Helping Children with Autism Early Intervention Package (HCWA)
The Helping Children with Autism package (HCWA) is delivered by the Australian Government, Department of Families, Housing, Community Service & Indigenous Affairs. (FaHCSIA)
Following diagnosis, families contact an Autism Advisor in their state or territory who will provide information regarding eligibility, available funding and Early Intervention and other support services. Often the Paediatrician will send a referral once a diagnosis is given and an Autism Advisor will contact you to schedule a meeting. The Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) made new Medicare items for children aged less than 13 years for diagnosis/assessment and treatment planning (see below under MEDICARE).
This package aims to help address the need for support and services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. This package is funding of up to $12,000 to use for approved early intervention support and services, provided by the FaHCSIA. Families must apply for the Helping Children With Autism early intervention package before the child turns 6 years of age, but has up to the age of 7 years to use the funding. This funding is in addition to Early Childhood Intervention Services (ECIS). ECIS services are provided through Specialist Information and Services Team Central intake.
Phone: 1800 783 783
Families of children with a disability may be eligible for a range of disability related payments from Centrelink including:
A supplementary payment for carers who provide additional daily care and attention for someone with a disability or medical condition. Carer Allowance is not income and asset tested, it can be paid in addition to wages or other income support payments such as Carer Payment or Age Pension. See more.
An income support payment for people who personally provide constant care in the home of someone with a severe disability or illness, or for multiple children/adults who’s level of combined care is equal to someone with a severe disability. The Carer Payment is subject to an income and asset test, and it is worthwhile enquiring whether you would be ineligible due to income before filling in the rather extensive form. See more.
Carer Adjustment Payment
A one-off payment following a catastrophic event when a child under 7 years of age is diagnosed with a severe illness, medical condition or major disability. A diagnosis of ASD can qualify, the application must be received within two years of the diagnosis. See more.
Health Care Card
Provides help with the cost of prescription medicine under PBS, Australian government funded medical services, and access to state, territory and local government concessions. Your child will automatically receive on when you apply for Carer Allowance. See more.
Phone: 132 717
Helping Children with Autism
The Medicare items available through the Helping Children with Autism program are early intervention services for children undergoing diagnosis/assessment or treatment for autism. Medicare items are available for assessment, diagnosis and the creation of a treatment and management plan by a consultant paediatrician or a psychiatrist for a child aged under 13 years. When a treatment and management plan is in place, the medical practitioner who develops the plan can refer a child for allied health treatment services, providing the child is aged under 15 years and had a treatment and management plan prepared for them before their 13th birthday. Only one autism treatment and management plan can be prepared for a child in their lifetime. Under the Helping Children with Autism program, a child can be referred by a consultant paediatrician or psychiatrist for the following allied health services:
- up to four diagnostic / assessment services from psychologists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, audiologists, optometrists, orthoptists or physiotherapists to assist the referring practitioner with diagnosis or to contribute to a child’s treatment and management plan (for a child under 13 years of age).
- up to twenty treatment services from psychologists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, audiologists, optometrists, orthoptists or physiotherapists (for a child under 15 years of age, providing a treatment and management plan is in place before their 13th birthday).
Better Access to Mental Health Care
The Better Access to Psychiatrists, Psychologists and General Practitioners through the Medicare Benefits Schedule (Better Access) initiative aims to improve outcomes for people with a clinically-diagnosed mental disorder through evidence-based treatment. Under this initiative, Medicare rebates are available to patients for selected mental health services provided by:
- general practitioners (GPs)
- psychologists (clinical and registered)
- eligible social workers and
- eligible occupational therapists.
Referral can be by a GP managing the patient under a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan, or under a referred psychiatrist assessment and management plan, or a psychiatrist or paediatrician. Allied mental health services under this initiative include psychological assessment and therapy services provided by clinical psychologists, and focussed psychological strategies services provided by appropriately qualified GPs and eligible psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists. Health professionals are free to determine their own fees for the professional services they provide. Charges in excess of the Medicare rebate are the responsibility of the patient. Your GP or psychiatrist/paediatrician can refer you for up to six individual or six group allied mental health services.Depending on your health care needs, following the initial course of treatment, you can return to your GP or psychiatrist/paediatrician and obtain a new referral to obtain an additional four sessions to a maximum of ten individual and ten group services per calendar year.
Chronic Disease Management
CDM enables GPs to plan and coordinate the health care of patients with chronic or terminal medical conditions, including patients with these conditions who require multidisciplinary, team-based care from a GP and at least two other health or care providers. There are two types of plans that can be prepared by a General Practitioner (GP) for Chronic Disease Management:
- GP Management Plan (GPMP) and
- Team Care Arrangements (TCAs)
Once you have a GPMP and TCAs in place, you can be referred for up to five allied health services each calendar year. Only your GP can decide whether you should be referred for these services, and the type and number of services required. The five services can be provided by a single allied health provider or shared across different providers. You can request that your GP refer you to an allied health provider you already know, or your GP can recommend one. Eligible allied health providers include:
- Aboriginal Health Workers
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners
- Diabetes Educators
- Exercise Physiologists
- Mental Health Workers
- Occupational Therapists
- Speech Pathologists
Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) ENDING SOON:
ATAPS enables GPs to refer consumers to ATAPS mental health professionals who deliver focussed psychological strategies services. ATAPS mental health professionals include psychologists, social workers, mental health nurses, occupational therapists and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers with specific mental health qualifications.
Through ATAPS, patients are eligible for a maximum of 12 sessions per calendar year – six time-limited sessions with an option for a further six sessions following a mental health review by the referring GP. Sessions can be individual and/or group therapy sessions. ATAPS provides patients with assistance for short-term intervention. This service provides treatment for people experiencing symptoms of common disorders of mild to moderate severity such as, depression and anxiety, including children from 0 – 11 (inclusive) who have, or are at risk of developing a mental, behavioural or emotional disorder whose family is financially disadvantaged.
This is different to the Medical Benefits Schedule (Better Access) initiative and they can not be used together. Check the website or speak to your GP or paediatrician for more information about how to qualify for this service.
If you are in a health fund, it is well worth checking what you are covered for. Depending on the benefits you have, you may be able to claim a substantial amount. It can be worthwhile shopping around to see if you can get a better deal from another fund, as the amounts of Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Psychology etc that is covered varies widely. Don’t just look at how much you get back per session either, the amount per year is important too, especially if you are likely to need therapy continuously.
Roads & Maritime Services (RMS)
Carers Registration Concession
On 9 August 2010, an increase in vehicle tax was introduced for cars, buses, trucks and plant vehicles between 976 kg and 2504 kg tare weight. Registered operators who are Commonwealth Carer Allowance recipients are eligible for a concession on this increase for one vehicle at a time. For joint registered vehicles, both operators must be Commonwealth Carer Allowance recipients. If you are not already exempt from paying vehicle tax (e.g. you hold a Pensioner Concession Card) and you are a Commonwealth Carer Allowance recipient, you may be eligible for a refund of the additional vehicle tax.