The 6 things you need to know about the latest NDIS transport changes

12 March 2020

FROM INGRID: “Hi I’m Ingrid and this is a good photo of me and Kai. Kai is a support worker. We had fun being models for this picture and I hope you like this good photo.”

You might have heard that the NDIA recently made some changes to the way they fund transport in your NDIS plan.

And in case you missed the announcement: from the 1st of March 2020, you can now pay for transport from your NDIS core funding!

Yep, you can now use your core funding to pay providers who transport you to, from and during community-based activities.

If all that sounds a bit vague, that’s because it is. Information about these changes is trickling through, and there are still many questions that need to be answered.

While we wait, here are the 6 things you need to know:

1. To take advantage of this, you will need to have the core funding available

At least in the short term, this will only make a difference to you if you have enough core funding left over to spend on transport. For everyone else, you will need to either wait until their next plan review, or apply to have your funding reviewed.

Your funds won’t update automatically

Often when there is a price increase on an existing line item, your NDIS funding will be automatically adjusted to make sure you have the right funding to see you through to your next plan review. This is not the case with the latest transport changes. As this is a new thing (and not an existing line item) – you will need to speak to your NDIS planner to get the right funding.

You will need to talk to your planner about your needs to get the right funding

In your next planning meeting, you will need to make it clear to your planner what your transport needs are. They will be wanting to know why this is a reasonable and necessary support for you.

If you can’t hold out until your next planning meeting, you might want to think about lodging a plan review (we outline the steps to this in our blog "what to do when the NDIS gets it wrong”).

It’s important to make sure there’s enough funding for your regular supports

You might want to make the most of these changes right away, but we don’t want to see people go without their essential supports so they can pay for transport.

2. It won’t replace or change the existing transport payments (the level 1, 2 and 3 thing)

You will be able to take advantage of this transport change whether you receive the existing transport payments or not, so long as your planner has deemed it reasonable and necessary and you have the core funds for it.

Many people reading this will already receive transport support funding from the NDIS. This change has not been designed to replace this, it’s been designed to work alongside it. Existing transport funding runs out far too quickly for many people. The new changes allow you to essentially use your core funding as a kind of extension on the existing transport funding.

3. When it comes to using your core funding your transport provider will need to also be your service provider

This is something really important to note.

You can only take advantage of this new change if you’re travelling with a registered NDIS service provider, who is also providing you with support at your destination. So, unless your Uber driver is also your support worker, you won’t have much luck getting the NDIS to cover the costs of your rideshare.

This rule does NOT apply to the existing transport support payments - in those payments, you CAN use it on transport that is not an NDIS registered service provider.

Confused?

We made a table:

  Can you use existing transport payments towards these travel costs?  Can you use core funding towards these travel costs?  

An NDIS registered service provider who is providing you with both transport and support at your destination.

(The NDIS calls this “Activity Based Transport – Community Participation Supports”)

Yes

Yes

NDIS registered service provider that provides you with transport but nothing else.

(The NDIS calls this “Activity Based Transport – Community Participation Supports”)

Yes

No

Uber driver/taxi driver/bus driver etc

(The NDIS calls this “General Transport Supports”)

Yes

No

4. It won’t happen overnight

This is a pretty significant change to the NDIS, so it’s going to take a while for people’s plans, the service providers and the NDIS to get it all flowing smoothly.

Transport and billing are logistical beasts from a service provider’s perspective.

For years, transport under the NDIS has been a well-documented sore spot for many of us. After all, there’s not much point having the funding for activities you can’t actually get to.

Will this fix every transport issue? No. But is it a step in the right direction? Yes!

5. You will need to talk to your service provider about it

Service providers might roll out these changes in different ways – if they can at all. To work out what this might mean for you, it’s best to give your service provider a call.

Like with your regular service agreement, the rate is something you will need to work out directly with your service provider.

6. This decision is actually one that was reversed

For many people who have been keeping up with the NDIS for a while now, you might remember a day when you could use your core supports for transport.

Last year the government changed the rules, and now, it looks like they’ve changed them back.

Why did they change it in the first place?

No one really knows.

A big thank you to Ingrid and Kai for being in the photo for this blog.

Contact us to find out how we can support you

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