Access to transport is an important key to social and economic participation for people with a disability, whether it is a means to access the community, work, study, job-seeking, medical appointments or just to do errands.
Like many other areas of life, transport arrangements are going to look very different as people transition to the NDIS.
Currently, many people receive the Mobility Allowance through Centrelink for travel to and from paid work, voluntary work, study, training or job-seeking. The allowance is limited to people who need substantial assistance in order to use public transport because of disability, injury or illness.
Once you transition to the NDIS and your plan is in place, Centrelink will be notified and you will cease being paid the Mobility Allowance.
However transport supports and funds are available under the NDIS so it's important that you tell your NDIS planner what your transport needs are so that they are adequately funded.
This is a good time to start thinking about your transport options in a new way.
Are there any circumstances in which you use public transport? You might like to access some capacity building funding under the NDIS, so that you can develop your skills to travel more independently.
Is it an absolute requirement for you to have transport other than public transport? This may apply if no public transport is available from your home to the places you want to go such as to work or to access the community. Or perhaps public transport is not suitable for you because of your specific disability.
If so, then you probably qualify for NDIS transport assistance funding. The NDIS has three levels of support for transport assistance that will be paid fortnightly in advance:
Level 1 – Up to $1,606 per year for participants who are not working, studying or attending day programs but are seeking to enhance their community access.
Level 2 – Up to $2,472 per year for participants who are currently working or studying part-time (up to 15 hours a week), participating in day programs and for other social, recreational or leisure activities.
Level 3 – Up to $3,456 per year for participants who are currently working, looking for work, or studying, at least 15 hours a week, and are unable to use public transport because of their disability.
Exceptional circumstances: participants can receive higher funding if the participant has supports (mainstream, informal or funded) in their plan that enables their participation in employment.
Click here for the text-only Easy Read version of this information.
If you qualify you will have a range of options to explore. Some options might be:
- Plan your transport use so that it can be entirely covered by the transport funds available under the NDIS.
- Build additional transport supports into your NDIS package by utilising other components such as Capacity Building funds for training.
- Purchase your own vehicle and access NDIS Capital funds to carry out vehicle modifications so that you can drive yourself or have another person transport you.
Many people utilise a contract transport or bus transport service offered by a disability service provider or community transport group. You might choose this option if you require door-to-door transport from your home to your daytime activities, place of study or workplace. This may also be your preferred option if there is no public transport option available in your area. Service providers will continue to offer this option, if it is what people want and it is also financially viable.
Some people may purchase their own vehicle and drive themselves, or a family member will drive them in an ordinary vehicle.
You may come up with some other options that work better for you. For example, some people may purchase their own vehicle, which their support team can use to transport them. You might make an arrangement with your staff members that they will transport you in their own vehicle and then charge you a per-kilometre rate in line with the Tax Office rates.
Or if you don’t need transport very often and your support team are agreeable, another option could be for your team member to transport you in their own vehicle, and claim the cost of travel back from the Tax Office when they submit their tax return.
Remember, you will need to think about car insurance in any situation where you are utilising a private vehicle for transport.
Vehicle modification can be considered 'reasonable and necessary' under the NDIS, for example if you need special seating or equipment to get in and out of the vehicle.
Taxi Subsidy Scheme
The Queensland, New South Wales and Victorian governments all operate a taxi subsidy scheme for people with a disability. Each state has made different arrangements for the NDIS transition.
New South Wales
Taxi Subsidy Scheme (TSS)
Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme (TTSS)
Multi Purpose Taxi Program (MPTP)
Must be a permanent resident of Qld with severe disabilities, defined as fully meeting one of six eligibility criteria.
Doctor must sign application form.
Also available for 6-12 months to people with a temporary disability.
Must be a resident of NSW with severe and permanent disability under one of five categories.
Must provide medical documentation for independent assessor.
Scheme is not means-tested.
Pension card does not mean automatic qualification.
Must be a permanent resident of Australia and live in Victoria.
Must have a severe and permanent disability that prevents you using public transport.
Must have a Centrelink or Veterans Affairs pension card and demonstrate financial hardship.
Prior to NDIS implementation
TSS issues a card for members to use and will subsidise half of a taxi fare, up to $25 per trip.
TTSS is a docket system which will subsidise half of the taxi fare, up to $60 per trip, for eligible people.
MPTP will pay half of your taxi fare, of up to $60 per trip. Also covers the taxi lifting fee for MPTP members who use a wheelchair or mobility scooter.
NDIS participants will not be eligible for TSS membership.
As the NDIS rolls out the scheme will not change the way customers use their TTSS dockets in NSW.
The Victorian Government is still working with the NDIA to finalise arrangements for how eligible MPTP users can access transport support under the NDIS. In the meantime they can continue to access the subsidy.
Taxi Subsidy Scheme
Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme
Multi Purpose Taxi Program
We've prepared a downloadable fact sheet that includes applicable NDIS support items and reference numbers to enable you to understand how to specifically request transport options in your plan.
Other public transport tools
To make public transport easier to use and more affordable, a range of other concessions and handy tools are available, depending on which state you live in. These include Companion Cards, Assistance Animal Permits and much more. Find out more on your state government transport website:
If you live in South East Queensland and have been assessed as unable to touch on or off with a go card, check out Translink’s video on how to apply for an annual Translink Access Pass.
The Commonwealth Department of Human Services has developed a Digital Wallet app that allows you to present digital image of your concession or health care card using your phone or smart device. Find out more about the Digital Wallet on the website.
Do you have more questions or ideas about transport? We’d love to hear them! Drop us a line at email@example.com or call us on 1800 112 112.