We are often asked questions about specific supports and whether they’re funded through the NDIS.
One that raises a lot of questions is vehicle modifications, so we thought we’d outline some of the key information, what the NDIS may fund and what it doesn’t.
It’s important to have a good understanding of this information before you purchase a vehicle that you’re hoping to modify.
What are vehicle modifications?
Vehicle modifications are changes made to a car or other vehicle to make it more accessible for a person with disability to travel in or drive.
Such changes may include hand controls, supports to help you be transported safely whilst seated in your wheelchair, technology for carrying a wheelchair in or on the vehicle, and supports to help you get into and out of the vehicle.
Are vehicle modifications covered under the NDIS?
The short answer is yes… but like all funding and NDIS supports, you must meet a number of requirements and the NDIS must deem the support reasonable and necessary.
Keep in mind that the NDIS can only fund modifications related to your disability and without which, you wouldn’t be able to drive or travel as a passenger.
The NDIS will not pay for you to buy a car because vehicles are not generally considered disability-related supports (people need vehicles whether or not they have a disability).
Who is eligible for NDIS vehicle modification support funding?
The NDIS usually considers vehicle modifications as part of your overall transport needs. Evidence or an assessment by an occupational therapist is required before the NDIS will consider including funding for vehicle modifications in your plan.
Some people also require medical clearance from their doctor under the national ‘assessing fitness to drive’ criteria.
In making a decision about funding vehicle modifications, the NDIS will assess whether they:
- Are related to your disability
- Help you pursue your goals
- Help you to be more independent and participate in work or the community
- Are likely to be effective and beneficial for you, for example modifications specific to how you will drive the vehicle and suitability of the type of vehicle proposed to be modified
- Are value for money in terms of the benefits to you, the cost compared to other supports, whether the vehicle is suitable and how often you will use the vehicle
- Are better funded by another organisation or service such as if you can use accessible taxis or buses instead
- Are legal and safe. If you plan to buy a second hand vehicle over five years old that’s no longer under warranty, you’ll need to obtain a vehicle condition report before any modifications can be made.
Getting funding for vehicle modifications in your plan.
The NDIS may include some funding in your plan for a qualified assessor to talk to you about your transport needs. They may explore different options with you including vehicle modifications and other alternatives such as public transport.
If the assessor finds that vehicle modifications may benefit you, they will complete a vehicle modifications assessment which outlines the proposed modifications for the NDIS to review.
The NDIS will also consider whether you have a suitable licence for the vehicle you want modified. If you don’t have a licence yet, they’ll need to know it’s likely you can get one.
Vehicle modifications the NDIS may fund.
Types of vehicle modifications the NDIS may fund include:
- Changes that allow you to drive the vehicle or be a passenger including fitting assistive technology
- Moving existing modifications from one vehicle to another
- The value of existing modifications on a second hand car you buy (if you purchase a car that has already been modified, the NDIS may cover the additional amount you pay to cover the cost of the original modifications)
- Assessment and trial of modifications to enable a person on the NDIS to travel safely as a passenger.
The NDIS may also cover other related costs including:
- Additional insurance costs because your vehicle has been modified
- Certificates or reports required to register a modified vehicle
- Maintenance and repair costs for the modifications (not the vehicle itself)
- Driver assessments for the purpose of obtaining an endorsed license
- Driving lessons that establish the skills you need to use the modified vehicle.
In general, the NDIS won’t fund:
- The purchase or lease of a new or second hand vehicle
- Insurance, registration and running costs including fuel and servicing
- Items not for you and not related to your disability, such as extra seating for family members
- Costs to upgrade a commercial vehicle like a van to a passenger vehicle (such as installing windows)
- Driving supervision or driving lessons to accrue hours to pass a driving test
- High cost modifications if it has been less than eight years since the last modifications were made.
If you have funding for mid or high cost vehicle modifications, it can be found in the Capital Supports budget in your NDIS Plan while minor repairs funding is under Core – Consumables.
Get in touch.
Leap in! is Australia’s leading NDIS plan manager. Get in touch with us by calling 1300 05 78 78, emailing email@example.com or sign up to Leap in! plan management today.
First published 25 February 2019, updated 31 October 2022.
What do we mean by vehicle modifications and driving supports?
NDIS Operational Guide – Vehicle modifications and driving supports
Are the vehicle modifications and driving supports effective and beneficial for you?
How do you get vehicle modifications and driving supports in your plan?
Previously installed vehicle modifications