Here at Leap in! HQ, our crew are busy on the phones and email answering questions on the NDIS each day. One of the common questions we get asked is about what types of providers you can pay for with your NDIS budgets.
The NDIS offers the freedom and flexibility to choose how your NDIS Plan and funds are managed to suit your individual needs. One of the great advantages of being plan managed is you have the option to use non-registered providers.
Using non-registered providers opens up an extensive network of supports and services that can help you to reach your goals.
Today we’re busting some myths about using non-registered providers, giving you the confidence to choose the supports that are right for you.
Registered and non-registered providers: What’s the difference?
A registered provider is an individual or a business that is registered with the NDIS to provide supports or services to NDIS participants. Registered providers need to go through a series of checks to ensure they meet NDIS guidelines.
A non-registered provider is an individual or business that provides supports or services and is not registered with the NDIS (although they are required to follow the NDIS Code of Conduct). Some examples are private businesses, services that also help people in the wider community, non-profit organisations, online store, retail shops and allied health professionals.
Myth #1: I can only use providers that are registered with the NDIS.
The providers you can use depends on how you choose to manage your NDIS Plan.
Plan management: Use registered or non-registered providers
Self manage: Use registered or non-registered providers
Combination plan: Use registered or non-registered providers for the portion of your plan that is self managed or plan managed
Agency managed: You can only use NDIS-registered providers.
Reasons you may want to use a non-registered provider:
- More choice of providers
- Registered providers in your area don’t have capacity to take on new clients
- You worked with a provider before moving to the NDIS who is not NDIS registered
- You found a provider you like who is not registered with the NDIA
- An item you need to purchase with your NDIS funding (such as assistive technology) is only available through a non-registered provider (like a shop or online).
Myth #2: Non-registered providers are less qualified or experienced.
Whether a provider is registered or non-registered is unrelated to their qualifications or experience. Registration is time consuming and can be expensive, especially for a small business or someone who works on their own.
Many non-registered providers are highly qualified in their fields such as allied health professionals. Others may be very experienced at what they do, like support workers or lawn mowing companies.
Whether you use a registered or non-registered provider, it is worth checking on their qualifications and reviews of service to help assess if they’re the right fit for you. Google or Facebook reviews are a good place to start.
Myth #3: I can’t use sole traders or small businesses for services like cleaning, gardening maintenance people or support work.
If you are plan managed, self manage or have a combination of the two, you can pay sole traders or other small businesses with your NDIS funds providing the support is reasonable and necessary.
All they need is an Australian Business Number (ABN) and any qualifications and/or credentials (such as Working With Vulnerable People or Children Checks) relevant to the type of service/s they provide.
Myth #4: I can’t change how my plan is managed between plans.
This is not true. You can switch the way your plan is managed by requesting a light-touch review or at a Plan Review meeting before the end of the term of your current NDIS Plan.
If you’re Agency managed and want the flexibility to use any provider for one budget area, you can choose to have only that portion of your budget plan managed (or self manage).
Myth #5: Unregistered providers cost more.
The NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Pricing Limits guide sets limits on how much you can claim for services and supports paid for by NDIS funding, usually at an hourly rate.
NDIS-registered providers are unable to charge more than the NDIS price limits.
Non-registered providers can charge less than, more than or the same as the approved price limit. Depending on how your plan is managed, you may only be able to claim part of a fee that is set above the maximum NDIS price.
We recommend negotiating a service agreement with each provider (registered and non-registered) so you know exactly how much they cost and can check the costs align with your budgets and any price limits.
Myth #6: If I am Agency managed I get more help to manage my NDIS Plan.
The amount of help you get to manage your NDIS Plan depends on how it is structured. Using a plan manager like Leap in! for all or part of your NDIS Plan gives you the freedom to use registered and non-registered providers as well as get help with paying invoices, managing your plan and NDIS-related guidance.
Want to know more?
If you’d like to speak to a member of our crew to learn more about switching to plan management or how you can get more from your NDIS Plan, call us on 1300 05 78 78 or email us at email@example.com.
Originally published on 29 July 2020, updated 12 October 2021.