Summary

  • Aids and equipment such as wheelchairs, walking frames, ramps, shower chairs, splints, braces and home oxygen services can help you live at home. 
  • Subsidised aids and equipment may be available for Victorians through the State-wide Equipment Program (SWEP) and the Electronic Communication Devices Scheme (ECDS). 
  • The programs do not reimburse the cost of aids and equipment already purchased. 

The Victorian Government funds a range of state-wide programs that provide aids and equipment for people with a disability and frail older people so they can stay living at home.

Similar aids and equipment programs exist in all Australian states and territories.

Reasons for aids and equipment at home

Some people with a disability and frail older people may need help with:

  • walking and moving about 
  • personal care such as showering and going to the toilet 
  • managing daily living activities themselves.

Victorian Government aids and equipment programs

The aids and equipment programs funded through the Department of Health & Human Services are administered through seven service providers. 

The State-wide Equipment Program (SWEP) at Ballarat Health Services

The State-wide Equipment Program (SWEP) at Ballarat Health Services administers the:

  • Aids and Equipment Program  
  • Supported Accommodation Equipment Assistance Scheme 
  • Domiciliary Oxygen Program 
  • Continence Aids Program  
  • Vehicle Modifications Subsidy Scheme
  • Top Up Fund for Children.

The SWEP provides subsidised aids and equipment such as:

  • wheelchairs, both manual and powered
  • walking frames and other aids to help you move about 
  • ramps for walking and wheelchair access 
  • equipment (such as shower chairs and hoists) 
  • continence aids for bowel or bladder control problems (such as reusable pants and pads) 
  • home modifications that do not require structural changes to the home
  • splints 
  • a home oxygen service 
  • voice prostheses (such as an electrolarynx) 
  • vehicle modifications
  • electronic communications
  • switching and mounting devices
  • software communication apps. 

Mercy Health 

Mercy Health administers Lymphoedema Compression Garment Program, which provides subsidised lymphoedema compression garments to help people manage primary and secondary lymphoedema.

Motor Neurone Disease Association

The Motor Neurone Disease Association administers the Equipment Library, which loans equipment such as wheelchairs, to meet the needs of people with motor neurone disease.

Solve Disability Solutions

Solve Disability Solutions administers Individual Solutions for Individual Needs, which provides individual equipment or modification solutions not available for purchase.

Vicdeaf

Vicdeaf administers the Smoke Alarm and Baby Cry Alarm Schemes, which provide specialised smoke and baby cry alarms for people who are deaf or have significant hearing loss.

Vision Australia

Vision Australia administers Low Cost Vision Aids, which provides white-tipped canes and low cost aids to assist people who are blind or have vision impairment. 

Yooralla

Yooralla administers the Electronic Communication Devices Scheme, which provides subsidised electronic communications, switching and mounting devices, and software communication apps. Yooralla also administers an Equipment Library (including specialised children’s equipment), which provides specialised children’s equipment for a short trial.

Eligibility for Victorian Government aids and equipment programs

The State-wide Equipment Program and Electronic Communication Devices Scheme provide aids to:

  • permanent residents of Victoria who have  a permanent or long-term disability or who are frail aged people who need aids and equipment, vehicle or home modifications on a permanent or long-term basis from the available range
  • holders of a permanent protection visa.

Assistance is not available in some situations

Assistance through the various programs is not available to people who:

  • have received compensation relating to their disability
  • live in a Commonwealth-funded aged care facility (except if they need electronic communication devices)
  • receive aids and equipment through other government-funded programs such as WorkCover, the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA)
  • can claim the cost of equipment through private health insurance
  • are an inpatient of a public or private hospital
  • have been discharged from a public hospital or extended care centre for less than 30 days.

Conditions apply for aids and equipment programs

For aids and equipment supplied by the State-wide Equipment Program and Electronic Communication Devices Scheme, you may be provided with a second-hand (or ‘reissue’) item if one is available.

If a reissue item and funds are not immediately available, your application will be put on a waiting list. You may need to make a non-refundable contribution for the difference between the subsidy amount and the full cost of a new aid or equipment item.

Aids and equipment items are provided on loan for as long as you need them. The State-wide Equipment Program, Electronic Communication Devices Scheme and Equipment Library Program retain ownership of all equipment, except for any personal use items (for example, shoes) and where you have contributed more than 50 per cent of the total cost of the aid or equipment.

The programs do not reimburse the cost of equipment already purchased.

How to apply for aids and equipment

To apply for aids and equipment you will need to:

  • get an appropriate healthcare professional to assess your needs and discuss the type of aid or equipment that will best suit you.
  • complete an eligibility form, which needs your doctor to confirm that your disability is permanent or long-term.

Where to get help

  • State-wide Equipment Program (all programs and schemes administered) – call 1300 747 937 or (03) 5333 8100

  • Yooralla Electronic Communication Devices Scheme  – call (03) 9362 6154

  • Yooralla Independent Living Centre – call (03) 9362 6111

  • Mercy Health Lymphoedema Clinic ­­– call (03) 8458 4981

  • Motor Neurone Disease Association – call (03) 9830 2122 or 1800 806 632

  • Solve – call (03) 9853 8655 or 1300 663 243

  • Vicdeaf – call TTY (03) 9473 1199 or (03) 9473 1111

  • Vision Australia – call 1300 847 466

  • Your local office of the Department of Human Services – call 1300 650 172 to find your local office telephone number

More information

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This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Department of Health and Human Services

Last updated: October 2015

Content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional. Content has been prepared for Victorian residents and wider Australian audiences, and was accurate at the time of publication. Readers should note that, over time, currency and completeness of the information may change. All users are urged to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.