See below a list of commonly asked FAQs
Q: How much does the Early Days Program cost?
A: The Early Days Program is free for parents who have a chld 0-6 years of age.
Q: What is the Early Days Program?
A: The Early Days program is designed to support mothers, fathers and family carers who are going through the assessment process or if their child is on the autism spectrum. The Early Days workshops range from an introduction into the autism spectrum to a step by step guide to dealing with behaviours.
Q: How do I register for the Early Days Program?
A: To register for the Early Days you can ring the 1300 307 909 or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Where do I find the dates for the early days workshops in my area?
A: To find the dates for your area go to www.amaze.org.au/earlydaysdates
Q: How many people can I bring to the workshop with me?
A: You are allowed to bring 2 people with you who have primary role in your child’s life
Q: What happens if I spend over $6000 in a financial year?
A: If you reach your $6,000 limit before the end of the financial year, you will be required to pay for any additional therapy out of your own pocket or you will need to stop therapy until the next financial year begins. There is no way that you can borrow money from a previous or the next financial year to pay for therapy, even if your child is about to turn seven and you won’t be able to access the remainder of your funding in the following financial year.
Q: Do I need to use the funding within two years?
A: Usually not, although it depends on the age of your child. Because you can spend up to $6,000 in any financial year (July to June) and there is a maximum of $12,000 to spend, many people mistakenly believe that they need to spend the full $12,000 within two financial years. You can spread the funding over as many financial years as it takes before your child turns seven.
The exception to this is if your child turns seven within the first two financial years of your funding, then this would mean that you have limited time to use your funding and any funding that remains after your child’s seventh birthday will be forfeited.
Contact your Autism Advisor if you want clarification on how long you have to access the funding in your particular circumstance.
Q: Can I use the funding and the Medicare rebates at the same time?
A: Yes. There are a number of circumstances where you can be accessing the HCWA funding and the Medicare rebates at the same time (see page 14 for information on the Medicare rebates that are available).
An example is if you are using a therapist who is not on the official provider panel, but is registered with Medicare. You could use your Medicare rebates with this therapist, saving your HCWA funding for use with a therapist who is registered for the program.
If you find that your funding does not spread across the entire financial year, you can also switch to using the Medicare rebates if you have spent your $6,000 allocation, as long as your therapist is registered with Medicare. Speak to your provider about this when you are nearing the end of your funding.
Some parents choose to pay for some sessions each year, and claim the Medicare rebates for these sessions, to help spread their funding out over a longer period of time. Speak to your provider if this is something you would like to do.
You cannot ask the therapist to bill Medicare and then pay the gap using your HCWA funding.
Q: Can I use this funding to purchase equipment? How do I go about doing this?
A: You can use up to 35% of your funding (a maximum of $2,100 per financial year, and $4,200 in total) on equipment and resources for therapeutic purposes. Keep in mind any amount you spend on equipment is coming out of your child’s funding, so it means less to spend on therapy.
Equipment must be recommended and approved by your service provider (your therapist) as an important part of the therapy. If your therapist does not believe that the equipment or resource is of direct benefit to your child, they are under no obligation to purchase it.
It is up to your therapist what equipment they order and how they order it. Some will source the equipment themselves. Be aware that they may charge an additional administration fee, so make sure you ask about any additional charges before agreeing to the purchase. Other providers may ask you to purchase the equipment and then they will reimburse you through the HCWA funding. It is important that you do not purchase any equipment without first checking with your provider.
Q: My child was seeing a registered HCWA therapist before we had the funding. Now that we have the funding, they are charging us more for the same service. Why is this?
A: The government has allowed therapists to charge more to cover administration costs. This is to cover the additional time it takes to bill through the online financial management system, employ additional staff to process these claims, and complete related paperwork. There are no rules about how much providers can add to their usual fees, but if you feel your provider is charging more than is reasonable, you can get clarification from them or contact your Autism Advisor.