Continence Aids Payment Scheme

A yearly payment to cover some of the cost of products that help you manage incontinence..

Eligibility basics

  • have permanent and severe incontinence
  • be 5 years or older

Eligibility & payment rates

Who can get it

To get the Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS) you must:

  • be 5 years or older
  • have permanent and severe bladder or bowel incontinence
  • have one of the eligible neurological or other eligible conditions on the bladder and bowel website, and
  • be able to get a Pensioner Concession Card from us or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), if your condition is not neurological - this can be as the main card holder or a dependant

Who can’t get it

You can’t get CAPS if:

  • you get home or residential care under the Aged Care Act 1997, and your care plan includes continence aids
  • you have a DVA Gold Card or White Card, and can get help through the DVA Rehabilitation Appliances Program
  • you have a funding package from the National Disability Insurance Scheme, and it includes continence aids
  • your incontinence:
    • will go away
    • is treatable, for example with pelvic floor exercises, bladder retraining, medicine or surgery
    • is night time bed wetting only
  • you’re in prison, or
  • you’ve been living overseas for 3 or more years in a row

Residence rules

To be eligible for the Continence Aids Payment Scheme you must be an Australian permanent resident or citizen.

To stay eligible for the scheme

You must continue to meet these rules for as long as you get this payment.

If the payment is for a child, they must also meet these rules.

When we pay you

Your first CAPS payment covers from the day we get your application until the end of that financial year.

After that, you get the full payment each year as long as you’re still eligible. You don’t need to apply again to keep getting CAPS.

You must let us know about any changes that may stop you being eligible for CAPS.

How often

On the CAPS application form you choose to get the money:

  • all in 1 payment in July each year, or
  • in 2 half payments in July and January each year

How much

The Department of Health bladder and bowel website gives the current payment amounts for CAPS. If you want to change your choice, contact the CAPS team.

How we pay

We pay into your choice of Australian bank account. It can’t be a credit card, loan or mortgage account.

The account can belong to:

  • the person getting CAPS
  • their parent if the person getting CAPS is:
    • under 14, or
    • under 18 and not able to act on their own behalf
  • the legal or authorised nominee of the person getting CAPS - this could be:
    • through a power of attorney
    • as their legal guardian
    • as a public trustee
    • as their Centrelink payment nominee
    • as their Department of Veterans’ Affairs trustee or agent
    • as someone the Department of Health agrees is a responsible person
    • as an organisation that helps them buy continence products

You’ll get a statement each time we make a payment.

You must let us know in writing if your bank account details change.

Tax and income test exemption

CAPS doesn’t count as income:

  • when you do your tax return
  • in income tests for help with residential aged care costs
  • in income tests for Centrelink payments

This means:

  • you can get CAPS on top of your main income without paying more tax
  • the CAPS money you get doesn’t stop you getting other benefits

 

Applying

Check if you're eligible, before you apply.

Then:

  1. get an application form
  2. fill in the form with a health professional
  3. get certified copies of any documents the form asks for
  4. submit your application and documents
  5. we’ll assess your application and let you know the result

Next

Managing your payment

Change of circumstances

You or your legal or authorised nominee must tell us about any changes that may affect your CAPS payments.

What to tell us about

For example, tell us if:

  • you leave Australia for more than 3 years
  • your personal circumstances change
  • your medical condition changes
  • your address changes
  • your bank details change
  • your care arrangements change

If you don’t tell us about changes

You risk:

  • not getting your payment
  • getting overpaid and having to pay the money back

How to tell us

Contact the CAPS team.

Continence management plan

Your health professional will work with you to make a plan for daily life that helps you manage your bladder or bowel problem.

The plan should cover what you do:

  • at home
  • when you go out
  • for travel and special events

Regular reviews

You should review the plan with them and discuss:

  • if your needs have changed
  • what’s working and what isn’t
  • what other things you can try

Children

Children aged 5 to 15 with continence problems should see a health professional at least every 2 years to:

  • check how their needs have changed
  • review their management plan
  • change the plan to meet their current needs

Buying continence products

We don’t supply or sell continence aids products. You can use your CAPS payment to buy them from any seller you choose.

You don’t need to save your receipts or show them to us.

Where to buy

You can buy continence aids products:

  • at supermarkets or pharmacies
  • online or by phone

The Continence Foundation of Australia website has a list of sellers you can buy from.

What to buy

It’s best to ask your health professional about which products are best for you. You can also get advice from the National Continence Helpline.

Someone to act on your behalf for CAPS

You can nominate another person to act on your behalf for the Continence Aids Payment Scheme.

Read more about someone to act on your behalf for CAPS

Resources

National Continence Helpline

Your state or territory government may also help to pay for continence aids.

Call the National Continence Helpline on 1800 330 066 to ask:

  • what help you may get
  • how to apply

Bladder and bowel health

There are things you can do to:

  • improve your bladder or bowel health
  • make your problem easier to manage

The Department of Health bladder and bowel website has lots of advice to help with a wide range of issues.

Payment and Service Finder

Find, estimate and compare payments and services you may be eligible for. You can also work out what a change in circumstance might mean for the payments and services you currently receive from us.

Start using Payment and Service Finder

Manage your money

 

We’ve got advice and tools to help you with budgeting, borrowing and credit, and managing debt.

Read about how to manage your money.

Related payments and services

Page last updated: 27 August 2017