Funding Options and Information

Access to funding is one of the prime concerns of most providers. The following is a brief overview of where funding for disability related projects, support or equipment can be found.

Government Funding Options

State Government Grants

Local Government Grants

Most local governments offer annual community grants. These usually open around March/April (but may vary with each municipality). Check with your local MetroAccess or Rural Access officer.

Local Government Responsibilities

Where local government owns the ACE provider building they have a responsibility to ensure disability access. Past experience has found that where a provider has a Disability Action Plan that they can present to their local council, this has expedited the building of ramps, accessible toilets and so forth.

Non Government Funding Options

Philanthropic Trusts and Foundations

Most of these will require you to have Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) or Income Tax Exempt Charity (ITEC) tax status.

Local Business

Local businesses are often open to being approached for funds for equipment in exchange for advertising. It is also worth talking to your local chamber of commerce. Check with your local government directory for contacts. Bendigo Bank: This bank offers sponsorships at grass roots levels

Service Clubs

Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, Kiwanis are all possible sources of funding, especially one off equipment grants. They are often looking for guest speakers at their meetings - offer to give a talk about your service. Check with your local council directory for service club contacts.

Funding From Individual Support Packages

In Victoria, people with disability have been funded through a number of different mechanisms. In the past, in line with the old centre-based day service model people were “block “ funded: that is, their funding was part of group funding provided to a day service organisation along with funding for others also attending that service. Some people are still funded this way. However, increasingly people with disability have been receiving individual funding packages intended to be tailored for individual needs.

From July 2008, the Department of Human Services has been moving towards rolling all packages into Individual Support Packages. These are for the most part paid to an intermediary organisation, although a program to allow some people to handle their own finances is currently underway. The funds allotted in Individual Support Packages are intended to pay for the support a person with disability requires for their day activities in line with their Individual Support Plan - whether these activities are held in a disability support service or in the community. The reality is, however, that there is frequently insufficient money in a package to provide individual paid support for all the activities a person might want to undertake.

Implications for education providers

The Education Standards state that an adult education provider is the body responsible for supplying the support needs of an individual with disability accessing their classes. But funding for such support may be included within each individual’s Individual Support Package. Very few adult community education providers have access to funds to provide all the support a person with disability often needs unless they are acting as an intermediary for an Individual Support Package.

The advice of the ACE Disability Network is that providers negotiate with those referring agencies that do hold the Individual Support Package funding on behalf of an individual.

Disability Support Pensions

Disability Support Pensions are intended to provide people with disability support for day to day living expenses such as rent and food. Students who are in receipt of a Disability Support Pension may also be entitled to the following:

Again ACE providers should negotiate with the student and their referring agency as to whether these can be used assist with course costs.