Unlocking Opportunities: NDIS Laptops – A Guide to Accessing Technology Assistance

In today’s digital age, access to technology is more crucial than ever. For individuals with disabilities, having the right tools can greatly enhance independence, communication, and productivity. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in Australia recognizes this need and provides avenues for acquiring essential devices like laptops through funding assistance. 

NDIS Laptops

Flexible Low Cost Assistive Technology

During the COVID 19 lockdown the NDIS introduced a flexible approach to purchasing low cost assistive technology. Whereby, participants are allowed to spend up to $1,500 on assistive technology items, such as smart devices and fitness equipment, in consultation with their existing providers.

This means they no longer needed to get approval from the NDIS to pay for these items as long as they were under $1,500, it meets the NDIS funding criteria and is reasonable and necessary.

They have decided to continue this scheme which in practical terms means if a laptop or ipad is under $1,500, is directly related to your disability, and the cost of the device is an extra cost that is solely and directly because of your disability needs, then the NDIS may cover it. 

The following items and circumstances are excluded from the flexible low cost AT policy:

  • smart phones, tablets or iPads with mobile-only 3G, 4G or 5G connections (though you can upgrade from a wifi only device to one of these devices using your own money)
  • purchase of multiple devices (that do similar things) for the same participant
  • internet connection and data, these are considered ordinary living costs (utilities)
  • applications (apps) or software (most apps/software for continuity of support needs is free, very low cost or is provided by the support provider)
  • additional hardware or accessories, other than standard protective cases.

Have a look here for more information.

How do I know if its directly related to my disability?

Smart devices and computers are a general household appliance. Most Australian homes have them, and they are used by most of the community. A household appliance that most people are likely to have at home is a day-to-day living cost, not funded by the NDIS.

For example, if someone needs to magnify or read out print or other images because of a significant vision impairment, or if you need an alternative communication device as your only way to communicate. 

To find out if it relates directly to your unique disability, contact your support coordinator or LAC. 

Will the NDIS pay for an ipad for Support Continuity?

During lockdown the NDIS started paying for ipads for participants for support continuity. Meaning to help participants continue receiving their supports online.  At the time of writing, they are still doing this.

It provides you a budget of $750 (for a basic model + protective cover) In particular, you need to demonstrate the iPad is:

  • needed to maintain or improve the delivery of funded NDIS supports like a program, therapy, or requirement (for example physiotherapy or Auslan interpreting provided via video conferencing)
  • an item that is confirmed by your support provider (in writing) as needed to continue receiving supports and services while maintaining physical distancing/other health requirements;
  • the simplest solution/device required to maintain funded supports
  • not the same or similar to a device you already have, or could easily get access to;
  • not something another organisation could and would provide you; and
  • not specifically excluded by NDIS Rules (such as being illegal to supply or use).

Participants are advised that if a standard tablet, computer or iPad is required to participate in online video classes, these should generally cost no more than $600. A suitable protective case or bag (usually costing less than $100) should also be purchased to protect your investment from accidental damage.

See here for more information.

What type of laptop can I purchase

The type of laptop you can purchase really depends on the reasons why you need the laptop.

For support continuity, a standard tablet is all you most likely be funded for. 

If your needs are more complex you may be able to purchase something else. 

For example, if the participant has a visual impairment, they may require a laptop with a larger screen or specialized software. If the participant has a mobility impairment, they may require a laptop with a touch screen or a specific type of keyboard.

When selecting a laptop, it is important to consider the participant’s needs.

Guidelines for Payment and Costs

In the case of computer tablets or iPads for telehealth and care or participating in online video classes, advice from AT specialists is that most NDIS participants will not need more than a standard tablet, which costs no more than $600. 

This budget can be stretched up to $750, however, must include a details letter from a health professional as the increased requirement.

Any additional accessories or increased prices must be covered for by the NDIS Participants.

This will be paid out of your Assistive Technology, Core Supports category.

Contact your plan manager or your support coordinator on the process of getting this item paid for. 



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