Continence Aids Payment Scheme
If you have incontinence, the good news is you may be eligible for financial assistance through the Australian Government’s Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS). CAPS can help to ease the monetary pressure of buying incontinence products.
What is CAPS?
Managing incontinence, especially when relying on incontinence products, can become a monetary burden on sufferers. The Australian Government is providing financial assistance for eligible people suffering from incontinence. Replacing the Continence Aids Assistance Scheme (CAAS), the Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS) is an Australian Government program, which provides payments to help consumers meet some of the costs of their continence products. Payments are made up to $545.80 per financial year. Each applicant can choose between one full payment in July or two half payments in July and January each year.
Who is eligible?
To qualify for CAPS, the person must:
- Be five years of age or older and have permanent and severe incontinence due to an eligible neurological condition.
- Or have permanent and severe incontinence caused by another eligible condition given they have a valid Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card or a valid Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) Pensioner Concession Card or entitlement, either as a primary card holder or a dependant of a cardholder.
- For a list of eligible conditions, visit www.bladderbowel.gov.au.
If you are an existing CAAS client, you will automatically qualify for CAPS.
How to receive a payment?
From 1 July 2010, applicants can fill out a CAPS application form. A health professional is to complete the health report component and all documents must be returned to Medicare. Medicare will assess the application and make the payment into the nominated bank account within two weeks of processing.
If the application is incomplete or includes invalid information, Medicare will contact the client in order to finalise the application.
Why the change?
This scheme replaces the existing CAAS. It is believed the new streamlined CAPS system will increase consumer choice and control by allowing consumers to choose their choice of supplier and to shop around for their most suitable product. The most significant change is that sufferers will receive up to $545.80 to purchase their own aids, instead of receiving $497.79 worth of products. All existing clients of CAAS will have the opportunity to transfer to the new scheme without the need to reapply.
What products can be purchased under CAPS?
Depend and Poise products can be purchased under CAPS. The newly re-designed incontinence products from Depend ensure protection, while providing comfort and looking like real underwear. The fabric-like material is designed to breathe so your skin remains comfortable but still prevents leakage. For the full range of Depend products see our incontinence products For Him and For Her pages. Depend incontinence products are sold at a wide range of retailers including Coles and Woolworths as well as pharmacies. Free Depend product samples are available to residents of Australia and New Zealand. Two samples are permitted each household. Request the sample from our free sample page.
More Continence Aids Payment Scheme information
You can apply for CAPS through the Bladder and Bowel website: www.bladderbowel.gov.au
Other continence information is available at the Continence Foundation of Australia website or the National Continence Helpline (1800 330 066).
CAPS is not available in New Zealand. Please visit your GP for further information or for help and assistance with your condition. Alternatively you can call the Continence NZ Helpline 0800 650 659.