Equipment funding options

A range of funding options are available to people who are blind or have low vision to access equipment and technology they may not be able to afford. However these often depend on your financial status and where you live.

On this page:

National equipment funding schemes

Job Access Workplace Modifications

The Workplace Modifications Scheme pays for the costs involved in modifying the workplace or purchasing special equipment for new employees with disability. It is also available to existing employees if they have a change in duties, career progression, and change in disability, or a new modification becomes available that would increase their productivity.

Access to this funding requires applicants to undergo a formal assessment process. Eligibility for this program can be discussed when or if you attend an appointment at Vision Australia.

For further information visit the job access website.

Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA)

DVA funds a range of magnifiers and other low vision aids as well as everyday living and high cost equipment (such as video magnifiers, talking bar code scanner, reading machines) to eligible veterans who are blind or have low vision. Gold card holders and eligible white card holders (where the specific condition affects their vision) can access equipment.

Access to this funding requires applicants to undergo a formal assessment process.

Eligibility for this program can be discussed when or if you attend an appointment at Vision Australia.

Better Start for Children with Disability

The Better Start for Children with Disability program enables children with disabilities that affect their development, to access to intensive early intervention therapies and treatments from expert health professionals.

Up to $12,000 of funding is available to eligible families. Up to 35% of this funding can be used to purchase equipment for the child. For more information visit the Better Start for Children with Disability page.

Work Ventures

Work Ventures offers desktop computers from $250 which come installed with MS Windows XP Pro, Office XP and AVG anti-virus. This service is available nationwide for people in possession of a current Federal Government benefits card.

For further information visit the Work Ventures website or call 1800 112 205.

Telstra Disability Equipment Program

Telstra's Disability Equipment Program provides telecommunications equipment designed for people with disabilities to Telstra customers. Available equipment includes a big button telephone, Telstra bills in large print or braille and a braille TTY.

For more information about Telstra's Disability Equipment Program call the Telstra Disability Hotline on 1800 068 424.

Lions Visual Independence Foundation Funding Grants for ID Mate talking bar code scanner and Kapten Plus GPS device

Priced at more than $1,000, the ID Mate talking barcode scanner is a portable all-in-one product that allows an individual to identify items by scanning the product barcode.

The Lions Visual Independence Foundation provides funding grants that subsidise the cost of the ID Mate. Applicants must meet objective selection criteria.

For further information visitthe Visual Independence website.

Funding grants are also available to purchase the Kapten Plus GPS available from the Lions Visual Independence Foundation.

1.7 Quantum Technology scholarships

Quantum Technology is an assistive technology supplier that offers a range of product scholarships to successful applicants. Scholarships include a Mountbatten Brailler and JAWS Screen reader software.

For more information visit the Quantum Technology website.

State and Territory based equipment funding schemes

ACT

ACT Low Vision Aids Scheme

The ACT Low Vision Aids Scheme is available to people with low vision residing in ACT who have a Pension or Health Care card. The scheme will pay up to $100, every two years, towards the cost of magnifiers and other low vision aids.

Clients are required to pay the difference if aids are over this amount. Eligibility for this program can be discussed when or if you attend an appointment at Vision Australia.

NSW

NSW Spectacles Program- Vision Australia

The NSW Spectacles program provides spectacles, magnifiers and low vision aids once every two years, to eligible people with low vision through a registered program provider. To be eligible, applicants must be permanent residents of NSW and be in receipt of the maximum rate of a Commonwealth pension or benefit, as well as meet the strict criteria of the NSW government's means test and other guidelines. When applying for the program the Client must present a Centrelink Income Statement that is less than three months old.

For further information and to find out your nearest program provider, visit the NSW Spectacles page here, or contact Vision Australia on 1300 84 74 66 and ask for the Spectacles program.

Eligibility for this program can be discussed when or if you attend an appointment at Vision Australia.

Enable NSW

This is a means tested equipment funding scheme for people with disabilities. PADP funds items such as braillers, video magnifiers/CCTVs, adaptive technology software, and vibrating paging systems for people who are deafblind.

Children and adults with a permanent disability can apply and if funding is granted a $100 co-payment is required.

For more information visit the Enable NSW website.

Family Assistance Fund

Families with a child with a disability are eligible to obtain $2000 of equipment funding per year for that child.

For more information visit the Family and Community Services, Aging, Disability and Homecare website.

Technical Aid to the Disabled

The Technical Aid to the Disabled (TAD) or Gale Computer Loan Service refurbishes donated computers and loans these to people with disabilities. Volunteers refurbish computers and peripherals e.g. printers and scanners, install software and assist in installing computers in clients' homes (service only available in Sydney). Ongoing technical support is provided during work hours.

For further information visit the TAD website.

Victoria

Victorian Eyecare Service (VES)

Permanent residents of Victoria who have a pensioner concession card or who have held a health care card for at least six months can access low cost glasses and contact lenses. The VES does not fund magnifiers or other low vision aids.

Aids and Equipment Program

Vision Australia receives funding to administer equipment subsidies for Victorians who are blind or have low vision (this is funding from the Aids and Equipment Program).

This funding is used to fund equipment for Victorian clients through the Equipment Affordability Scheme, free cane provision and general equipment price subsidies.

Eligibility for this program can be discussed when or if you attend an appointment at Vision Australia.

Green PC

Green PC offer refurbished desktop computers and laptops. Desktop computers start at $99. This service is available to residents living in Victoria.

For further information visit the Green PC website or call 03 9418 7439.

Queensland

Green PC

Green PC offer refurbished desktop computers and laptops. Desktop computers start at $99. This service is available to residents living in Queensland.

For further information visit the Green PC website.

Northern Territory

Territory Independence Mobility Equipment Scheme (TIMES) equipment funding program is said to fund equipment for people who are blind or have low vision but this is yet to be tested.

Departments of Education, Catholic Education and Independent Schools

Funding available through the Department of Education and the Catholic and Independent Schools systems vary from state-to-state. They often rely on existing loan pools which mean access to more current technology is sometimes limited. You can discuss funding options with vision support teachers and the student's school.

Funding through tertiary institutions is often non-existent. Vision Australia's Further Education Bursaries can be explored. See below.

Vision Australia equipment funding options

Vision Australia's Recycled Equipment Pool

Vision Australia maintains a pool of donated equipment that its clients can access. Recycled equipment is loaned to clients who may be unable to afford equipment and are not eligible for other funding schemes. Low and high cost items are supplied depending on availability.

Eligibility for this program can be discussed when or if you attend an appointment at Vision Australia.

Vision Australia's Equipment Affordability Scheme

The Equipment Affordability Scheme aims to ensure that clients experiencing financial hardship will be able to obtain equipment essential for their safety and independence in basic everyday activities at the time of assessment and service delivery.

Eligibility criteria apply and this scheme is designed as a last resort when all other government funding programs have been exhausted and a suitable product is not available from Vision Australia's Recycled Equipment Pool.

Eligibility for this program can be discussed when or if you attend an appointment at Vision Australia.

Vision Australia's Further Education Bursaries

Up to $6000 worth of equipment and technology is funded to people who are blind or have low vision enrolling into some form of tertiary education. An application process exists.

Eligibility for this program can be discussed when or if you attend an appointment at Vision Australia.

Tax deductions and private health insurance rebates

Specialised assistive technology designed for people with disabilities may be claimed as a tax deduction.

For example, every student with or without a disability may be eligible for a rebate by the Australian Tax Office under the "education tax rebate." 

Furthermore, the Australian Tax Office has advised that the cost of some equipment designed for people who are blind or have low vision is now eligible for the medical expenses rebate.

The rebate means that 20% of all eligible expenses above $1,250 can be claimed. Approved products include a talking computer, reading system and video magnifiers, provided they have been prescribed by a medical doctor, optician or optometrist.

We recommend you consult with your tax agent or the Australian Taxation Office prior to purchasing any equipment.

Some private health insurance companies will reimburse the partial cost of some items such as magnifiers depending on your insurance coverage. Please contact your health insurance provider prior to purchasing any equipment.


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