As part of a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) plan, providers can work with people with disability to arrange for support workers to be paid for their travel time.
Support workers can be paid for their travel time to a location where they provide a service
The amount of time which they can be paid for depends on what area the service is delivered in
Funding comes from a person with disability’s NDIS plan and is agreed upon by the person with their provider under a service agreement
Funding for the travel of support workers is claimable if the worker is travelling between appointments and workplaces - which could be a person with disability’s home or a community centre, for example.
The reason this funding is important is that it allows support workers to be paid for the time they take travelling to deliver your services and not just for delivering the services.
It can help to encourage providers to service people in smaller towns or can help you to find a service provider who best meets your needs, but may not be based in your suburb.
How much funding can be claimed?
In metropolitan areas, regional centres and areas with large rural towns, up to 30 minutes of a support worker’s travel time can be claimed per trip.
For areas with medium or small rural towns, up to 60 minutes of travel can be claimed.
This means if a support worker travels for two hours across a rural area to deliver care they can only claim for half of that time; an hour of travel.
The claim rate set by the National Disability Insurance Agency is currently at just over $57 per hour, but you and your provider can set a rate below that if you agree on it.
In remote and very remote areas capacity building providers can have specific arrangements with you to better cover travel costs and support worker time.
To check whether you are in a metro or regional area and how much funding your support providers can claim, you can check the Health Workforce Locator, which uses the same Modified Monash Model (MMM) as the NDIS uses for provider travel.
The MMM classifies areas on a scale of remoteness - with MM1 being a location in a major city and MM7 being very remote.
The classification which applies to a provider travel claim is for the location where the service is provided - which could be your home or another place in your community.
A provider can also negotiate with you to make a reasonable contribution towards other costs they incur.
This contribution can be up to $0.85 per kilometre for use of a vehicle which is not modified for accessibility, which for example you might be travelling in with a support worker to an appointment, and up to the full cost of transport associated fees like road tolls, parking costs and public transport fares.
The cost recovered by the provider for their support workers’ travel must comply with the NDIS pricing arrangements and price limits document which is updated every few months.
Travel funding and your provider
You can choose whether or not to agree to your support worker’s travel time being claimed by the provider.
A formal service agreement over the arrangement should include how and when providers will be claiming the travel time for their workers, as well as your responsibilities and the provider’s responsibilities and how long the arrangement will last.
If a support worker is travelling to a location to provide service to more than one person - for example if you live in a group home and share a support worker for certain tasks - the travel claim should be split between you and the other people receiving that support.
This split funding arrangement could be part of your service agreement.
Remember that the travel claim will mean money is coming out of your NDIS plan to fund your support worker’s travel and make sure that your service agreement represents the best use of your funds.
Your provider is required to explain to you how the claim will be the best use of funds before you create the service agreement.
What can’t be claimed?
If your capacity building support worker is travelling from their last appointment to their workplace or office they can claim that time, but core support providers can’t claim the same travel.
No support worker can be funded to travel from their home to deliver a service, they must be travelling from a workplace to the appointment, and they can’t claim for travelling home from an office or other workplace.
Travel for support coordination services also can’t be claimed.
Have you created a service agreement to pay for your support worker’s travel? Tell us in the comments below.