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.
Funding of up to $7000 is provided by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Aids and Equipment Program (A&EP), for people who are not eligible for the NDIS (including people aged over 65 years) and who have no speech or speech that is difficult to understand.
The scheme also provides funding for specialised equipment to make it physically easier for people with disability to use speech-generating devices such as switches and mounting systems.
Funding is provided for people who are a resident of Victoria, who are aged 65 and older or if they are not eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and who have no speech or speech that is difficult to understand.
Once we receive a request from your Speech Pathologist or Occupational Therapist and eligibility for the Scheme is confirmed, the requested equipment is purchased and sent to your therapist who will set it up for you.
All equipment items are provided on long term loan which means you keep the device or equipment for as long as you need it.
If an equipment item costs more than $7000, you may be able to access some additional funding elsewhere to enable purchase of the device.
Examples of funded equipment include:
- speech generating devices (SGD) i.e. communication devices that provide you with a voice (including iPads)
- 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, for example for individuals who cannot directly press / tap keys or the screen on a device
Funding for repairs and maintenance is also provided by the ECDS. If your device needs servicing or repair, we will arrange this for you.
We also operate a reissue scheme so if you are unable to access gap funding, you may be able to receive a more expensive device as a reissue item.
Frequently asked questions
Am I eligible for funding through the Electronic Communication Devices Scheme?
You are eligible for ECDS funding for speech generating devices, software and mounting systems if:
- you are aged over 65 years or if you are not eligible for NDIS
How much funding is available?
- The ECDS provides up to $7000 to purchase a speech generating device, software or app/s, switches
Funding for mounting systems can be provided up to $1500.
What happens if the device I want costs more than $7000?
- You will need to source funding for the ‘gap’
- We can arrange payment of $7000 directly to the supplier and then the remaining cost will be paid by your funding source
- If you contribute to the cost of the device, you can choose to take ownership of it. This means that you will be responsible for repairs and maintenance
The ECDS will fund postage / courier costs.
Will I receive a new speech generating device?
Not always, if we have the device in our reissue library, this will be the first option.
Can I apply for an iPad?
Yes you can apply for an iPad as long as it is to be used as a communication device.
We also usually recommended a sturdy case to protect the iPad.
What model iPad will I receive?
The current base model wifi only iPad is supplied (32Gb) as this is sufficient to support most communication apps
How many apps can I apply for?
- Usually we provide one communication app to be used on the iPad
- If additional apps are required, please request these on your application
Can I apply for an iPhone?
No, the Aids and Equipment guidelines specify that mainstream devices are not supplied
Can I apply for an app to be used on my iPhone?
Yes you can if it is a communication based app
What if I need a different speech generating device in the future?
That’s fine, if your needs change and you require a different speech generating device, then your Speech Pathologist can submit another application to the ECDS
We usually do not provide additional funding within a 12 month period, unless there is a specific need
What happens if my device breaks down and needs repair?
The ECDS covers repairs and maintenance, except in the case where the person has decided to take ownership of the equipment (for example, if they contribute to the cost of the device, they can choose to own the equipment outright)
Just contact the ECDS and we will arrange the repair for you
Your Speech Pathologist or Occupational Therapist can apply for ECDS funding by completing the Electronic Communication Devices Scheme Speech Pathology Report form for a speech generating device, communication app or software; or the Occupational Therapy Report form for a mounting system or alterative access system.
If you need help choosing a speech generating device, your Speech Pathologist can make a referral to our ComTEC service to discuss communication and assistive technology options.
You can also hire a speech generating device, iPad with communication apps or laptop with software from our ComTEC Electronic Equipment Library.
Download: Speech Pathology Report Form (294kb) 187kb 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
The VAEP Application 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 the Electronic Communication Devices Scheme, please see our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) or contact us.
Phone: 03 9633 6946
TTY: 03 9687 0301
Address: 49 Sun Crescent, Sunshine
To speak to us in a language other than English please call us via the Telephone Interpreter Service on 13 14 50.