Material Funding Secrets Revealed – Part 1

Most of us are aware that 20% of our child’s autism funding can be used for materials. It sounds simple on paper, but try following the next example.

A pencil is required for your child’s therapy. The steps you will follow are:

  • Price the pencil out at a store of your choice
  • Hire a Behaviour Consultant at the going rate ($100/hour?) to complete the Justification for Equipment and Supplies Form (CF0908)
  • Send the form to the Autism Funds Unit (AFU) and wait for approval
  • The AFU recommends that you receive approval before purchasing the pencil
  • After a long delay, you will receive approval in the mail to purchase said product
  • You will then purchase the pencil!
  • The next step is to send the original receipt (no fax or email here!) to the AFU along with the Reimbursement for Autism Expenses form (CF0926)
  • After a long delay, you will then receive a cheque from the government to cover the expense of the pencil (assuming the delays didn’t mean you purchased the pencil outside of the funding year!)

Another issue that drives parents nuts, is the inconsistency of material approval. One parent might be approved for an item one year and another rejected the next.

So what can you use the 20% of funding for? The following list is taken from A Parent’s Handbook: Your Guide to Autism Programs.

  • Training within B.C.
  • Travel costs to access autism intervention or training within B.C. (round trip greater than 80 kms)
  • Equipment, as necessary for effective intervention, outlined in a Justification for Equipment (JFE) Form, from a professional/specialist—pre-approval suggested

What are the ineligible items? Again the list is from A Parent’s Handbook: Your Guide to Autism Programs

  • Home repairs, renovations, swimming pools, hot tubs, trampolines, playground equipment
  • Household items, including appliances
  • General recreation and sports enrolment fees
  • Sports/fitness equipment, including bicycles
  • Electronics, including televisions, CD players, stereos, MP3 players, game systems, video games, tracking devices, and cellular phones/palm pilots (Is there anyone left on this planet that still uses a Palm Pilot?)
  • Non-ASD specific CDs, DVDs, and videos
  • Musical instruments (purchase or rental)
  • Vitamins, medical supplies, incontinence supplies, orthotics
  • Clothing, helmets
  • Food (however, small reinforcers for Applied Behaviour Analysis therapy may be eligible)

The following are examples of services that are not eligible:

  • Child care
  • Respite
  • General recreation lessons such as swimming and karate
  • Medical services
  • Services provided out of province

From my discussions with many parents, I can tell you that that the ineligible list is incomplete and conversely I have talked with some parents who received approval for ineligible items. As well, just because you had a Behaviour Consultant recommend certain materials, does not mean that it will be paid.

Next posts:

  • Why should you bother with material funding?
  • Tips to make material funding easier

11 thoughts on “Material Funding Secrets Revealed – Part 1”

  1. I’ve had success with making the purchases first and then asking my BC to send in the justfication form and then immediately send in my request without waiting for the approval letter.

  2. Yes, we used to be able to use the therapy appointments (BI, or SLP) to discuss needs for material supplies (books, education, therapy supplies), then the parent would go purchase the supply (from the funding account not a personal one) and pick up the corresponding letter of recommendation on the next visit to enter into your month-end financial report…

    These are professional therapists with professional ethics who wrote these letters, because of that they were automatically accepted (even if it was on the not paid for list). If there were parents and professionals that were abusing this .. then they should have been dealt with properly as we all have been threatened with by the ministry…. NOT disadvantage the ones who were following all the rules properly!!

    Then they took over the funding payment of everything including materials and you can’t even get the early bird rate anymore on the education conferences to learn about new therapies with the teachers and aids anymore! Now this material amount usage is a joke and most parents pay out of pocket for these items now or go without!! The example of the pencil is classic and the hoops we have to jump through for a package of stamps or envelopes to mail requests off to the government for material reimbursement is just stupid!! Bureaucracy at it’s worst here!

    I am one of the first in line to get funding control back as then possibly I can keep myself and my support people educated on our therapy plans once again.

    They tell us it is “all up to us to manage therapies for our own kids”… but then pull the rug out from under us to support the supplies needed for that!! Funding for this has been botched from the beginning and it has only gotten worse if you ask me.. I’ve been in it now for over 10years of this BS.

  3. I’m a bit confused about the whole funding process. I hear of people buying ipads for therapies for their children but then electronics are ineligible. I’d like to see more examples of materials-specifically what people might have claimed for. It seems a bit selective (the list). Also, if our son is diagnosed and we pursue therapies they will be 35 kms outside of our area (round trip 70kms vs the reimbursement for travel over 80 kms round trip…) this would be for any speech, ot, etc. …

  4. Once you have approval you can go through Therapy In A Bin who does direct billing..you don’t have to pay anything!!!

  5. Hi! Just emailed our justification form, still thinking if we should wait for approval or just go and purchase the ipad mini for our son. Would you have an estimate on how long the justification form gets approved and how long is the reimbursement check going to take? We don’t really have the means to just buy a couple of hundred dollars of anything so timing is really important. Thank you very much for creating this website, it really helps a lot of people who are in the similar situation.

    1. Hi
      I wish I had a good answer for you. I haven’t done this in a while although it wouldn’t surprise me if they took a couple of months to pay up. Does anyone else out there have any recent experience with this?

  6. Hi my son was just approved up to 750$ for ipad do i have to purchase ipad first then they renburse me or is there away his school will purchase it for him he goes to an autistic class right now.

    1. I assume that by “approved”, that the AFU has received your justification form and given you the approval to purchase the ipad. If this is the case, then you would normally purchase the ipad yourself and request reimbursement from the AFU.

      I’m looking into a possible new way of obtaining the ipad without putting forward any cash. Some families are working on this and as soon as I have any concrete information, I will make a post.

      Aside from the AFU, it is possible to get an ipad from SET BC. That is within the education system and completely separate from the Autism Funding Unit.

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