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Financial assistance

Video: Continence nurse advisor Stephen Marburg talks about funding schemes available to assist continence products.

Most people with incontinence use continence products such as pads, catheters or bedding protection to manage their condition. Some people require these products on a long term basis, which can become very expensive, and put unreasonable pressure on the household budget.

A continence clinic or the National Continence Helpline (1800 33 00 66) can provide you with contact details for suppliers of continence products. They can also provide you with information about eligibility for funding schemes, which may assist with the ongoing costs of purchasing and replacing continence products. 

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 the Australian Government.  These schemes have differing eligibility criteria and funding allocations, and it is important to note that the person you care for 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 (CAPS)

The Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS) is available to people aged five years and over, with permanent and severe incontinence due to:

  • neurological conditions such as paraplegia, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, dementia or permanent and severe intellectual impairment
  • other causes such as radiation therapy, certain cancers, prostate disease or prolapse and have a valid Centrelink or Department of Veteran's Affairs Pensioner Concession Card (if they are under 16 years of age, their parent/guardian holds a Pensioner Concession Card).

To apply, a CAPS application form must be completed, which includes a Health Report from the medical practitioner or continence nurse about the condition.

People are NOT eligible for CAPS if:

  • their incontinence is not permanent or can be treated with an existing conservative treatment regime, medication or surgery
  • they are a level 3 or 4 resident of an Australian Government-funded aged care home
  • they are eligible for assistance with continence aids under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), or under the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Rehabilitation Appliances Program (RAP), or
  • they receive a Australian Government funded Level 3 or 4 care package, formerly known as Extended Aged Care Home Package (EACH Package) or an Extended Aged Care at Home Dementia Package (EACH D Package), and their care plan includes continence aids.

Contact the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66 or Medicare Australia on 132 011 (select general enquiries option) to obtain a CAPS application form. 

Further information on CAPS and eligibility criteria is also available from the Australian Government's Department of Health website.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), managed by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), was launched in July 2013 and is being trialed in select areas in all states except Queensland. The full scheme will be gradually rolled out across Australia from July 2016. The NDIS supports people with a permanent disability that prevents them from taking part in everyday activities.

To check if you live in one of the trial sites and are eligible for NDIS, go to ndis.gov.au. If you are eligible and you require assistance with continence products, this will be considered in your planning discussion with the NDIA, and if approved, will replace CAPS payments. If you are not eligible for NDIS, your current level of support will continue.

For further information, go to the NDIS website or phone the NDIS Helpline on 1800 800 110

Department of Veterans’ Affairs – Rehabilitation Appliances Program (RAP)

The Commonwealth Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) provides a range of incontinence products to eligible veterans and war widows via the Rehabilitation Appliances Program (RAP).  If the person you are caring for is an entitled veteran or war widow, they can access support if they:

  • hold a Gold Card (eligible for treatment of all conditions whether or not they are related to war service)
  • hold a White Card and the incontinence is a result of a specific accepted disability
  • have been assessed by a health professional as requiring products for incontinence, or
  • require products as part of their overall health care management.

Gold and White Card holders are not eligible if they are residents receiving level 3 or 4 packages.

A form requesting the incontinence products is 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 enquiries relating to the Rehabilitation Appliances Program please call the National Continence Contract Team at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs on 133 254 or 1800 555 254.

Other funding schemes

There are also a range of state/territory government funding schemes available. For more information please contact the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66.

If you or the person you care for require an interpreter, call 13 14 50 and ask to be connected to 1800 33 00 66. Telephone interpreter services are provided free of charge.

Click here to download a factsheet about Australian and state/territory government funding schemes

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