Payments for provider travel costs are often a source of confusion among NDIS participants and providers alike.
The Leap in! Crew has summarised the latest information from the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits to help you understand provider transport charges and when they can be covered by an NDIS Plan.
A guide to provider travel costs.
The NDIA has clear rules regarding provider travel costs. All of the following conditions must be met for providers to claim travel costs from a participant’s NDIS Plan:
- Providers can only claim costs for travel if the NDIS participant has agreed in advance
- NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits must indicate that providers are eligible to claim travel costs for the support item and the proposed claim must comply with the price limits guide
- The activity must be related to delivering a specific disability support to the participant
- The support must be delivered face-to-face (in person not online)
- The provider must explain to the participant why paying for provider travel is good use of their NDIS funds
- Travel time can be claimed if: a) the provider has to pay the worker for their travel time or b) the provider has their own business (sole trader).
NDIS transport allowance for providers.
The NDIS uses 7 zones determined by population and location to set prices for supports and services including travel allowance for providers. Zone 1 includes major cities, while zone 7 covers very remote areas. All of the other zones sit in between.
Reflecting the cost of providing services, price limits vary based on the zone where the service is provided. The maximum time providers can claim for travelling to each participant per session is:
- Zones 1-3: 30 minutes
- Zones 4-5: 60 minutes
- Zones 6-7 (remote and very remote areas): as agreed up to the hourly rate for the support item.
Capacity Building providers may be able to claim for time spent travelling from their last participant to their usual place of work. Core support providers cannot claim for time spent travelling back to their usual place of business.
Dividing provider travel costs between NDIS participants.
If a worker provides services to more than one participant in a region, travel costs can be split between the participants (called ‘apportioning’) – but only if each participant agrees in advance.
This may include the journey to and from the place the support is delivered.
NDIS transport per km & other non-labour costs.
The NDIS will fund a per kilometre amount for provider travel if the participant’s support budget includes funding for transport and the participant approves the costs in advance.
A worker or organisation may also incur other costs when accompanying participants such as for public transport, road tolls or parking fees. The NDIS considers it is reasonable for the provider or worker to claim the full amount for these costs, if agreed to in advance.
The following are considered to be reasonable amounts:
- For a vehicle owned by the provider or worker, up to $0.97 per kilometre
- For other forms of transport or associated costs, such as road tolls, parking, public transport fares, up to the full amount.
If the NDIS Plan does not include transport, these costs may be charged as an out-of-pocket expense to the participant. This means they are not covered by your NDIS Plan so you have to pay these costs yourself.
A provider is delivering Assistance with Social and Community Participation services and is required to transport a participant from their home to a local swimming pool and back including:
- 25 minutes assisting the participant to and from the vehicle and setting them up in the activity
- 40 minutes of support during the activity
- 20 minutes returning the participant to their home by taxi.
The agreed hourly rate is $52.85 and the participant receives a fortnightly instalment/payment towards transport costs.
The provider’s claim looks like this:
- $30 for the 40 minutes of direct support
- 45 minutes of transport time at the agreed rate of $50 per hour = $37.50.
In addition, the participant pays for the taxi fares as an out-of-pocket expense using the fortnightly instalment/periodic payment or their own funds as outlined in their Service Agreement.
Invoicing for provider travel.
Providers must separate support costs and travel costs on invoices. In some cases, this means three separate costs will appear:
- The support item
- Provider travel – labour costs (time)
- Provider travel – non-labour costs (eg. kilometre cost, parking fees and tolls)
- The provider can use the same hourly rate for the support item or a lower rate if agreed with the participant.
A provider travels for 25 minutes to a participant in zone 3. They supply 2 hours of support and travel 25 minutes back to their usual place of business.
The agreed hourly rate is $50 per hour and the participant has agreed the provider can claim for travel time (zone 3 has a travel claim limit of 30 minutes).
The provider is required to pay for parking in order to access the participant’s home at a cost of $2.50 per hour and the participant has agreed the provider can claim for car parking.
The provider’s claim is in three parts:
- $100 for the 2 hours of support
- $20.83 for the 25 minutes of travel (25/60 x $50) listed as “Provider Travel”.
- $5.00 for two hours of parking.
Transport for community participation.
Where a worker accompanies a participant on an outing or transports them from home to an activity, the worker’s travel time can be charged at the hourly rate for the relevant support item if the participant agrees.
If there are two or more participants on the same trip, the worker must claim the appropriate group rate.
Leap in! is here to help.
If you need some help to understand how travel and transport charges work under the NDIS, the Leap in! Crew is here to help.