Managing Disability Support for Older Australians Program services

As a Disability Support for Older Australians (DSOA) Program service coordinator, you have certain management responsibilities. These include conducting annual reviews, telling us about certain changes and having plans for service continuity and emergency management.

Grant agreements

When you become a DSOA service coordinator, you will enter into a new grant agreement with the Department of Health.

The grant agreement must include:

As a DSOA Program service coordinator, you must meet all the requirements of your grant agreement.

Annual reviews

An annual review is a check of the services your client is receiving from you. The review looks at whether your client’s services are still suitable.

All DSOA clients must have an annual review of services (or more frequently if required). When you do the review the review process must:

  • include the client (and their carer, advocate or nominee)
  • check that the services and supports are meeting the client’s needs and goals
  • review what strategies are working and what elements of the client’s services could be improved
  • assess whether the supports being used are meeting the client’s needs. If not, you need to identify different supports or increase client supports
  • identify any changes in client circumstances.

Where support needs are stable, the review can be a brief discussion with the client over the phone, via video conference or face-to-face.

If you don’t have the ability to do the review, you can purchase or subcontract one from an organisation with expertise in this area. You may contact your Funding Arrangement Manager if you require help to identify an appropriate provider.

Client budgets must not be affected if you need to purchase a review. Associated costs can be drawn from the DSOA service coordinator’s 1% management fee.

What the review covers

You must look at whether the services the client is receiving are continuing to meet their needs. You do not need to reassess their ongoing eligibility for services.

What happens after the review

You and the client must discuss the result of the review, and any change in supports required.

Both parties must agree on any changes to the client’s Individual Support Plan (ISP) before updating the ISP and submitting through the DSOA portal.

If the review results in a referral to My Aged Care, we will help you with the process.

If the client doesn’t agree with the review

If a client doesn't agree with the result of the review, you should discuss this with them.

If you can’t come to an agreement, clients can use the complaint processes outlined in your grant agreement.

Support available

To help conduct reviews, you have access to the National Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National).

For more information on annual reviews, read section 5.3 of the DSOA Program manual.

Changing services

Over time, a client’s needs can change. If this happens, you must review the services your client receives. You may need to change the services to meet their new needs.

If the review indicates the client’s needs have changed because of their disability, a Change of Need application may be submitted through the DSOA portal.

If the change of need is more than $20,000 (excluding GST) over a rolling 12 month period, an independent assessment will be required. In some cases Health may request an independent assessment.

A client’s services may also change because they are:

  • moving to aged care
  • suspending services
  • exiting the program.

For more information on changing services, read section 6 of the DSOA Program manual.

Transferring clients

A client transfer is when a person receiving DSOA Program services changes service providers.

A transfer of services can happen for various reasons. These include:

  • the client chooses to change DSOA service coordinator
  • the client moves to an area their current DSOA service coordinator does not cover
  • the DSOA service coordinator can no longer offer the services the client needs.

All client transfers should involve:

  • your Funding Arrangement Manager
  • the client’s carer, advocate or nominee.

If you are the current DSOA service coordinator, you need to:

  • have a process in place for the transfer of clients
  • let your clients know about their right to change providers
  • advise your Funding Arrangement Manager of your client’s new DSOA service coordinator
  • make sure the new DSOA service coordinator is able to accept them as a client.

For more on what to do when transferring a client, read section 7 of the DSOA Program manual.

Exiting clients

Clients exit the DSOA Program when they:

  • choose to exit 
  • have a change in their needs, and additional support options are not available
  • no longer need DSOA Program services
  • have not used DSOA Program services for over 12 months
  • are an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander client and become eligible for the NDIS
  • pass away.

When a client permanently exits the DSOA Program, you need to advise your Funding Arrangement Manager in writing within 14 days of the client exiting.

Once your Funding Arrangement Manager receives notice of an exiting client, your future payments will be reduced. This will happen from the quarter following notice.

Once the client has exited, you must make sure that any payments for services to this client have stopped.

The process for exiting a client is outlined in section 7 of the DSOA Program manual and in your grant agreement.


DSOA Program service coordinators must report on any tasks, activities, services or other purposes described in your grant agreement.

Your grant agreement tells you when you must submit your reports.

For more on reporting, read section 9 of the DSOA Program manual.

Notification of changes

All DSOA service coordinators must tell us when:

  • transferring a client to another DSOA service coordinator
  • planning to stop providing DSOA services
  • there are any changes to your client’s level of service
  • a client stops receiving services for longer than 3 months
  • a client permanently exits the DSOA Program.

All information on what notifications you need to make will be in your grant agreement.

Service continuity and emergency management

As a DSOA service coordinator you must do whatever you can to make sure your clients continue to receive the DSOA Program services. This includes having the correct plans in place for:

  • emergency situations
  • when you stop providing services.

For more on service continuity and emergency management, read section 8.9 of the DSOA Program manual.

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