FaHCSIA Funding – Better Start For Children with Disability (Better Start) Initiative

Sensational Kids OT is an Early Intervention Service Provider and is eligible to receive funding for clients 0-6 years of age, of up to $12,000 per child, for services provided over a two year period.

The Australian Government has announced $122 million in funding over 4 years to provide services and support to children up to 15years of age with a disability that affects their development.

Under the Better Start for Children with Disability (Better Start) initiative – Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome and moderate of greater vision or hearing impairment, including deaf blindness will be considered for eligibility.


Who is eligible for this funding?

From 1st July 2011 children who are aged under 6years and have been diagnosed with one of the listed disabilities will be able to register to access the early intervention funding of up to $12,000 (up to a maximum of $6,000 per financial year).

Below are the eligibility thresholds for each of the disabilities included under the Better Start initiative. These thresholds were determined in consultation with an Expert Reference Group established by the Department.

Hearing impairment: children will be eligible if they have a hearing loss of 40 decibels or greater in the better ear, across 4 frequencies (including children with permanent conductive hearing loss and auditory neuropathy).

Sight impairment: children will be eligible if they have vision of less than or equal to 6/18 or equivalent field loss, in the better eye with correction.

Deafblindness: diagnosis by a specialist multidisciplinary team which includes an ophthalmological and audiological evaluation (therefore application of a threshold is not necessary).

Down syndrome: all children with a confirmed diagnosis of Down syndrome, including those with mosaic Down syndrome.

Fragile X syndrome: all children with a confirmed diagnosis of Fragile X syndrome with full mutation.

Cerebral palsy: all children with a confirmed diagnosis of cerebral palsy


What can the funds be used for?

FaHCSIA has established a panel of early intervention service providers of which Sensational Kids OT has applied. Families can spend the funding package at any number of these services.

Families can spend up to $6,000 per financial year, up to a total of $12,000.

Families can choose to spread the funding over the course of a financial year or may choose to use it within a short period of time whilst the child remains eligible.

Families can choose to use the funding to pay for whole sessions or can choose to pay for only a portion of a service and use their own money to pay for the rest of the service.

The funding will be able to be used to access early intervention services such as speech pathology, audiology, occupational therapy, orthoptics, physiotherapy and psychology. Families will have until the child’s 7th birthday to access the funding.


What can’t the funds be used for?

    • FaHCSIA funding cannot be used to subsidise the gap in Medicare funded services or any services that are fully funded by government.
    • FaHCSIA will not pay for cancelled or missed appointments. This will be the responsibility of the family.


FaHCSIA’s role in the funding package

    • FaHCSIA will reimburse Sensational Kids OT and other services you access in arrears on behalf of families for services delivered.
    • FaHCSIA will send out a monthly activity statement to families with information on where they have spent their funds and funding balances.


Sensational Kids OT’s role in the funding package

Sensational Kids OT is a member of the Early Intervention Service Provider Panel. Once you have been deemed eligible for the funding by FaHCSIA, you can receive services from us and we will be directly reimbursed by the government.

Sensational Kids OT’s role is to provide you with the therapy service. Assistance with obtaining and using the funding should be directed to your allocated intake officer.

It is important to note that Sensational Kids OT accepts this FaHCSIA arrears payment as a service to our clients, in order to receive payment from FaHCSIA we are required to complete additional paperwork and systems as well as submit quarterly reviews.


What happens when my child is no longer eligible?

Your child will become ineligible once they start full time compulsory school, turns 7 years of age or has used the $12,000 funding package.

Whilst they are no longer eligible to access the early intervention component of the Better Start Initiative, they may be eligible for other components.

From 1 July 2011, the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) introduced new Medicare items, please see the FaHCSIA website for more details regarding these plans.


What if we live in a regional or remote area where access to services is difficult and expensive?

Families living in regional or remote areas may also be able to access an additional $2000 in recognition of the challenges they face in accessing services. This will provide these families with options for accessing early intervention services, such as accommodation and travel to and from support, as well as training, respite and resources such as books and computers to access online information.

Eligibility for this payment will be based on the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia + (ARIA+) classification. Your Intake Officer will be able to advise you whether or not you are eligible for this payment.

You may also consider undertaking a treatment intensive to use your funding with Sensational Kids OT and allow you to access specialised services in more achievable ‘blocks’ of therapy.  Please contact us for more details.


Where can I get further information on the package?

If you would like more information about the Better Start Initiative you can click on the following link – FaHCSIA – Better Start Initiative

Although the above contact will provide you with the best information about the government funding, should you have any further questions or would like information about our service and how it relates to the package please contact us.