Electronic Communication Devices Scheme
The Electronic Communication Devices Scheme (ECDS) is a Victorian state government funded service that subsidises speech generating communication devices and software for people who have no speech or speech that is difficult to understand.
The scheme also subsidises specialised equipment to make it physically easier for people with disability to use speech-generating devices.
We provide you with:
- speech generating devices (SGD) i.e. communication devices that provide you with a voice
- speech generating software and apps
- voice amplifiers which increase speech volume
- external speakers for communication devices
- mounting systems to hold the device in position, and
- special switches to allow people to use the device (e.g. for those with a physical impairment that makes it difficult for them to press keys on the device).
NDIS Applications via the Electronic Communication Devices Scheme
Following considerable deliberation, Yooralla has made the decision that the Electronic Communication Devices Scheme will cease processing new applications for NDIS participants from August 1, 2018.
From August 1 2018 new applications for communication devices, access peripherals and mounting systems will need to be submitted directly to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). We recommend that you seek current advice from NDIA regarding how to apply for communication assistive technology. You may wish to refer to information on the NDIS website:
Please note that the ECDS will maintain its follow up and support to prescribing therapists for:
- applications already submitted to the NDIA and awaiting a delegate decision,
- applications for NDIS participants previously submitted to the ECDS and currently on hold,
- waitlisted applications where the applicant is now considered ineligible for Victorian Aids and Equipment Program funding.
Prescribers should be advised to submit applications directly to the agency from 1 August 2018, using the templates available on the NDIS Website.
Applications should submitted to the following NDIA offices via the following email addresses. Please do not cc to any other email address.
Please contact NDIA for further information regarding this process.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has committed to funding the ECDS for provision of communication assistive technology for Victorians aged 65 and older and others ineligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
Yooralla will continue to manage the ECDS for individuals:
- living in regions where the NDIS is not yet available
- aged 65 or older
- aged below 65 who are ineligible for the NDIS. If an individual has been formally declined access to the NDIS, evidence of this will be required.
The Department of Health and Human Services has advised that:
- Applications for a person who lives in a region where the NDIS is available, and is likely to be eligible for the NDIS, should be considered for funding by the NDIS. Such applicants are no longer eligible for funding through the Victorian Aids and Equipment Program -ECDS.
- Eligible Victorians living in areas yet to commence transitioning to the NDIS can continue to access the Victorian Aids and Equipment Program.
- Service providers of the Victorian Aids and Equipment Program can continue to consider requests for urgent repairs of equipment from clients in areas that have commenced transition, where the client does not yet have an approved NDIS plan.
Further information can be viewed on the DHHS website, including the DHHS information sheet 'NDIS transition – Referring new clients to the NDIA from area transition start date'
Information on purchasing communication devices, mounting systems, access peripherals and software can be found at the following specialist suppliers:
How to apply
How to apply for equipment if you are not a NDIS participant
Speech pathologists and occupational therapists can apply for communication equipment for adults aged 65 or older, or for individuals aged below 65 who are ineligible for the NDIS.
Forms required include the following:
- Speech Pathology Report form
- Occupational Therapy report
- a current quote from an approved supplier
If this is the first time your client is applying to ECDS (and they haven’t received equipment through SWEP), the DHS/VAEP form and a doctor’s signature to confirm their disability, will also need to be submitted
- Department of Human Services (DHS) Victorian Aids and Equipment Application form (VAEP form), and
- a doctor’s signature to confirm the person has a disability (this is only needed once by ECDS).
Mainstream equipment items such as computers and mobile devices e.g. iPads are not funded.
The statewide ECDS funds equipment up to the value of $7000 for children and adults.
Only one communication device is funded per client per 12 month period.
To ensure your equipment is suitable, we recommend it be trialled for at least two weeks in places the person will be using it to make sure that it is the best fit for the individual.
Equipment can be hired through specialist suppliers or Yooralla's Equipment Library.
Specialist suppliers include:
Download: Speech Pathology Report Form (294kb) 301kb ECDS-Speech-Pathology-Report-Form.docx
Download: ECDS Occupational Therapy Report Form (Word, 179kb) 200kb ECDS-Occupational-Therapy-Report-Form.docx
Download: Trialing Equipment Guidelines (Word, 68kb) 70kb ECDS-Equipment-Trial-Guidelines.docx
Download: VAEP Application Form (Word, 155kb) 159kb DHS-VAEP-Application-form.doc
This form is only required if it has not been submitted previously, that is, if the applicant is eligible for and has already received subsidised equipment from either SWEP or the Electronic Communication Devices Scheme and the VAEP form has been previously submitted.
To find out more about our Electronic Communication Devices Scheme, please contact us.
Phone: 1300 885 886 (VIC only)
Or: 03 9362 6111 (National)
TTY: 03 9687 0301
Address: Shop C1, Central West Shopping Centre, 67 Ashley Street, Braybrook VIC 3019.
To speak to us in a language other than English please call us via the Telephone Interpreter Service on 13 14 50.
If you have a hearing or speech impairment, please contact us through the National Relay Service.
For information on Independent Living Centres outside Victoria, please visit the Independent Living Centres Australia website.