COVID-19 testing – people with disability

Recently updated
Last Updated: 20 May 2022 4:12pm

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been told that you are a close contact of someone who has COVID-19, you must get tested for COVID-19. Download an easy to read fact sheet about COVID-19 testing.

There are two types of tests – rapid antigen tests (RATs) and PCR tests.

  • There are a few different types of RATs. Some require getting samples from deep in your nostrils with a special small cotton bud, then putting the bud tip into a chemical solution.

  • Some RATs require you to collect a sample of your saliva by rubbing a sponge that is on the end of a test stick around the inside of your mouth. Saliva tests can sometimes be easier to use but are not always as sensitive or accurate.

View Infographic-saliva-test-instructions.

You can also watch V-CHECK’s video demonstration.

Someone who supports you can take your swabs for you.

If the result is positive, you have COVID-19. You must let Public Health know. Use the online declaration form, or phone the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.

  • PCR tests are usually done by a nurse or doctor. They take a swab of both your nostrils and your throat. The sample is sent to a lab to be tested. You will receive the result by an SMS text message, usually within two days. If the result is positive, you have COVID-19.

Find out more about the types of COVID-19 tests, or phone the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.

Accessing tests

There are a few options to access tests.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, are   identified as a close contact of a case, or if Public Health asks you to get tested, you can:

  • get a free nasal RAT from the Department of Health. To do this, request a RAT online:
    • You can collect the RAT yourself or someone can collect if for you
    • You will receive a text message with a collection point  to go to
    • If you cannot collect your RAT and no-one can collect it for you, the RAT can be delivered to your home.
  • get a free PCR test at a COVID-19 testing clinic. Book a PCR test online or by calling the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738
  • get a free saliva RAT from the Department of Health. You can request a saliva RAT from the Disability Emergency Operations Centre by emailing them at

If you don’t have symptoms, are not a close contact, and have not been told by Public Health to get tested, but would like to do a RAT, you can purchase RAT kits at local pharmacies, supermarkets or other suppliers.

Eligible participants can use funding from their NDIS plan to purchase RATs. Read more information about this on the NDIS website.

People who hold Australian Government concession cards can get up to 10 free RATs per three-month period (with a maximum of five in a month) from participating local community pharmacies. Find out more on the Services Australia website.

More information

If you are a person with disability, the family or carer of a person with disability, or a disability service provider and have any questions related specifically to COVID-19 support for people with disability, you can email

Easy Read – what to do if you test positive to COVID-19