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Blog
3/02/2023
Blog

Victoria in Focus by Sarah Fordyce, February 2023

With the holiday season over, we hope Victorian NDS members are refreshed and ready for a new year of challenges and opportunities.
Blog
3/02/2023
Blog

NDS Helpdesk Top 5: February 2023

The NDS Helpdesk team’s top five enquiries this month includes questions on vaccination requirements, participant transport and responding to abuse.

NDS Helpdesk Top 5: October 2022

Open laptop on a desk and blurry people in background

17/10/2022

NDS is at the forefront of disability advocacy and sector development. Our members have access to intelligence gathered by NDS and the ability to ask questions through the NDS Helpdesk. In this communique, we wanted to share with you the top five responses, curated from the NDS helpdesk team this month.   

High Intensity skill descriptors 

The high intensity support skills descriptors set out the skills and knowledge that NDIS providers should have access to when delivering complex supports safely to NDIS participants. Here is a handy link to NDIS Skills Descriptors (Word Doc) fact sheet for more information. 

NDIS check transitional arrangements in Victoria 

Transitional arrangements in Victoria applied only to existing workers, who could continue in the role they held on 1 February 2021 if they held a Disability Worker Exclusion Scheme (DWES) check and a Police Check. Those who also held a Working with Children Check (WWCC) in addition to the DWES and police checks could continue in their role without an NDIS check until their WWCC expired. 

Workers employed after 1 February 2021 are not covered by these transitional arrangements. 

NDS advises that all new workers employed after 1 February 2021 need to hold an NDIS check. NDS can assist members with fast-tracking applications if required through the NDIS worker screening unit. You can send the full name and date of birth of the worker to submit enquiry/feedback to request fast-tracking. 

Introduction Fees 

NDS understands a general introduction may be claimed, providing the circumstances meet the claimable rules and definitions outlined below. Worker introductions that do not meet the definitions below cannot be claimed. 

All details are defined in NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Limits 2022-23. Definitions of what can be claimed: 

  1. Claiming for establishment fees for personal care supports (page 30). These can only be claimed once per participant's plan. 
  2. Claiming for more than one worker or therapist (page 30). Refer to the details regarding worker shadow shifts including, ‘Where the individual would require shadow shifts to assist with the introduction of new workers, and this is the desired method by the participant or their family, the provider may claim for up to 6 hours of weekday support per year.' 

Definitions of what cannot be claimed: 

  1. Claiming for non-direct services (page 17). ' The NDIS price limits include an allowance for overheads, including the costs of administration tasks. Examples of administrative activities that are covered by the overhead component of the support price limits and that should not be billed as Non-Face-to-Face supports include but are not limited to Pre-engagement visits.' 
  2. Prepayments (page 33). These rules must also be met when a provider is considering requesting this from a participant. 'Sometimes providers require prepayment(s) as collateral or to cover their expenses in order to source, build or tailor the support to meet the participant’s unique needs.
    ‘In general, prepayments should only be sought where a business will incur unrecoverable costs should delivery of the support to the requesting participant not proceed (e.g., a custom-made support).'
    and
    'In general, Registered Providers can only make a claim for payment once a service booking has been created and the support has been delivered or provided.' 

If you need further clarification on a specific situation, NDS recommends calling the NDIA on 1800 800 110. 

Interstate NDIS worker screening 

The NDIS check is recognised nationally. Workers who hold an NDIS check from another state or territory can use these anywhere in Australia for the five years the check is valid. For further information, visit the NDIS Worker Screening Check webpage, and click on the FAQ tab. 

Activity based transport charges 

The Price Guide on page 24 outlines rules around the provision of activity-based transport. It states that providers of supports in the Assistance with Social, Economic and Community Participation Support Category can bill a participant’s plan for the provision of transport where it is delivered in association with a support. 

The worker’s time can be claimed at the hourly rate for the support item. Non-labour costs can also be charged (such as road tolls, parking fees and running costs of the vehicle). It should be noted that the price guide does not prescribe what these costs should be, but rather provides a guide. It notes that providers ‘may negotiate with the participant for them to make a reasonable contribution towards these costs’. Our understanding is that these costs would then be claimed from a participant’s core funding. It may not be necessary to request a co-payment, so long as the participant agrees to being charged the amount that you prescribe and has sufficient core funding in their plan to meet that cost.  

It is also worth noting that our understanding is that there are some circumstances where providers may charge participants from their pocket. This is allowed where a provider is charging for non-support related goods and services, so long as the provider is not double dipping by claiming for those goods and services from the participant’s plan.  

Take a pottery class as an example: it would be appropriate for a provider to charge a participant from their own pocket for the cost of the external pottery teacher and cost of the materials while also claiming funds from the participant’s plan for the support worker who attends the class to support the participant.  

The NDS Helpdesk is a member exclusive benefit and the above is just a snapshot of the topics covered. Members are encouraged to share the resource with key staff and make the most of this online community. If you are not an NDS member, but would benefit from tools such as the NDS Helpdesk please contact us to find out more about becoming a member NDS membership

Contact information

For any enquiries, please contact Sarah Fordyce, State Manager Victoria, submit enquiry/feedback, show phone number