Continence Aids Payment Scheme
- have permanent or severe incontinence
- aged 5 years or more
- not reside in a high-care Australian Government funded aged care home
Eligibility & payment rates
Eligibility for the Continence Aids Payment Scheme
Permanent and severe incontinence is defined as the frequent and uncontrollable, moderate to large loss of urine or faeces which impacts on a person's quality of life and is unlikely to improve with medical, surgical or clinical treatment regimes.
You are eligible for the Continence Aids Payment Scheme if you are five years or older and have permanent and severe loss of bladder and/or bowel function (incontinence) caused by:
- an eligible neurological condition
- an eligible 'other' condition and have a Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card or entitlement, either as a primary cardholder or a dependant of a cardholder
- an eligible 'other' condition and have a Department of Veterans’ Affairs Pensioner Concession Card or entitlement, either as a primary cardholder or a dependant of a cardholder
From time to time, you may be asked to confirm your eligibility.
Ineligibility for the Continence Aids Payment Scheme
You are not eligible for the Continence Aids Payment Scheme if:
- you are not an Australian citizen or a permanent Australian resident
- you are a high-care resident in an Australian Government funded aged care home
- you are receiving an Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH) or an EACH Dementia package and continence aid products are negotiated as part of your care plan
- you get help with continence aid products under the Rehabilitation Appliances Program through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA)
- your incontinence:
- is transient (not permanent)
- can be treated with an existing conservative treatment regime (e.g. pelvic floor exercises or bladder re-training), medicine or surgery
- is confined to night-time bed wetting (enuresis)
- your incontinence results from a condition other than an eligible neurological condition AND you do not have a Centrelink or DVA Pensioner Concession Card entitlement, or
- you are serving a prison sentence
Payment under the Continence Aids Payment Scheme
The Continence Aids Payment Scheme payment for 2012-13 is up to $521 and is indexed annually.
You can choose to get this payment in full once a year in July, or as two payments with one paid in July and the other in January. You will get a statement when payments are made.
You do not need to re-apply for this payment every year. You will continue to be paid into your chosen bank account every year, unless we are told otherwise.
Payments can be made into the chosen bank account of::
- the applicant
- a parent, if the applicant is under 14 years of age, or the applicant is at least 14 years but has not turned 18 years of age and does not have the capacity to act on their own behalf. Unless contrary information is provided, the custodial parent of an applicant under 14 is to receive the payment on the applicant's behalf
- a legal representative, including a person nominated under a Power of Attorney, an appointed legal guardian or a Public Trustee, with authority to receive payments on the applicant's behalf
- an applicant's Centrelink Payment Nominee, as recognised by Human Services for the purposes of the Social Security Law
- a Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) Trustee, as recognised by DVA for the purposes of veterans' entitlements law
- a DVA Agent as recognised by DVA for the purposes of veterans' entitlements law
- a responsible person who has been approved by the Secretary of the Department of Human Services, in writing, to receive a Continence Aids Payment Scheme payment on an applicant's behalf, or
- an organisation (other than a legal representative) that agrees to assist with the purchase of their continence products
You are expected to use the Continence Aids Payment Scheme money to purchase continence aid products.
New applicant payment rates
When you first join the Continence Aids Payment Scheme, the amount of money you receive is based on a pro-rata calculation—from the day your application is processed to the end of the financial year (30 June). From 1 July in the following year, you will receive the full payment (in one or two payments, depending on the timeframe you choose).
Income exemption for the Continence Aids Payment Scheme
The Continence Aids Payment Scheme has been granted an income tax exemption. This means Continence Aids Payment Scheme payments are excluded from any income calculations for tax purposes.
Continence Aids Payment Scheme payments are also excluded from income calculations for low-level residential care in Australian Government aged care facilities and for Centrelink payments.
Residency requirements for the Continence Aids Payment Scheme
To meet residency requirements you must be an Australian resident and in Australia on the day you lodge your claim.
To be an Australian resident, you must be living in Australia as:
- an Australian citizen
- the holder of a permanent resident visa, or
- the holder of a special-category visa–that is, someone with a New Zealand passport living in Australia, or
- a New Zealand citizen who was in Australia on 26 February 2001 or for 12 months in the two years immediately before that date, or who was assessed before 26 February 2004 as 'protected'
Newly arrived residents generally have a two-year waiting period. Some exemptions apply for refugees, holders of certain other permanent visas, Australian citizens, and in some circumstances their partners and dependent children.
If a payment is child related, the child must also meet the residency requirements.
Other benefits while receiving the Continence Aids Payment Scheme
If you qualify for the Continence Aids Payment Scheme, you may be entitled to other payments and benefits, such as:
Once you have read about eligibility the next steps are:
- read the conditions for applying
- complete the application form
- provide supporting documentation
- submit your application
- we will assess your claim and let you know the outcome
Managing your payment
Change of circumstances while receiving Continence Aids Payment Scheme payments
You need to tell us if your circumstances change when you are receiving a payment. For example, if:
- your personal circumstances change
- you change your address
- your bank details change
- your care arrangements change
- you leave Australia for a period greater than 3 years
If you do not tell us about the changes you may not receive your payment or be overpaid and be required to pay the money back.
Continence management plan while receiving Continence Aids Payment Scheme
People with permanent and severe incontinence should have a continence management plan in place that is reviewed by their health professional regularly. Reviews of a patient's continence needs should be discussed and agreed between the patient and health professional, who can make an assessment of the patient's incontinence.
Continence aid products
You can use your Continence Aids Payment Scheme money to buy any continence aid products appropriate to your needs from your supplier of choice. We recommend you get advice from your health professional about the types of products appropriate to you.
If you do not have stores or pharmacies near you, you can order products from a supplier online or over the phone. Call the National Continence Helpline 1800 330 066 for additional assistance.
Because the Continence Aids Payment Scheme is not a reimbursement scheme, you are not required to produce receipts.
Continence product suppliers
National Continence Helpline
Call the National Continence Helpline 1800 330 066 for information about your local state or territory scheme.
Bladder and bowel health
Find more information about bladder and bowel health on the bladderbowel.gov.au website.