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10 December 2020

Using NDIS support workers who are self-employed contractors.

Here at Leap in! we are often asked whether NDIS participants can use sole traders or self-employed contractors as support workers.

The simple answer is yes! However, this option is only available to some NDIS participants, depending on how you manage your NDIS Plan.

Today we will take a look at the requirements for self-employed contractors and provide some tips on how to work with them.

What are self-employed contractors?

Self-employed contractors are individual business owners that may have employees or they may operate the business themselves. They are also known as “sole traders”.

Many independent support workers and providers of other services such as lawn maintenance use this structure to offer services to NDIS participants.

Self-employed service providers and the NDIS.

When it comes to the NDIS, self-employed contractors are often (but not always) unregistered providers.

Registering as an NDIS provider can take time and money which is why many individuals choose to offer services independently rather than going through the NDIS registration process.

Only NDIS participants who are plan managed or who self manage can use unregistered providers who are self employed. For a quick recap of how this works, check out Options for managing your NDIS Plan.

Being able to use self-employed contractors has many advantages. You have freedom to choose the right service provider for you. If you live in a regional area or find that local service providers have wait lists, being able to use independent contractors means you have more options to get the support you need.

NDIS services offered by self-employed contractors.

Some of the more common services include:

  • Support work
  • Assistance with personal care
  • In-home care
  • Cleaning and household maintenance
  • Gardening and lawn care
  • Music and art therapy
  • Health and fitness services such as exercise and wellness classes.

5 tips for selecting an independent contractor.

It can be tricky to find the right provider for your needs but it is important to do your research to  find the right person to help you achieve your NDIS goals.

1. Seek out people who are recommended by family members, friends or trusted advisors.
2. Meet the person first, preferably in a neutral location like a café.
3. Ask about their skills and experience. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you are hiring a support worker who you will be spending a lot of time with, you might want to ask them about their interests and hobbies to ensure you have something in common.
4. Find out if they have experience doing the tasks that you want them to do. For support workers, do they have experience working with people who have similar disabilities?
5. Ask for references and check out any online reviews.

Getting set up.

Like any NDIS service provider, we recommend signing a service agreement with self-employed contractors.

Unregistered providers do not go through any formal checks, so you’ll need to cover off some important items yourself.

Think about the following:

  • Does the person have their own insurance?
  • Can they provide evidence of a recent National Police Check?
  • Have they completed the relevant Working with Children and Vulnerable People Check / card in your state?
  • Do they have an ABN? You can verify their ABN at

Can you use your NDIS funding to pay for friends or family members to help?

The NDIS will not generally fund family members including parents to act as support workers or to provide services as part of your NDIS Plan – even if they have an ABN.

In exceptional circumstances such as for religious and cultural reasons, or if there is a risk of harm or neglect to the participant, the NDIS may grant an exemption.

Leap in! can help.

As a registered charity, we put people before profit and helping our members navigate the NDIS is our priority.

If you’d like more information on how your NDIS funding could go further, call us on  1300 05 78 78 or email

Further reading

8 tips for choosing the right support worker

Assistance with Social and Community Participation.

What is the difference between plan management and support coordination?