Financial Assistance Programs
For some people, it is necessary to use continence products such as pads, pants, bedding protection products and more to manage their condition. For some people, the continence products may be needed long term so the costs can add up.
A continence clinic or the National Continence Helpline can provide you with information about your eligibility for funding schemes, which may assist with the ongoing costs of purchasing and replacing continence products from SoDiscreet.com.au.
Note: An assessment by a continence nurse advisor is recommended to ensure that you or the person you are caring for uses the most appropriate continence product, including the correct fit and application of the product.
There are various funding schemes available for continence products funded by Australian Governments. These schemes have differing eligibility criteria and funding allocations, and it is important to note is that you may be eligible to apply for government funding through several schemes. Australian Government funding schemes are open to all Australian citizens who meet the eligibility criteria, regardless of which state of Australia they live in.
Continence Aids Payment Scheme
The Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS) is an Australian Government Scheme that provides a payment to assist eligible people who have permanent and severe incontinence to meet some of the cost of their continence products.
Who can apply for the scheme?
A person is eligible for CAPS if they are five years of age or older and have one of the following:
- -Permanent and severe loss of bladder and/or bowel function caused by an eligible neurological condition; or
- -Permanent and severe loss of bladder and/or bowel function caused by another condition, provided the person has a Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card, whether as a primary cardholder or a dependant of a cardholder; or
- -Permanent and severe loss of bladder and/or bowel function caused by another condition, provided the person has a Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) Pensioner Concession Card, whether as a primary cardholder or a dependant of a cardholder.
A person is not eligible for CAPS if:
- -They are not an Australian citizen or a permanent Australian resident.
- -They are a high care resident in an Australian Government funded aged care home.
- -The person receives an Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH) or an EACH Dementia (EACHD) package and continence products are negotiated as part of the applicant's care plan.
- -The person is eligible for assistance with continence products under the Rehabilitation Appliances Program (RAP).
- -The person's incontinence is transient (non permanent); can be treated conservatively (eg. through pelvic floor muscle exercises) with medication or with surgery; or is confined to night time bed wetting (enuresis).
- -The person's incontinence results from a condition other than an eligible neurological condition AND they do not have Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card entitlement.
What about State / Territory schemes?
If a person is eligible for the CAPS, and is currently receiving assistance with continence (or continence related) products through a State or Territory government funded scheme, they should contact their scheme manager to find out if the assistance will be affected by their eligibility for the CAPS.
How do I apply?
Applicants need to complete a CAPS application form, which includes a Health Report. A health professional must complete the Health Report component and the completed application must be returned to Medicare Australia.
Medicare Australia will process the application, and if the applicant is determined eligible, make the payment to their nominated bank account.If the application is incomplete or information is not valid, Medicare Australia will contact the applicant for further information.
If clients are unable to complete an application form in certain circumstances, a representative may complete it on their behalf (see the CAPS application form and guidelines for required criteria).
If you would like a CAPS application form contact:
- Medicare Australia on 13 20 11 Select Option 2
- National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66
CAPS Application Form and Guidelines
Important: You must read this information before submitting the CAPS application form.
Application forms MUST be sent to Medicare by:
Fax: 02 9895 3525
Post: Continence Aids Payment Scheme
Department of Human Services
GPO Box 9822
Sydney NSW 2001
To obtain a hard copy of the CAPS Application Form and Guidelines, please contact National Mailing and Marketing via email to DSS@nationalmailing.com.au or via telephone to 02 6269 1000.
Electronic copies can be requested by emailing email@example.com.
How much is the payment and how often will it be made?
CAPS clients will receive up to $533.50 which will be indexed annually. Applicants can choose one full payment in July, or two half payments in July and January each year.
Can I authorise my payment to a representative or organisation?
Yes, a payment can be made directly into a representative's bank account (details of the relationship are required) or to a nominated organisation (which will assist the person to purchase their products). For more information on who can receive the payment see the CAPS application form and guidelines at www.bladderbowel.gov.au
Will the CAPS payment affect my income?
No. The CAPS payment is income tax exempt and will not be included in any Centerlink assessment as income.
For further information
For CAPS application and payment inquiries contact:
13 20 11 and Select option 2
Call Medicare Australia for assistance with completing the CAPS application form or enquiries regarding the CAPS payment.
For further information about the CAPS schemes visit:
Bladder Bowel website www.bladderbowel.gov.au
For information about bladder and bowel control problems, continence product advice, referrals to continence services and information about your eligibility for funding schemes call the National Continence Helpline 1800 33 00 66.
DVA Rehabilitation Appliances Program
The Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) provides a range of continence products to eligible members of the veteran community through the Rehabilitation Appliances Program (RAP). If the applicant is an entitled veteran or war widow(er), support can be accessed if they:
- hold a Gold Card (eligible for treatment of all conditions whether or not they are related to war services)
- hold a White Card and the incontinence is a result of a specific accepted disability (to determine eligibility contact the Rehabilitation Appliances Program at DVA)
- have been assessed by a health professional as requiring products for incontinence, or
- products are provided as part of the overall health care management.
Gold and White Card holders are not eligible if they are residents receiving high level aged care. A form requesting the continence products needs to be filled out by the assessing doctor or health professional. It is then sent to an authorised product supplier on behalf of the client.
For all enquires in regards to continence products and supply arrangements please contact the South Australian State Office: National Continence Contract Team
Department of Veterans' Affairs
GPO Box 1652
(199 Grenfell St)
Adelaide SA 5001
Phone: 1300 131 945
More information is available on the Department of Veterans' Affairs website.
State and Territory schemes
Australian States and Territories operate a range of continence aids funding schemes. The type of product and the amount available may differ depending on which state you live in.
State and Territory schemes provide a range of equipment to people living in the community who have a permanent or long-term disability. The actual name of the scheme may differ between States, and some State-based schemes may provide disposable products such as pads, while others may not. There may also be a waiting list to access a scheme. However, all clients require clinical assessment by a health professional.
To find out what financial assistance may be available, contact the National Continence Helpline freecall 1800 33 00 66 or the agency administering the scheme in your State or Territory (see table below).
Australian Capital Territory
(02) 6207 0658
New South Wales
1800 362 253
Darwin (08) 8922 7244
Darwin remote (08) 8922 8317
Katherine (08) 8973 8778
Alice Springs (08) 8951 6744
Nhulunbuy (08) 8987 0400
(07) 3136 3665
(formerly known as Independent Living Equipment Program)
Administered by the Independent Living Centre of SA
(08) 8266 5260
1300 885 886 (SA/NT callers only)
1800 337 443
Operated by the Department of Health and Human Services
North West - Devonport
(03) 6421 7833
North - Launceston
(03) 6336 5102
South - Hobart
(03) 6282 0760
All programs administered by Department of Human Services - Disability Services
1300 650 172
Administered by Silver Chain
1300 787 055