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Activity Based Transport: Q&A

We recently hosted a live Q&A on facebook about transport & NDIS. Here’s a summary.

By Evie Naufal and Sara Gingold

Updated 15 Apr 20242 Mar 2020

We hosted a live Q&A on our Facebook page about the recent changes to transport funding and the NDIS Price Guide. The video is still up, you can watch it here. But for those of you who prefer a written summary, here it is:

WHAT HAS CHANGED?

As of 1 March, participants have greater flexibility in how they pay for transport - but only for certain types of trips. The updated Price Guide has created 2 new definitions of transport:

  • Activity Based Transport: Transport “to, or from, or as part of, a community participation support”. This is transport delivered by a provider who will also be supporting the person at the destination. There are new line items in the Price Guide that people can use to claim vehicle costs for these types of trips (read more).
  • General Transport Services: Transport to “an activity that is not itself a support – or to a support that is delivered by another provider.”. This category includes transport to places where service is delivered by an unregistered provider, a provider other than the transport provider or somewhere where no support is being delivered. There is no increased flexibility for this type of trip, which still needs to be paid from a person’s transport budget.

WHAT IS THE NEW PRICE FOR TRANSPORT?

There is no limit on transport prices though the NDIA makes the following recommendation:

  • 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;
  • plus other forms of transport or associated costs up to the full amount, such as road tolls, parking, public transport fares.

It’s important to note that the Participant needs to consent to any transport charge, even if it meets the above guidelines.

IF THERE IS A GROUP THAT IS TRANSPORTED & SUPPORTED BY THE PROVIDER, HOW DO YOU SPLIT PAYMENTS?

It’s up to the provider to calculate the per-person contribution and then make sure that everyone agrees to the price.

DOES A PARTICIPANT SPECIFICALLY REQUIRE A TRANSPORT LINE ITEM TO BE STATED IN THEIR PLAN TO BE ABLE TO CLAIM AGAINST THEIR CORE SUPPORTS?

It depends. If they want to claim General Transport then they will need to have transport included in their plan. If they want to claim Activity Based Transport, they can claim from any of the following support categories:

  • Assistance with Social and Community Participation
  • Improved Living Arrangements
  • Increased Social and Community Participation
  • Improved Relationships
  • Improved Learning
  • Finding and Keeping a Job (excl. SLES)

WILL PLANS BE ADJUSTED TO ALLOW ADDITIONAL FUNDS FOR TRANSPORT?

There is no indication that extra funding will be put into existing plans. If you’re supporting someone to get ready for plan review, make sure to calculate the activity-based transport costs that may be needed and request it to be put into the following plan.

WHAT DO THEY MEAN BY “COMMUNITY BASED”? FOR EXAMPLE, ARE DAY PROGRAMS COMMUNITY BASED?

We don’t know. The NDIA have not given any clarification on which services are considered “community based”.

HOW DOES THE WAY PEOPLE MANAGE THEIR FUNDS IMPACT THEIR TRANSPORT FLEXIBILITY?

How people manage their funds should not impact their ability to claim for Activity Based Transport.

DO WE NEED TO AMEND THE SERVICE AGREEMENT TO INCLUDE THE TRANSPORT COST INCLUDING MILEAGE COST AND OTHER ASSOCIATED COSTS?

You need to get the Participant’s consent for any new transport charges. Updating your service agreement (or schedule of supports) may be the best way to do that. Depending on what the service agreement in place says, you might also find a much easier way to record that consent.

ARE THERE AGE RESTRICTIONS? IE CAN UNDER 18S ACCESS THIS THROUGH THEIR CORE BUDGETS?

There is no formal age limit on these line items. As always, supports just need to meet the criteria set out on page 9 of Participant Booklet 3 (the “What can you spend your funding on?” checklist), which asks Participants (among other things) to consider whether the proposed support is something that would usually be provided by family/friends/the community.

WHAT IF THE SUPPORT WORKER IS DOING A TASK WITHOUT THE PARTICIPANT PRESENT? E.G. SUPERMARKET SHOPPING

We reckon this falls under the definition of provider travel, not Participant transport, which would mean there is no option for the provider to claim vehicle costs.

WHAT HAPPENS TO THOSE PARTICIPANTS WHO USE SERVICE PROVIDERS WHO DON'T HAVE WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE VEHICLES AND WOULD NORMALLY USE TAXIS FOR COMMUNITY ACCESS?

Since taxis are unregistered providers (and unlikely to be the community access support provider), paying a taxi directly would not meet the definition of Activity Based Transport. But we can’t see any issues with a provider covering the cost of a taxi as part of their support and then invoicing the Participant for the cost.

IF A PARTICIPANT DOESN’T HAVE TRANSPORT FUNDING IN THEIR PLAN BUT HAS CORE FUNDING CAN THEY USE SHARE RIDING SERVICES INSTEAD OF A SUPPORT WORKER IF IT MEETS GOALS OF INDEPENDENCE?

Unfortunately not. Using a rideshare service without a support worker would be considered General Transport and people need to have transport included in their plan to pay for that.

DO YOU THINK THE NDIA WILL CHANGE THIS AGAIN AND MAKE IT LESS CONFUSING AND SILLY?

We certainly hope so! But we’ve been around the NDIS long enough to know things don’t always go in the direction of less confusing and silly so we’re not holding our breath.

We will be holding more Facebook lives in the coming weeks. So like and/or follow us to stay tuned!

Authors

Evie Naufal
Sara Gingold

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