The National Sign Language Program (NSLP)

The NSLP provides free sign language interpreting and captioning services for deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing older people. Find out what services are covered and who can access them.

About the NSLP

The NSLP supports the communication needs of deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing people to engage with aged care services and take part in professional and social activities. This includes banking, attending weddings, funerals, clubs and cultural activities.

Who it is for 

You can access the NSLP if you are:

  • deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing 
  • aged 65 years and older (50 or over for First Nations people)
  • not eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme
  • a provider of Australian Government–subsidised aged care services

Your organisation is eligible if you provide: 

  • care finders
  • Regional Assessment Services
  • Aged Care Assessment Teams
  • Commonwealth Home Support Programme
  • Home Care Packages
  • residential aged care
  • other aged care services subsidised by the Australian Government

Services Covered

Deaf Connect provides services 7 days a week, including emergencies and after business hours (if required). They include:

  • face-to-face and video remote sign language interpreting
  • sign language services include Auslan, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, American Sign Language, International Sign Language, and Signed English
  • tactile signing and hand-over-hand signing for deafblind people.
  • live captioning either onsite or remotely.

Accessing services

Book services as soon as possible to make sure an interpreter or stenographer (captioning) is available.

For individual clients

If you are a client, you can make your own booking  by contacting Deaf Connect. You do not need a booking code, but must register with Deaf Connect if you have not already done so. You can also ask your  service provider or assessment organisation to book an interpreter or stenographer for you.

For service providers

As a service provider, you must register your  organisation on the booking platform before contacting Deaf Connect to make an appointment for the first time.

Once registered, you will receive a booking code, which you must use each time you book an interpreting or captioning service.

Expansion on 1 July 2024

From 1 July 2024 the NSLP will include sign language interpreting and captioning services for health and medical appointments that attract a Medicare rebate.

The expanded program will remain free of charge, with services delivered by Deaf Connect. 

This means clients will be able to access free sign language interpreting and captioning services to engage with aged care services, participate in social inclusion activities and take care of their health needs from a single service provider. Contact Deaf Connect if you have any questions.


Deaf Connect

Deaf Connect is funded by the Department of Health and Aged Care to provide sign language interpreting and captioning services to service providers.
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