The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provides funding to participants to purchase a range of reasonable and necessary supports to increase independence and social and economic participation.
This funding is provided through individual participant budgets and while participants are free to choose who they would like to deliver services and support to them, the amount the NDIA pays for these supports is set in the NDIS price guide.
How much do supports cost under the NDIS?
The NDIS price guide lists costs for all support areas under the NDIS. These prices, unless stated otherwise, are the maximum NDIS registered providers can charge for that service.
A key element of NDIS is that funded supports must represent value for money. As the number of participants and providers changes each year, competition may change and this could drive prices up or down. The NDIS price guide should ensure that all costs are kept at a reasonable level.
The price guide breaks down each support item with a description, reference number, whether a quote is required, the price, and if it’s charged hourly, daily or weekly.
For example, for assistance with personal domestic activities such as getting help with basic house or garden maintenance, the NDIS will pay up to $45.54 per hour. For support connection, to help you coordinate your supports from a range of sources, or to engage services to help you find suitable accommodation, NDIS will pay up to $57.71 per hour.
There are two versions of the price guide; one for South Australia, Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory and Western Australia, and another one for New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania, to take into account the different markets and going rates for services and supports in different parts of the country.
The NDIA will update prices at least once a year, usually by 1 July, taking into account market trends, changes in costs and wage rates. Changes will be published on their website.
Registered vs unregistered providers
Service providers are businesses or individuals who provide a service that relates to the goals outlined in a NDIS plan. The NDIA asks service providers to register with the NDIS, however not all providers do.
To register, providers must meet certain criteria and follow specific rules, regulations and agreements when providing services. NDIS registration can be a lengthy and costly process, and because of this some small businesses choose to stay unregistered.
Others may choose not to register so they won’t be limited by the NDIS price guide when they charge for their services.
Don’t be put off by the term ‘unregistered’ when it comes to choosing supports. Unregistered providers can still provide NDIS-funded supports, and many have the necessary skills and resources to provide high-quality services to people with disability.
The main differences are:
Unregistered providers do not need to follow the price caps outlined in the NDIS price guide and can charge whatever they like, whereas registered providers cannot charge over the price limit.
Registered providers claim their invoices directly through the NDIS, while unregistered providers will send their invoices to you, or whoever is managing your plan, to process through the NDIS portal.
You can choose the type of providers you use, depending on how you manage your plan.
If you are agency managed and can only choose registered providers, it’s good to know they’ve all been through the registration process and meet NDIA guidelines. However, choosing from a set list of providers can be restrictive.
For example, if you need an occupational therapist but there are none registered in your area, you might need to travel a long way to access this support. Or, the local registered occupational therapist might be at capacity and not currently taking on new clients.
If you are self-managed or plan managed, you have the freedom of choosing any provider you want. However, you may pay more for supports with an unregistered provider as they aren’t bound by the NDIS price guide.