To support greater flexibility and choice, families with children aged 12 to 18 will be able to choose to receive their autism funding through either invoice payment or direct payment.
The direct payment option will be available as of Sept. 1, 2013, to families with children in the 12- to 18-year-old range who are eligible for, or are receiving, autism funding. This option can give families greater ability to purchase eligible services - such as those focusing on community-based inclusion and recreational skills - to meet the needs of older children and youth and promote successful transitions to adulthood.
Families that choose this option will receive a maximum of $6,000 at the start of their funding period. They will then be responsible for obtaining eligible autism intervention services and directly paying providers for those services.
Some families have more than one child diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. To help simplify the administrative process, families that choose direct payment for a child aged 12-18 will also have the option to choose direct payment for any siblings over the age of six.
Since 2010, invoice payment has been in place as the only option for receiving autism funding. It will continue as an available alternative to the direct payment option.
Under the invoice payment system, funding is set aside in an account held by government in the child's name. Parents choose the eligible intervention service and provider that suits their child's need. Once the eligible service has been provided, an invoice is sent to government, which then pays the provider directly.
Current research provides clear guidelines with regard to what services are considered best practice for children under the age of six. Invoice payment provides safeguards to ensure these best practice services are being accessed. Compared to direct payment, invoice payment imposes less of a financial management responsibility on families. This is of particular importance to families with children under the age of six who have access to up to $22,000 of funding per year.
All families must be on the invoice payment system for two years before they are eligible for the direct payment option.