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What is the Hearing Services Program?

The program currently provides services to a range of people with mild to profound hearing loss, including children and young adults, some Indigenous Australians and aged and disability pensioners.

The program is managed by the Office of Hearing Services in the Department of Health. The program is delivered through HEARING SAVERS and through other accredited providers.

The program has two components: Community Service Obligations (CSO), delivered by Australian Hearing and the Voucher Scheme.

What is the NDIS?

The NDIS is a new way for people to get disability support that takes an individualised and life-long approach through community linkages and individualised plans. This means rather than providing support based only on the number of services or type of hearing devices available under the program, the NDIS will provide funding so people can get the reasonable and necessary support they need, based on their individual hearing needs, goals and aspirations. These supports may include linkages to existing services and supports within the participant’s community, and/or reasonable and necessary funded supports.

The NDIS is not means tested.

To become an NDIS participant a person must be under 65 years of age and have a permanent disability that substantially reduces their ability to participate effectively in activities, or perform tasks or actions without some type of support or assistance.

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is an independent statutory agency whose role is to implement the NDIS, which will support a better life for hundreds of thousands of Australians with a significant and permanent disability and also support their families and carers.

When is the NDIS being rolled-out?

The NDIS is currently being trialled in seven jurisdictions: New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. Trials will continue through 2015-16.

From 2016-17 the NDIS will start to transition to full-scheme roll-out in six jurisdictions: New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, Queensland and the Northern Territory. The Australian Capital Territory will reach full-scheme at the end of its trial. Transition to the full-scheme is yet to be agreed in Western Australia.

When will program clients transition to the NDIS?

Nationally, program clients who are eligible for the NDIS will transition to the NDIS by 2019-20.

Eligible program clients are encouraged to apply for the NDIS, once they are able to access the NDIS, to ensure that there is no gap in services and so that their experience can inform transition planning.

How do I become an NDIS participant?

The NDIS has been designed to support people with a significant and permanent disability who need assistance with every day activities. People can become participants in the NDIS (as the trial sites roll out) if they meet either the disability or early intervention requirements.

Current clients of the program can test their eligibility for the NDIS with the NDIA if the NDIS has rolled out in their location and they meet relevant age criteria.

People who are not currently clients of the program can independently contact the NDIA to test their eligibility for the NDIS.

NDIS Access Online checklist

Which program clients will transition to the NDIS?

Hearing Services clients will transition to the NDIS who:

  • are aged under 65 years of age;
  • have a permanent hearing loss; and
  • have a significant loss in functional capacity to communicate and/or socially interact without support (such as hearing devices) or assistance.

To date, program clients who have become NDIS participants are those who have a permanent hearing loss and have been fitted with a hearing hearing aid. The NDIA is developing evidence based guidelines to support consistency in decisions about accessing the NDIS and reasonable and necessary services for people with hearing loss.

Will voucher clients who are not eligible for the NDIS because they are 65 years or older still be able to access hearing services?

The majority of people who receive a voucher from the program are over 65 years of age and are therefore unlikely to be eligible for the NDIS. Voucher clients who are not eligible for the NDIS will continue to receive services through the program in the usual way.

What happens if I become an NDIS participant before 2019-20?

NDIS participants will continue to have access to the program at their current level of support for as long as they remain eligible for hearing supports.

If you have been issued a voucher, you can continue to access services through your usual hearing service provider. Your provider will claim funding from the program in the usual way.

As an NDIS participant, you may be able to access other NDIS supports if they are considered reasonable and necessary, including additional supports offered by registered NDIS hearing service providers.

Office of Hearing Services WorkCover accredited Seniors Card Discounts NDIS SHHH


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