When finding the right service providers for you, you may notice that some refer to themselves as ‘NDIS registered’ and others don’t. The difference between NDIS registered and unregistered providers is something that’s often misunderstood. In this article we explore the world of 'unregistered providers', so you can make an informed decision and can get the best supports available.

What does NDIS registered mean?

Service providers can choose to formally register with the NDIS. These are known as NDIS registered providers. As part of the registration process, they are audited to make sure they meet strict requirements to do with safety, quality and compliance, which are set by the NDIS safeguard commission.

Unregistered providers don’t go through this process and aren’t required to meet the same requirements – but that doesn’t mean they aren’t the same quality as NDIS registered providers.

Why don’t all service providers register with the NDIS?

There are many reasons why a provider might not choose to register with the NDIS. Some smaller providers might not have the time, energy, or money to go through the registration process. Others may not specialise in disability services (for example, your local gardener) and aren’t focussed on – or even aware of – becoming NDIS registered. This can be quite common amongst providers in rural areas.

Can I access both registered and unregistered providers?

This depends on how your NDIS funding is managed, as not all participants can use unregistered providers.

If your plan is plan managed or self managed, you can use both unregistered and registered providers. If your plan is agency (NDIA) managed, then you can only use registered providers.    

Having the flexibility to choose from both registered and unregistered providers is one of the many reasons why people chose to use a plan manager.  We often see customers who have been using their same small, local provider for a long time before the NDIS (like their physiotherapist from around the corner). Plan management allows them to continue accessing this trusted provider they’re familiar with, even if they’re not NDIS registered. 

Are there disadvantages to using an unregistered provider?

This one really depends on the provider. While unregistered providers don’t technically need to meet the same standards as NDIS registered providers, most still do.

In fact, there are lots of unregistered providers who are passionate about providing support and go above and beyond to help NDIS participants reach their goals. Similarly, just because a provider is NDIS registered doesn’t guarantee they’ll meet your personal standards of support and customer service.

That’s why before you choose any provider – whether they’re registered or unregistered – we recommend you do a bit of research and find out if they are right for you. This can be meeting them for a casual chat, looking at online reviews, asking about their formal qualifications, or even getting a support coordinator to help you make your choice.