What funding is available to access private speech therapy services?

Written by Sharon Powell

February 12, 2014

What can I claim back for private speech therapy services?

Private speech pathology services incur a fee. The fee charged will vary depending on the practice and the type of services needed.

Private Health Funds

You can claim rebates for speech pathology services from you private health fund depending on your level of cover  and the rebates offered by that provider. Contact your own health fund for information regarding your entitlements. If you are eligible for rebates, check that the therapist is a registered provider

Government Funding Initiatives

There are some government initiatives to assist parents with private practice costs, such as:

Chronic Disease Management (Medicare funding)                              

Children who have a chronic condition or require complex care that is managed by their GP may be eligible for rebates of  $52.95 for up to 5 sessions. Children need to be under the care of their GP and at least 2 other health care providers (eg. speech pathologist, occupational therapist, psychologist).

Follow-up Allied Health Services for People of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Descent (Medicare Funding)

For up to 5 sessions each calendar year for people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Descent who have been referred by their GP.

Medicare items Under the Helping Children with Autism program

A referral (for children under 13 years) by a consultant paediatrician or psychiatrist is needed to access up to 4 diagnostic /assessment and 20 treatment services from a psychologist, speech pathologist, occupational therapist, audiologist, optometrist, orthoptist or physiotherapist .

Other funding schemes:

Helping Children with Autism Early Intervention (FaHCSIA funding)                                            

This is a government funding package for parents to access early intervention services for children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD). To be eligible, children need to have had a diagnosis of ASD between the ages of 0-6 years. The funding provides up to $12000 up until the child’s 7th birthday. A maximum of $6000 can be accessed per financial year. This funding can be used to access a range of services such as speech therapy, occupational therapy and psychology. It can also be used for purchasing approved resources/equipment that would assist in providing therapy.

Better Start for Children with a Disability (FaHCSIA funding)                                                        

This is also a government funding package for families to access services for children who have a specific diagnosis of:  Down syndrome, Cerebral palsy, Fragile X Syndrome, Prader Willi syndrome, Williams syndrome, Angelmen syndrome, Kabuki syndrome, Smith-Magenis syndrome, CHARGE syndrome, Cornelia de Lange syndrome, Cri du Chat syndrome, microcephaly, moderate or greater vision or hearing impairment.  The funding provides up to $12000 up until the child’s 7th birthday. A maximum of $6000 can be used per financial year. The funding can be used to access speech therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and psychology, and for purchasing approved resources/equipment.

NB: There will be changes to the FaHCSIA funding over the course of the next 4 years transitioning to the National Disability Insurance Scheme, DisabilityCare Australia.

Tax Offset for Medical Expenses

You can claim a tax offset for eligible medical expenses you’ve paid for the year over a certain level (less any refunds from Medicare or a private health insurer) This amount is indexed each year.

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