What is Better Start ?
The Better Start for Children with a Disability (Better Start) initiative provides early intervention funding to children registered before the age of 6 years old who have a confirmed diagnosis (thresholds apply) of: Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, Deafblindness, Vision impairment, Hearing impairment, Prader-Willi Syndrome, Williams Syndrome, Angelman Syndrome, Kabuki Syndrome, Smith-Magenis Syndrome, CHARGE Syndrome, Cornelia de Lange Syndrome, Cri du Chat Syndrome or Microcephaly.
Children approved for Better Start Funding can access:
- Up to $12000 in funding for early intervention services ($6000 per financial year) and,
- Up to $4200 ($2100 per financial year) for appropriate resource purchases.
Families in outer regional and remote areas are entitled to a once off payment of $2000 to assist with accessing services.
Funding is accessible for use until the child turns 7 years old.
Accessing Better Start Funding
You must register for Better Start through the department and provide the following information:
- A completed Application form
- Your child’s Centrelink issued Customer Reference Number (CRN)
- Written confirmation of diagnosis and,
- Proof of child’s age and residential address
You will then receive a Letter of Introduction, which should be brought to all initial service visits.
Using your funding at Therapies for Kids
On your first Better Start visit with Therapies for Kids you will initially be asked;
- To show your Letter of Introduction,
- Sign the personal information and Consent to Claim Payment forms
- Begin signing the service provision record for each session attended (out of rooms clients will be mailed this regularly with a pre-paid return envelope)
NB: Better start sessions at Therapies for Kids are charged at a higher rate than other appointments due to the extensive paperwork and administrative support required to lodge and receive funds. Please talk to your therapist if you need further clarification.
Equipment claims :
If you wish to purchase equipment using your Better Start Funding, we are able to claim and then transfer the money back to you. In order to do this please ensure that :
- You have spoken to your therapist about the purchase to ensure that it meets the guidelines for resource purchases,
- Paid for the item in full,
- Give us a receipt from the purchase; we will take a copy.
- Sign the consent for claiming form and include your bank details (BSB and Account no.) to ensure a prompt transfer.
NB: This process can take up to 4 weeks.
Keeping track of your funding
All families are able to keep track of their funding using the Family Activity Statement emailed to you by FaHCSIA every month. This statement will show what you have spent up to the date of issue, however it may miss some entries due to the claiming process.
It is your responsibility to notify us when your funding is running out for the financial year or in total. We cannot access this information and do not wish to fall behind on claims. Any sessions, which are conducted after the funding has finished, will need to be paid in full ASAP.
Accessing Better Start after your child turns 7
If your child has one of the eligible conditions and is over 7 years of age, you may be eligible for 20 visits subsidised by Medicare, to use before he/she turns 15.
Rebates are available for:
- Assessment/diagnostic services which contribute to the creation of a treatment and management plan, put in place before they are 13 years old..
- 20 relevant allied health services, only once a treatment and management plan is in place.
These sessions must be paid for and then claimed through Medicare
To register a child for the Better Start early intervention funding parents and carers must call the RIS on 1800 242 636.
More information can be found at the FaHCSIA website: http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/