Eligible expenses include payments:
- to a carer who looks after a person who is blind or permanently confined to a bed or wheelchair
- to a company for the provision of a carer for a disabled person, to the extent the payments represent remuneration of a person providing services as an attendant or carer
- for disability aids prescribed by a doctor (including the cost of repairs and maintenance, but not including the cost of transport for repairs and maintenance)
- for artificial limbs or eyes and hearing aids (including the cost of repairs and maintenance, but not including the cost of transport for repairs and maintenance)
- for maintaining a properly trained dog for guiding or assisting people with a disability (but not for social therapy)
- for residential or in-home aged care expenses.
Expenses which do not qualify include:
- payments for an air flotation mattress
- payments for a recline lift chair
- amounts withheld by an insurer from a compensation payment for medical expenses previously paid by the insurer
- payments for a personal alarm monitoring service.
Residential aged care expenses and payments for in-home care must have been made to an approved care provider for personal or nursing care and accommodation in respect of an approved care recipient.
An approved care recipient is a person who has been assessed by the aged care assessment team (ACAT) as eligible for residential aged care or in-home aged care.
Residential aged care payments can be for:
- daily fees
- income or means tested daily care fees
- extra service fees
- accommodation charges
- periodic payments of accommodation bonds
- interest on an outstanding instalment of a lump sum accommodation bond
- amounts drawn from a lump sum accommodation bond, and
- daily accommodation payments.
Expenses which do not qualify as aged care medical expenses include:
- lump sum payments of accommodation bonds or refundable accommodation deposits for residential aged care
- interest payments derived by care providers from the investment of accommodation bonds or refundable deposits (because these are not payments for residential aged care)
- expenses for people who were residents of a hostel before 1 October 1997 and who did not have a personal care subsidy or a respite care subsidy paid on their behalf at the personal care subsidy rate by the Commonwealth (unless they have subsequently been reassessed and approved as a care recipient or continuing care recipient under the Aged Care Act 1997).
A disability aid for the purpose of this offset is an instrument, apparatus or device generally recognised to be an aid to the function or capacity of a person with a disability. A disability aid will improve a person's quality of life.
A wheelchair or the maintenance of a guide dog are examples of disability aids as they help a person’s daily living activities, provide assistance to alleviate the effect of the disability and enable increased participation in society. Disability aids can also include medical or surgical appliances such as:
- a freestanding over-bed frame
- a mobile shower commode
- a dual valve high profile cushion
- an electric scooter
- a speech aid
- a fold down ramp to provide wheelchair access to a car.
For the cost of a medical or surgical appliance to qualify for the offset, the appliance must be prescribed by a medical practitioner. Associated costs also qualify, such as the costs of repairs and maintenance of a speech aid, or registration and insurance of a scooter that has been prescribed by a medical practitioner for aid in mobilisation.
A disability is defined as a restriction or impairment which has lasted or is likely to last, for a period of six months or more, and which restrict a person's every day activities. Such as:
- loss of sight (not corrected by glasses or contact lenses)
- loss of hearing where communication is restricted, or an aid to assist with, or substitute for, hearing is used
- speech difficulties
- chronic or recurrent pain or discomfort causing restriction
- shortness of breath or breathing difficulties causing restriction
- blackout, fits or loss of consciousness
- difficulty learning or understanding
- incomplete use of arms or fingers
- incomplete use of feet or legs
- nervous or emotional condition causing restriction
- restriction in physical activities or in doing physical work
- disfigurement or deformity
- mental illness or condition requiring help or supervision
- long-term effects of head injury, stroke or other brain damage causing restriction
- receiving treatment or medication for any other long-term condition or ailment, and still restricted
- any other long-term condition resulting in a restriction.