The most recent NDIS Price Guide has seen some changes being made to how travel is billed by service providers and also how participants are to utilise travel funding in their plans.
Service providers bill core funding for travel reimbursements when assisting clients in the community, however only if the participant has travel written into their “core”. If the participant receives travel funding as a regular fortnightly payment into their bank account, then the participant can only utilise this funding to reimburse service providers. They can no longer use core funding.
“Unfortunately the way it has been written into the new price guide has left people and service providers unsure and confused about the changes as there is no explicit explanation of the change in policy. Just a series of example scenarios,” says Mr Tony Jones, Advocacy Manager, Spinal Cord Injuries Australia.
“This change will most certainly affect participants, particularly for those receiving a regular fortnightly payment, because the funding level often doesn’t cover the true cost. Some participants who received fortnightly travel funding have utilised core funding in their plan for additional transport costs to cover additional taxi uses.”
Mr Jones states that the NDIA must ensure that maximum flexibility is returned with regard to covering transport costs, irrespective of whether someone receives a fortnightly payment or has transport written into their core.
Spinal Cord Injuries Australia has sought further clarification on this issue and will be pushing for changes. The rules were changed some years ago because of all of the transport funding issues participants were experiencing. This led to greater flexibility including adding transport to the other elements of the “core” budget – those being assistance with daily living, social and community support, consumables and transport, which allows participants to mix and match according to need.”
Refer to the NDIS Price Guide and Support Catalogue 2019–20 for further details or contact Spinal Cord Injuries Australia on 1800 819 775.