NDIS Travel Allowances Guide for NDIS Providers

An NDIS Support Worker helps a Participant into the back of a wheelchair-accessible van

What is an NDIS Travel Allowance?

This guide clarifies the distinctions between Provider travel and Participant transport under the NDIS, outlining specific rules for managing each type of transportation.

What is NDIS Provider Travel?

Provider travel, refers to situations where a Provider can claim worker time spent traveling to deliver supports to a Participant, as outlined in the NDIS Provider travel information. This guide will consistently refer to provider travel as worker travel time.

What are Participant NDIS Travel Allowances?

Participant transport encompasses the transport supports utilised by Participants and may receive funding in a Participant’s NDIS plan to address associated expenses. Providers delivering community access supports can claim, alongside workers’ time, an additional contribution for transport costs (like public transport expenses or a per-kilometer car usage cost) if pre-approved by the Participant in advance.

What Travel Allowances Can an NDIS Provider Claim?

Several factors dictate a Provider’s eligibility to claim worker travel time, such as:

  • The type of support provided
  • The appointment’s location
  • The starting and ending points of a worker’s journey


Providers can claim worker travel time under specific circumstances when delivering the following supports:

  • Personal care
  • Community access
  • Therapeutic supports
  • Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) supports


How to Enhance Travel Allowance Management for NDIS Providers

  • Prior to initiating services, Providers should engage in discussions regarding worker travel time with Participants and obtain their advance agreement before claiming associated costs.
  • Service Agreements ought to outline the specifics of how and when Providers will claim worker travel time, personalised for each Participant.
  • Accurate record-keeping of worker travel time is crucial when making claims, ensuring payment reliability, as the NDIA reserves the right to audit Providers at any given time.


When Can’t a Workers Travel Time be Claimed?

Instances where worker travel time cannot be claimed encompass several scenarios, including but not limited to cases where a worker: 

  • Travels beyond 20 minutes between appointments for personal care, community access, therapeutic, or ECEI supports in metropolitan areas and other regions categorised as MMM1−3 in the Modified Monash Model. Click here
  • Travels beyond 45 minutes between appointments for personal care, community access, therapeutic, or ECEI supports in regional areas (MM−4 or 5). 
  • Travels from the last appointment back to the office while delivering personal care or community access supports. 
  • Provides supports that fall outside the scope of NDIA’s provider travel policy, such as support coordination.


How Can NDIS Providers Claim Worker Travel Time?

Providers should consider the service location when claiming worker travel time, as it directly impacts the maximum claimable duration. In metro areas designated by the Modified Monash Model (MMM1−3, encompassing sizable regional centers), Providers can claim up to 20 minutes of worker travel time for appointments. In regional areas categorised as MMM4 or 5, Providers can claim up to 45 minutes of worker travel time. However, if a Provider travels between two metro areas, they can only claim up to 20 minutes of travel time, even if the actual travel duration exceeds an hour.

Providers must distinctly claim worker travel time using the specific line item relevant to the support provided. This necessitates Providers to designate the claim type as ‘travel charges’ within either the bulk upload or individual payment request. For instance, if a Provider delivers 2 hours of personal care support and the worker has traveled 15 minutes to the appointment, the Provider submits a standard claim for 2 hours of personal care support and separately claims the 15 minutes as a travel charge.

How Can NDIS Providers Enhance Their Efficiency in Claiming Worker Travel Time?

To minimise worker travel time, Providers should explore adaptable work approaches. Considerations for improving efficiency include:

  • Arranging Participant meetings at Provider premises, when suitable.
  • Organising staff appointments based on Participant locations to reduce travel time and distance between engagements.
  • Assisting Participants in scheduling periodic appointments for therapeutic supports, especially in remote or regional areas, to optimise timing and reduce travel needs.


Can Providers Recover Transport Costs?

Providers have the option to reclaim transport expenses, like those related to using Provider-owned vehicles, when accompanying or transporting participants within the community. This applies when delivering community access supports or transport supports.

Can a Provider Use a Participant’s Plan to Fund Transport Costs?

Transport funding might be included in a Participant’s plan if it’s deemed reasonable and necessary. Participants receive transport funding when they face substantial difficulty using public transport due to their disability. However, this funding isn’t intended to cover transport assistance for informal carers or parents transporting the Participant for everyday commitments.

To understand the specifics of when transport funding is incorporated into a Participant’s plan, please consult the NDIA’s Operational Guideline: Transport.

How Is the Determination Made for NDIS Participant Travel Allowances?

The NDIS Travel Allowance plays a crucial role in facilitating NDIS Participants’ access to disability resources beyond their residences, enhancing their ability to achieve plan objectives more easily. This provision is especially vital in situations where the use of public transportation presents significant challenges due to a Participant’s disability.

The provision of financial assistance for obtaining transportation support ensures that individuals facing difficulties in using public transit can seamlessly access necessary mobility assistance.

Moreover, the NDIS extends its support by allocating funds to engage service Providers in assisting with transportation to activities that may or may not be directly supported under the plan. Examples of such instances include travel to and from medical appointments, physiotherapy sessions, and commuting to work.

In essence, the NDIS Travel Allowance stands as a targeted support mechanism that addresses the transportation needs of participants and contributes to the achievement of their outlined plan objectives.

Do NDIS Participant Adults Have Varied Funding Arrangements for Transport?

There are three benchmark levels of funding available for adults receiving transport funding.

Transport assistance encompasses three distinct levels of support delineated as follows. These tiers serve to allocate a transport budget for Participants, with NDIA funded supports subject to annual indexing for adjustments.

Level 1: The NDIS offers up to $1,606 annually for Participants not engaged in work, studies, or day programs but seeking improved community access.

Level 2: Participants engaged in part-time work or studies (up to 15 hours a week), attending day programs, or involved in social, recreational, or leisure activities can receive up to $2,472 per year.

Level 3: For those working, seeking employment, or studying at least 15 hours a week, and unable to use public transport due to their disability, the NDIS provides up to $3,456 annually.

Exceptional Circumstances: Participants may receive higher funding if they have general or funded supports in their plan specifically aimed at facilitating their employment participation.

NDIS Travel Allowance Funding Examples

Can I Be Eligible for Travel Allowance Funding for Public Transport?

Yes, you can access NDIS funding for transportation if you’re unable to use public transport. For instance, if you’re unable to utilise services like city buses or trains.

Can I be eligible for Travel Allowance funding if I’m unable to use public transport?

If you’re unable to use public transport, the NDIS offers funding for alternative transportation options, such as:

  • Community buses – designed for individuals with disabilities
  • Taxi services
  • Other suitable modes of transportation.


Can I Use NDIS Travel Allowance Funding for Expenses in Other Areas?

Travel Allowance Funding cannot be used:

  • To pay your carer
  • For a family member to provide transportation, such as driving you to activities like shopping.

For additional details, please visit the Participant Transport Fact Page.

What Constitutes NDIS-Funded Transport Supports?

NDIS-funded transport support offers Participants four management options. They can opt for NDIA management, enlist a plan manager, self-manage, or receive regular payments (typically fortnightly or monthly) into their chosen bank account.

In cases where a Participant receives transport support or utilises their funding for additional Provider transport expenses, Providers must recover costs in alignment with the Participant’s chosen funding management method. For instance, if a Participant receives transport funding as periodic payments into their bank account, Providers need to directly invoice the Participant for any extra Provider travel expenses.

Providers should ensure proper procedures when claiming transport costs via the NDIA Provider Portal by using the designated NDIS support line item (i.e., transport: 02_051_0108_1_1), refraining from claiming transport costs using different line items. Additionally, Participants have the option to cover travel expenses using personal funds from their non-NDIS income.

How Can Participants Exercise Choice and Control Over Their Core Supports to Access Additional Transport Supports?

Participants have the flexibility to utilise Core supports across various categories, including transport, except in cases where their total transport funding is arranged as periodic payments or when no funding has been allocated for transport supports.

Flexibility in using transport funding within Core supports is only available if the Participant’s transport funds are managed by the NDIA, plan-managed, or self-managed. Participants have the option to have the NDIA manage a portion of their transport funds while receiving the rest as periodic payments. This arrangement enables access to flexible use of their Core budget, particularly for additional transport funding, if desired.

How Can Providers Collaborate with Participants to Minimise Their Transport Expenses?

  • Developing Participant skills to utilise alternative transport options (e.g., public transport, taxis, Uber, informal assistance, etc.)
  • Promoting carpooling among Participants when suitable or utilising group supports where transport is collectively supporting multiple individuals.
  • Leveraging existing transport resources to offset overall transport expenses (e.g., using vehicles across various locations or service types during idle periods)

Practical Examples for Managing NDIS Travel for Providers

Demonstrating the management of NDIS Travel and Allowances in differing scenarios for NDIS Providers.

Example One: Extra Expenses

Accompanying and/or transporting Participants in the community involves the Provider being present with the Participant in the vehicle during the journey.

Providers Can Recover Travel Costs Under Specific Conditions:

When a Provider faces extra expenses beyond the worker’s time while delivering transport supports.

Payment Process for NDIS Providers in This Scenario

Agreed upon through negotiation between the Participant and Provider, typically detailed in the service agreement outlining the method for claiming transport costs.

What Is the NDIS Support Category for This Type of Travel Allowance?

Core Supports, such as transport funding (including periodic payments), or contributions from Participants utilising funds external to the NDIS.

Quick Guide to Managing This Type of Travel Allowance:

  • Providers have the option to determine additional transport costs based on the distance traveled, often calculated by kilometers. They should refer to relevant employee awards for guidance during negotiations regarding these additional expenses.
  • Worker time can be claimed at the hourly rate for the relevant support line item during the entire duration when the worker is accompanying or transporting the Participant in the community. This includes the incurred transport cost, such as kilometers traveled. However, worker time cannot be claimed if the Provider is solely transporting the Participant without delivering other disability supports.
  • When a Provider transports multiple Participants on the same trip, the individual charge should be calculated based on the group ratio. For instance, if there are 2 staff members accompanying 10 Participants, charges should be calculated accordingly.
  • Certain Participants might require assistance from Support Workers while accessing transport supports. In such cases, Providers can offer support to Participants during the receipt of transport supports if deemed reasonable and necessary.


Example Two: Travel Without a Participant 

A worker travels to deliver personal care and community access services (without the Participant being present in the vehicle).

Providers Can Recover Travel Costs Under Specific Conditions:

  • The worker must be traveling from a workplace to offer support to a Participant.
  • The claim must be against the Participant’s plan being travelled to (e.g., the 2nd, 3rd, 4th plan, etc.).


Travel Costs Cannot Be Reclaimed If:

  • The worker is commuting between their home and workplace including vice versa.
  • The worker is traveling back to the workplace from the last appointment.
  • 4 hours + Support time is surpassed. 


Payment Process for NDIS Providers in This Scenario

Before claiming, a Provider must secure prior agreement from the Participant, detailed within the service agreement specifying the allowable worker travel time.

The maximum allowable travel time for claiming purposes is:

  • Up to 20 minutes travel time at the hourly rate for the relevant support line item in metro areas (MMM1-3).
  • Up to 45 minutes travel time at the hourly rate for the relevant support line item in regional areas (MMM4-5).


What Is the NDIS Support Category for This Type of Travel Allowance?

Personal care or Community access supports (as appropriate). 

Quick Guide to Managing This Type of Travel Allowance:

  • The term ‘workplace’ denotes an office or a Participant’s home where the service is delivered.
  • Providers must separate the travel time claim from the standard claim and categorise it as worker travel time.
  • Claims should accurately reflect the actual travel duration. For instance, if the travel time is 10 minutes, only 10 minutes can be claimed. The maximum claimable time is either 20 or 45 minutes, contingent on the support’s delivery location.
  • Providers should consider scheduling shifts with Participants to avoid disproportionate travel cost burdens on certain Participants.
  • In regional, remote, and very remote areas, Providers can distribute travel costs among scheduled Participants if agreed upon in advance. For instance, if a worker spends two hours traveling between four Participants in a regional area, each participant will be billed 30 minutes of worker travel time, irrespective of the actual travel duration between them.


Example Three: Child Supports

Travel undertaken to deliver therapeutic or Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) supports.

Providers Can Recover Travel Costs Under Specific Conditions:

  • Travel is necessary for the worker to attend an appointment and provide support to a Participant.
  • Providers have the allowance to claim travel time for the initial and final appointments to and from their workplace.
  • Worker travel time needs to align with the Participant’s specific plan being visited, such as the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. plan.


Payment Process for NDIS Providers in This Scenario

In metropolitan areas (MMM1-3), a maximum of 20 minutes of travel time can be claimed at the hourly rate for the relevant support line item. In regional areas (MMM4-5), up to 45 minutes of travel time at the hourly rate for the relevant support line item is permissible.

What Is the NDIS Support Category for This Type of Travel Allowance?

Improved Daily Living

Quick Guide to Managing This Type of Travel Allowance:

  • The term ‘workplace’ refers to either an office, where the Participant might be present, or the Participant’s home.
  • Providers must invoice travel time separately from the standard claim, labeling it specifically as worker travel time.
  • Invoiced amounts should accurately mirror the actual travel duration. For instance, if the travel time amounts to 10 minutes, only 10 minutes can be invoiced. The maximum invoiceable travel time is limited to 20 minutes.
  • Providers should strategise shift schedules with Participants to prevent potential imbalances where certain Participants bear more Provider travel costs than others.
  • In regional, remote, and very remote areas, Providers can apportion travel costs among scheduled Participants, with prior agreement. For instance, if a therapist travels for two hours, servicing four Participants in a regional area, each Participant would be invoiced for 30 minutes of worker travel time, regardless of the actual travel duration between Participants.


Example Four: Remote Travel

Journeys conducted in remote or extremely remote areas.

Providers Can Recover Travel Costs Under Specific Conditions:

Supports are provided in remote or extremely remote areas. For further details on geographic locations, consult the Modified Monash Model.

Payment Process for NDIS Providers in This Scenario

Dependent on applicable loading or an arrangement agreed upon between the NDIA and the Provider. This item is eligible for quotation.

What Is the NDIS Support Category for This Type of Travel Allowance?

Core or Capacity Building Supports (based on the nature of supports provided).

Quick Guide to Managing This Type of Travel Allowance:

In remote and extremely remote areas, prices are 20% and 25% higher, respectively, compared to supports delivered in other regions. If local Providers aren’t accessible in these areas, the NDIA might engage in agreements with alternative Providers, such as those in limited markets, to offer necessary supports.

The Modified Monash Model Inclusions of the Australian Standard Geographical Classifications

The NDIA employs the Modified Monash Model (MMM) to categorise different population sizes in regional areas across Australia. MMM efficiently classifies metropolitan, regional, rural, and remote areas based on their population and level of isolation, particularly with regard to their distance from major cities.

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