A sound knowledge of the available funding options for your child and family will help guide your child’s therapy and assist you to make informed decisions regarding their care. It may also make accessing therapy more affordable for you and your family.
Growing Together Psychology works closely with families to offer education and support surrounding access to a range of funding sources. However, please note that you do not require any medical referrals or rebated support to access psychology services at Growing Together Psychology.
This section will provide some basic information about psychology rebates, funding programs and general information:
- Medicare (Mental Health Care Plan rebates)
- Helping Children with Autism (Department of Social Services, formally “FaHCSIA“)
- Private Health Insurance
- Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) gap-free psychology
- Kids in Mind (ATAPS program)
- ECIS Flexible Support Packages
- Disabled Parking Permits
Mental Health Care Plans (MHCP)
GP’s may prepare a ‘Better Access’ Mental Health Care Plan (MHCP) to refer their patients for psychological support. MHCPs can be used by patients to access both individual and group sessions. Eligibility is assessed by your GP and close monitoring and review by your GP is recommended. A standard (“Better Access”) plan will allow for six therapy sessions, then following a GP review you may be eligible for another four sessions, to a maximum of ten claimable sessions per calendar year. Medicare pays a rebate for the cost of these sessions, this rebate is more if families have reached their Medicare Safety Net threshold. Please read more about the Medicare Safety Net threshold below. Our registered (Educational and Developmental) Psychologists attract a minimum $84.80 rebate under Better Access MHCP.
Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) and Chronic Disease Management (CDM) Plan
GP’s can also prepare EPC or Chronic Disease Management plans for children who require access to a number of different therapy services. These referrals can be used to access Psychology, Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Paediatric Physiotherapy services. An EPC referral allows a child to access up to five therapy sessions over a 12-month period. Medicare pays a rebate for the cost of these sessions (minimum $52.95), which is more if families have already reached their Medicare Safety Net threshold.
Helping Children with Autism (HCWA) Package (through Medicare)
These referrals are for the assessment, diagnosis and/or treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Medicare pays a rebate for a set number of Psychological, Speech and Occupational Therapy services (minimum $84.80 rebate per session). Families may be eligible to claim a greater rebate if their Medicare Safety Net threshold has been reached.
Under the Helping Children with Autism (Medicare) program, a child can be referred by a consultant paediatrician or psychiatrist for the following allied health services:
- up to four diagnostic/assessment services delivered by 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 delivered by 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).
Medicare Safety Net Threshold
The Medicare Safety Net Threshold provides financial assistance for individuals and families who accrue high out-of-pocket expenses for out-of-hospital Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) services. Once you have reached your Medicare Safety Net Threshold you may be eligible for additional medicare rebate assistance for MBS services for the remainder of the calendar year. You can find more information on the Medicare Safety Net Threshold at www.humanservices.gov.au
Individuals with a diagnosed Autism Spectrum Disorder, who hold a Health Care Card from Centrelink, are eligible for a reduced Medicare Safety Net Threshold to assist with the costs of health care services.
DSS/FaHCSIA’s Autism Early Intervention (AEI) Funding
Important Information for families about DSS/FaHCSIA Funding
- Funding is available for children under the age of 7 years who are diagnosed as having a Pervasive Developmental Disorder
- Autism Early Intervention (AEI) funding allows for $12,000 per child ($6,000 per year) to be used toward the cost of accessing eligible therapy services
- An additional $2,000 is available for remote and regional families
- Autism Advisors can assist families to determine eligibility and access funding.
Growing Together Psychology are a registered therapy service provider with DSS/FaHCSIA.
For more information regarding DSS/FaHCSIA funding you can contact an Autism Advisor on 1300 424 499 or visit the DSS/FaHCSIA website. http://www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/disability-and-carers/program-services/for-people-with-disability/helping-children-with-autism
Private Health Insurance
You may be eligible to claim rebates for therapy through your private health insurance provider. Growing Together is registered with all of the major private health insurance providers. Please speak directly to your private health insurance fund for further information regarding your eligibility.
Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) – gap-free psychology
ATAPS is a service providing access to free psychological (counselling) services through your GP, and based on meeting certain criteria.
If your GP decides that ATAPS is appropriate for you, they will generally make a long appointment with you to discuss the challenges you are experiencing and develop a plan to help you. Your GP can initially refer you for up to six sessions of assessment and treatment (12 session per calendar year) at Growing Together.
For more information, please visit - http://www.semphn.org.au/ataps
Kids in Mind (ATAPS) – gap-free psychology
Kids in Mind is an extension of the Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) program and provides much-needed short-term support to children who:
- display definite, or substantial, signs of an emerging mental disorder which causes them significant dysfunction in everyday life; or
- are at risk of developing a mental disorder and display one or more signs or symptoms (social, emotional or behavioural) of developing a mental disorder;
- and are covered by a Health Care Card.
Children are referred only with their parent’s or guardian’s consent.
Children do not need to have a diagnosed mental, behavioural or emotional disorder to access Kids in Mind.
Psychologists experienced in treating children deliver an initial three sessions with a referred child, with an option to receive additional sessions if required and subject to eligibility criteria.
For more information, please visit - http://www.semphn.org.au/ataps
Please contact us on 9077 2275 for information about appointments and psychology fees.
Carer’s Allowance provides carer’s with a fortnightly payment to support the costs of caring for a child with developmental delays or disabilities. An application must be signed by a GP, Paediatrician, Psychologist or Speech Therapist who is familiar with the child. This allowance is not assets or means tested. Centrelink can be contacted for further information - http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/dhs/centrelink
Health Care Card
Individuals or families who are eligible for a Carer’s allowance or payment may also be eligible for a Health Care Card. A Health Care Card entitles access to reduced rate PBS medicines, bulk billing health care services and other concessions. Many venues also offer free entry to carers upon presentation of their Health Care Card. Some utility companies also offer discounted rates to card holders. Health Care Card holders may also be eligible for the ATAPS (or Kids In Mind) gap-free program in the South East Melbourne Primary Health Network (including Bayside) region. We invite you to call us to discuss your options.
Early Childhood Intervention Support (ECIS)
Flexible Support Packages
Early Childhood Intervention Support (ECIS) provide a variety of specialist supports to families with children with a developmental delay or disability, prior to school entry, who require a range of additional services and supports that are not usually available through community services.
Families of children who are eligible for ECIS Services may apply for a Flexible Support Package to support access to a range of resources and supports. Growing Together can assist families with their application.
Medical Expenses Tax Rebate
You can claim a tax offset for your net medical expenses for the year over a certain level. This amount is indexed each year. There is no upper limit on the amount you can claim. Net medical expenses are the eligible medical expenses you’ve paid, less any available refunds from Medicare or a private health insurer. For further information please visit the ATO website - http://www.ato.gov.au
Previous interpretive decisions and private rulings illustrate that therapeutic treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders can be deemed a deductible medical expense. More information about specific therapies that can be claimed is available on the ATO website.
Disabled Parking Permits
You need to obtain an application from you local city council to apply for a disabled parking permit. Your council will require your GP to sign your application form. Most city councils in Victoria acknowledge that individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders are eligible due to their difficulty understanding and obeying road safety rules and their tendency to abscond (run away) and place themselves at risk near the road.