NDIS participants receive transport boost
Monday, 3rd February 2020 at 4:15 pm
Disability advocates say the move is a step in the right direction
National Disability Insurance Scheme participants will once again be able to pay for transport using their core support funding under changes announced by the Morrison government.
NDIS Minister Stuart Robert said on Monday that from 1 March, participants can use their plan’s core funding when travelling to and from NDIS-funded community activities.
This reverses a decision made by the National Disability Insurance Agency in July last year, which banned people from using money assigned for their core support for travel when their transport funding ran out.
Providers will also be able to claim some of their vehicle running costs when transporting an NDIS participant. These costs are in addition to the support worker’s time and factored at a per-kilometre rate.
Robert said this decision – which was recommended by a bipartisan NDIS committee late last year – will help to resolve some of the long-standing issues regarding the interaction between the NDIS and transport supports.
“This change will give participants more autonomy in their plans, and greater choice and control over the services and supports they need,” Robert said.
“Participants now have a fair and consistent process to cover their transport costs with providers.”
Every Australian Counts campaign director Kirsten Deane told Pro Bono News that the announcement was great news for people with disability and their families.
She said transport problems were constantly brought up by participants at NDIS community forums and this was a step in the right direction.
“Movement on transport is incredibly important and being able to use your funds more flexibly is vital,” Deane said.
“So this looks good, but we’ve got to see some more of the details to make sure people are allowed to use their NDIS funding in a way that works for them.”
Deane added that while this was great for people getting transported by a service provider, there were still issues around the use of taxis for NDIS participants that needed to be followed up.
“What people tell us all the time is that they want to be able to use their funds in the way that’s best for them, because there’s too many rules and regulations at the moment,” she said.
“So every single step that the NDIS takes to allow people to use the funds more flexibly is exactly what people with disability and their families want.”
Last October, the COAG Disability Reform Council endorsed interim measures to boost transport funding for NDIS participants who regularly use the taxi subsidy scheme.
The federal government also agreed to fully reimburse states and territories for their NDIS taxi subsidy schemes from the start of this year until 31 October 2021.