Better Start for Children with Disabilities
The Federal Government initiative of the Better Start for Children with Disabilities allows for two separate funding packages for children diagnosed by a paediatrician with certain disabilities:
- Better Start for Children with Disabilities package: $12,000 for children diagnosed by a paediatrician with certain disabilities prior to their 6th birthday, with funds accessible until the child’s 7th birthday. This is triggered by a letter from your paediatrician.
- Better Start for Children with Disabilities Access to Treatment (or Item 137): a Medicare item number billed by your paediatrician prior to your child’s 13th birthday which allows access to 20 sessions with allied health service providers specializing in the management of CP. These can be accessed up until your child’s 15th birthday.
Eligible conditions include:
- Cerebral palsy
- Deaf blindness
- Hearing impairment (4 frequency average hearing loss 40dB or worse in the better ear)
- Sight impairment (6/18 or worse in better eye after correction)
- Down syndrome
- Fragile X syndrome
- Prader Willi syndrome
- Williams syndrome
- Angelman syndrome
- Kabuki syndrome
- Smith Magenis syndrome
- CHARGE syndrome
- Cornelia de Lange syndrome
- Rett's disorder
- Crit-du-Chat syndomre
- Microcephaly (< 3rd centile with development delay < 2SD)
School services (DEECD and Catholic Education Office)
The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) and the Catholic Education Office both have funding criteria for Physical Disability, which may be accessed by the child's school depending on the extent of the child’s disability. The school is responsible for submitting an application, generally requiring a letter of support from the treating paediatrician.
See Community Services index for further information and relevant links.
Carer's Allowance and Payment
Carer’s Allowance (approx. $120/fortnight, non-means tested) and/or Carer’s Payment (approx. $780/fortnight, means tested) are available through Centrelink to some children diagnosed with disabilities or developmental delay, dependent on the level of impairment of the child.
Certain conditions grant automatic access to a Carer's Allowance.