For many people transport is about freedom, independence, socialisation, income and education. In this article we explore the four main ways that the NDIS can fund your transport arrangements and share some of our team’s insights.
Getting yourself around
If your disability makes it uncomfortable or impossible for you to use public transport, the NDIS can provide funding to access taxis, rideshares, community transport, and other suitable transport methods. As with all NDIS supports, you must meet the reasonable and necessary criteria to get this funding included in your plan; in this case, that would mean highlighting why it’s unrealistic for you to catch a bus, tram or train.
This funding will be included in your NDIS plan under Support Category 2 (Transport Allowance), which is a Core support. These funds are then paid directly into your bank account every two weeks to help you cover your transport costs either by your plan manager or NDIA directly.
Travelling with a support worker
The NDIS can also provide you with funding to pay a support worker to drive you around or accompany you out into the community. This can include things like shopping trips, social events, or transport to medical appointments.
This funding is included in your plan under Support Category 4 (Assistance with Social and Community Participation), which is also a Core support. These trips are charged at an agreed upon hourly rate, which includes the total time of the outing and can also cover the time it takes your support worker to travel to and from your residence.
Your support worker may also charge you for additional travel costs, such as road tolls, parking costs, or a ticket for public transport. It’s always a good idea to discuss these beforehand and sign a service agreement outlining the agreed hourly rate what extra costs they’ll charge you for.
NOTE: The NDIS is currently allowing greater flexibility with how participants use their transport budgets. You can now use Category 2 and Category 4 budgets interchangeably, so you can use your Assistance with Social and Community Participation funding to pay for an Uber or taxi and vice versa.
Building your independence through transport
Building independence is a common NDIS goal, and transport plans a big part in that. If your disability makes it hard for you to get around but you would like to learn to overcome these challenges and travel independently, you might be eligible for funding for things like public transport training or driving lessons.
This funding is included in your plan under Support Category 15 (Improved Daily Living), which is a Capacity Building support designed to build your independence, skills and confidence.
If you require a specialised, or modified, vehicle because of your disability, the NDIS may be able to help pay for modifications under ‘Assistive Technology' (category 5). The NDIS won’t pay for the vehicle but may cover modifications so you can do things like…
- get in and out of the vehicle with or without a wheelchair;
- carry your wheelchair in or on the vehicle without lifting;
- be transported safely whilst seated in your wheelchair; or
- drive the vehicle with specialised controls or other adaptions.
The NDIS will only provide funding for a vehicle modification when it’s seen as offering value for money. If a less costly but equally effective alternative is available, the NDIS will likely reject your request. They may also choose to only fund an amount they deem as being reasonable and necessary and you’d have to cover the remaining amount.
Need some support?
Both plan management and support coordination can be useful services when it comes to transport. Plan management can help you access a wide range of transport providers, including those who haven’t registered with the NDIS. Your plan manager can also handle the financial side of your transport arrangements and provide handy tools to ensure you stay on budget. If you have support coordination in your plan, your support coordinator can find and connect you with the best service providers for your transport needs.