What is the Disability Support for Older Australians (DSOA) Program?

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The Disability Support for Older Australians (DSOA) Program is a closed scheme that provides care and services to people with disability who were ineligible for support through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Key points:

  • The Disability Support for Older Australians Program (DSOA) replaced the former Continuity of Support (CoS) Programme
  • This program is only accessible to a specific group of people, and is considered a ‘closed’ program
  • The new DSOA Program provides better funding and service coverage for current clients than the CoS

It is a very specific program and only accessible to certain older people with disability who were receiving supports through their State or Territory prior to the rollout of the NDIS.

Below explains what the DSOA is, who it may help, and the eligibility requirements for the program.

What is this program?

If you were receiving supports for your disability through your State or Territory before the rollout of the NDIS, but you aged past the age of 65, you were likely put into a program that ensured you were still able to access the supports you needed, as you were ineligible for the NDIS.

The DSOA took over from the Continuity of Support (CoS) Programme in July 2021.

The aim of the former CoS was to provide supports to a person who may not meet the NDIS access requirements.

During the transition to the NDIS, the Government wanted to ensure no one would be disadvantaged by the changes that were occurring.

Now, the CoS has been replaced by the DSOA Program, which continues to provide client-centred services to the people with disability within this cohort.

This DSOA Program aims to fill the gap for people with disability who were ineligible for the NDIS during the initial rollout and transition process to the new scheme.

Under the DSOA, there are some key changes from the original CoS, including tailored Individual Support Plans (ISPs), service coordinators to support clients, being able to apply for more supports if your needs change, and better and more consistent disability service funding.

This program is not accessible for everyone and is only accessible to people with disability who were in the former CoS program.

Who can access it?

This scheme is very specific on who is able to access it, and is closed to new client entrants.

You need to be a former CoS client to be able to receive supports through the DSOA Program.

The eligibility criteria stipulates a person with disability must be:

  • 65 or over when the NDIS was implemented in their region and had been found ineligible for the NDIS
  • An Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person aged 50-64 years when the NDIS was rolled out in their region and been assessed as ineligible for the NDIS
  • An existing client of specialist disability services through their State or Territory during the transition to the NDIS in their region

If you do not meet this criteria, you will need to access supports and care through the Government aged care system. You can learn more about this in our article, ‘What happens to my disability support when I turn 65?

What can you expect?

If you are given access to the DSOA Program, you will be able to access:

  • Funding that is aligned with the NDIS pricing for disability supports
  • An Individual Support Package that is overseen by a DSOA service coordinator
  • Support for complex needs that will assist you to remain living in your home or in support accommodation, including as your needs change

Even though you are not accessing the NDIS for supports and services, the DSOA Program still aims to provide you quality care, support and services, as well as encourage your right to choice and independence, in a similar way to the NDIS.

Under the DSOA Program, your supports should be delivered in a flexible and timely manner that is responsive to your needs, the services should be socially and culturally appropriate for you, and should uphold your human rights.

Additionally, if your support needs increase, you are able to get a review of your current plan through the DSOA Program to ensure you are receiving the right services.

What supports do you need to access to live well in the community? Tell us in the comments below.

Related content:

What happens to my disability support when I turn 65?
Seniors 65+ years
Am I eligible for the NDIS?