously the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs or 'FacHsia')

Centrelink

Carers NSW

If you would like more information on any of the above, please contact our dedicated customer service team on: 1800 Aspect (1800 277 328)

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2. My child has just been diagnosed with austism spectrum disorder (ASD). What options are available next and can I get any funding assistance?

If your child is under six, you are entitled to register for the government funding (Helping Children with Autism) through the Autism Advisor program. They will also advise you about Early Intervention services in your area.

Early Intervention can greatly improve the quality of life for children with autism spectrum disorder.

If your child is older than six, you will be able to access funding through Medicare for private programs.

Download the Early Days Workshops Flyer

Download the Aspect Early Intervention Services Brochure (Building Blocks)

Useful Links

Helping Children with Autism (Department of Health)
Helping Children with Autism (Department of Social Services) - (previously the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs or 'FacHsia')

If you require any assistance in your booking you can also call our dedicated customer service team on 1800 Aspect (1800 277 328)

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3. What is the Helping Children with Autism Package?

The Helping Children with Autism (HCWA) package is an Australian Government initiative providing support for children aged 0 - 6 years with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), their families and carers. The package was introduced by the Federal Government in October 2008 and has a number of components which include:

  • $12,000 of early intervention therapy and services for children with ASD until their 7th birthday. This is also referred to as Helping Children with Autism (HCWA) funding, or FaHCSIA funding
  • Medicare items for assessment and treatment for children with ASD, to be written before the child’s 13th birthday.
  • Early Days workshops for parents and carers of children aged 0-6
  • Positive Partnerships Workshops for parents and teachers of school-aged children

The funding component of the Helping Children with Autism package is managed by the Department of Social Services which was previously the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA). Because of this, the funding is often referred to as FaHCSIA funding, or Helping Children with Autism (HCWA) funding. In total, you have a maximum of $12,000 to spend on early intervention services.

You cannot spend more than $6,000 in any financial year (from 1 July to 30 June each year). You have access to the funding until the day before your child’s seventh birthday, unless you spend your funding before then.

You can only use the funding with speech pathologists, occupational therapists and psychologists (and sometimes specialist teachers or intervention workers) who have been approved by FaHCSIA. Your Autism Advisor is your point of contact for any questions you have about the funding for the entire time you have access to the package. You can call or email your Autism Advisor at any time with any questions you have about the funding.

You will receive a monthly statement (called a Family Activity Statement) so you can keep track of how much of your funding you have spent and how much you have remaining. If you have provided an email address, this will automatically be emailed to you, otherwise FaHCSIA will post it to your mailing address.

If your provider feels that a particular piece of equipment or a resource is important to your child’s therapy, they can purchase this equipment using your child’s funding if you agree. You can spend up to 35% of the funding in this way. It is important to remember that you can only spend your funding on equipment if your provider feels it is integral to the therapy goals.

Download the Early Days Workshops Flyer

Download the Aspect Early Intervention Services Brochure (Building Blocks)

Useful Links

Helping Children with Autism (Department of Health)
Helping Children with Autism (Department of Social Services) - (Previously the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs or 'FacHsia')

To contact the NSW Autism Advisors, please follow these steps and call: 1300 978 611

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4. Do I need to use the funding within two years?

Usually not, although it depends on the age of your child. Because you can spend up to $6,000 in any financial year (July to June) and there is a maximum of $12,000 to spend, many people mistakenly believe that they need to spend the full $12,000 within two financial years. You can spread the funding over as many financial years as it takes before your child turns seven.

The exception to this is if your child turns seven within the first two financial years of your funding, then this would mean that you have limited time to use your funding and any funding that remains after your child’s seventh birthday will be forfeited.

Contact your Autism Advisor if you want clarification on how long you have to access the funding in your particular circumstance.

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5. What happens if I spend over $6000 in a financial year?

If you reach your $6,000 limit before the end of the financial year, you will be required to pay for any additional therapy out of your own pocket or you will need to stop therapy until the next financial year begins. There is no way that you can borrow money from a previous or the next financial year to pay for therapy, even if your child is about to turn seven and you won’t be able to access the remainder of your funding in the following financial year.

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6. Can I use my funding with more than one provider?

Yes you can. The funding can be used with as many providers as you wish, as long as they are on the Department of Social Services (FaHCSIA’s) provider panel. You may choose to do individual speech therapy with one provider, enrol in a social skills group with another provider, and complete a parent training program with a third provider, for example. Each provider will ask for a copy of your letter so make sure you bring it to your first appointment.

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 7. Can I use the funding and the Medicare rebates at the same time?

Yes. There are a number of circumstances where you can be accessing the FaHCSIA funding and the Medicare rebates at the same time. An example is if you are using a therapist who is not on FaHCSIA’s panel but is registered with Medicare. You could use your Medicare rebates with this therapist, saving your FaHCSIA funding for use with a therapist who is registered for the Helping Children With Autism program.

If you find that your funding does not spread across the entire financial year, you can also switch to using the Medicare rebates if you have spent your $6,000 allocation, as long as your therapist is registered with Medicare. Speak to your provider about this when you are nearing the end of your funding. Some parents choose to pay for some sessions each year, and claim the Medicare rebates for these sessions, to help spread their funding out over a longer period of time. Speak to your provider if this is something you would like to do.

You cannot ask the therapist to bill Medicare and then pay the gap using your FaHCSIA funding.

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