In some fantastic news this morning the Minister for the NDIS Stuart Robert announced NDIS participants will soon be able to pay for transport from their core NDIS funding.
From March 1 participants will be able to use core funding to pay providers who transport them to and from community-based activities.
The transport costs will be charged in addition to the support worker’s time.
The statement says providers and participants can “discuss” rates and costs but the NDIA set prices will be:
🚗 up to $0.85 a kilometre for a standard vehicle (not modified for accessibility)
🚌 up to $2.40 a kilometre for a vehicle that is modified for accessibility or a bus
🅿️ other forms of transport or associated costs up to the full amount, such as road tolls, parking, public transport fares.
A new price guide with line items and unit prices will be released in the next couple of weeks.
Although the statement from the Minister did not make it clear (arrghhh) the NDIA have confirmed with us this morning that participants who receive a periodic payment for transport (the infamous Level 1, 2 and 3 transport payments) WILL be able to use their core funding to “top up” their transport.
For those playing along at home, this reverses a very unhelpful change made last year which stopped people who receive a periodic payment from using their core funds for transport. It meant that once their periodic payment ran out there was NO more money for transport.
It gets pointed out endlessly – there is not much point in having funds to do things if you cannot get there and back.
And while we know this does not fix every transport issue for everyone, we think it certainly gets things moving in the right direction (all puns intended).
Anything that makes things more flexible and allows people to use their funds in the way that works for them is a step in the right direction. It is the way the scheme was supposed to work.
But it will only make a real difference to people on the ground if they have enough funding in their plan in the first place. We don’t want people to go without essential support so they can pay for transport (we’ll certainly keep delivering that message).
Unfortunately there was not a lot of detail announced this morning. And we have a few more questions. Things like:
❓ What happens if you don’t have enough funds in your plan to cover additional transport? What should you do?
❓ If you have never received any funds for transport will your provider be able to claim this amount? What happens if you run out of funds?
❓ Are there any changes for people who allow their support workers to drive their own car?
And a few more. We are chasing answers at the moment – we will update as soon as we have them.
In the meantime if you want to read more here is the announcement on the NDIS website.
(And a shout out to our fantastic Every Australian Counts Champions Peter and Linda Tully, who are featured in the photo above.)