NDIS Provider Travel: What You Need to Know
As NDIS transport providers and plan management providers, we want to ensure our participants receive the best support possible from us. Thankfully, the NDIS recognises that we spend a lot of time travelling between our place of work to visit different participants’ locations and places of interest. Sometimes this involves paying out of pocket for expenses as well as causing wear and tear on our vehicles.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provider travel is a tool to claim back travel expenses and time travelling to and from delivering supports to our participants and other costs that might be incurred during travel time. It can also include travel time such as accompanying participants to community and educational activities.
For this reason, we believe it is important for you to have all the information you need to handle provider travel under NDIS effectively. Let’s delve into the specifics of the NDIS guidelines surrounding provider travel, including the circumstances under which providers can claim travel expenses and the parameters for calculating these costs.
What is NDIS provider travel?
As a service provider or one of your dedicated workers, it is important to acknowledge the efforts made when travelling to meet participants in order to provide essential support. The NDIS understands that these travel expenses can accumulate, and we want to assure you that you have the opportunity to claim these expenses through the participants’ NDIS funding.
However, it is crucial to adhere to certain conditions and maintain accurate records of these travel expenses. In addition, you can only claim these expenses as long as it is agreed upon with the participant before the service begins and it is outlined in the service agreement.
What are the guidelines and regulations for NDIS provider travel?
There are specific factors that come into play to determine whether a provider can claim for worker travel time:
- The type of support provided
- The location of the appointment
- Where a provider or workers journey begins and ends
- Worker travel time was agreed by the participant in advance
A provider can claim worker travel time when delivering the following supports:
- Personal care
- Community access
- Therapeutic supports
- Early childhood early intervention (ECEI) supports
Capacity Building providers have the ability to claim the time spent travelling from their last participant to their regular workplace. However, Core support providers are not eligible to claim for the time spent travelling back to their usual place of business.
If you are claiming worker travel time with NDIS funding you will be required to keep accurate records of your work/travel times, receipts for tolls and parking, for payment assurance purposes. The NDIS is subject to audit providers at any time to ensure they continue to comply.
Agree in Advance
As a service provider, you should prioritise open communication and transparency when claiming workers’ travel time. You need to discuss and agree upon worker travel time claims in advance with the participants. By doing this, you encourage mutual understanding and avoid any potential confusion. It is also recommended to include this information in the service agreement, providing participants with clarity and peace of mind.
In situations where a worker provides services to multiple participants in a region, the costs can be apportioned among them. However, this can only be done with the explicit agreement of each participant in advance. This approach allows us to create a supportive environment where decisions are made collectively, including agreements on travel to and from the location where the support is delivered.
Accompanying a participant on outings or assisting with their transportation is a valuable and supportive service. In recognition of this, workers and providers have the opportunity to claim participant travel time. By reaching a mutual agreement with the participant, the worker can charge the same hourly rate for the relevant support item, ensuring fair compensation for their time.
How much can a provider claim for travel time?
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provides pricing arrangements and price limits to indicate what a reasonable cost for general transport would entail. As of the latest NDIS pricing Arrangements and Price Limits 2022/23 a worker or provider can claim $0.85 per kilometre for a privately owned vehicle or up to the full amount for other forms of transport or associated costs such as road tolls, parking and public transport.
In order to determine the appropriate cost for the time spent, it is crucial for the provider to engage in open dialogue with the participant before the services begin. This allows for a collaborative discussion regarding the rate that will be charged by the provider for their travel.
The provider can either use the same hourly rate as the support item or propose a lower rate that aligns with the participant’s preferences. By facilitating this conversation and considering the participant’s input, we can establish a fair and transparent pricing structure that reflects their needs and encourages a fruitful partnership.
What is the difference between provider travel vs participant travel?
Provider travel is the process through which a provider claims reimbursement for the time spent travelling to participants’ locations in order to deliver services. In some cases, it may also involve the time spent travelling back to the provider’s place of business.
Participant travel refers to the utilisation of a participant’s support funding from their NDIS plan to pay transport costs when providers are travelling with the participants. Providers can claim these travel expenses when accompanying participants to and from community or educational activities that are funded by the NDIS plan. These travel costs are typically itemised on the invoice as part of the overall support cost.
Providers must make sure that the support costs and travel costs are separated on the invoice and in some instances, three separate costs may appear. You will need the support item, the provider travel time spent and the other provider travel costs incurred such as parking fees and tolls.
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