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Helpdesk Top 5 - May 2018

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The NDS online Helpdesk offers providers practical advice and interpretation of key NDIS policy and practices.  

Given the enthusiasm and support for the Helpdesk, we are very excited to announce that we are currently developing a new and improved NDS Helpdesk!

Before we bring you the Top 5. We have a question for you. What would you like from the new helpdesk? 

Please help us be even more helpful and improve our practice in supporting the sector. Shape our new Helpdesk by taking 5 minutes to complete this survey on before May 25. You have the option to provide your name and email address to enter into the draw to win a $50 Coles Myer voucher.

The survey will form part of the evaluation element of our funding agreement with DHHS.  The new Helpdesk will be integrated into the NDS website, it will allow users to track their questions and easily search a bank of over 100 common questions and answers.

Below are the top 5 Helpdesk questions for May 2018:

Question 1

For Assistance with Daily Living, if the shift starts at 9pm and finishes at 2am, is it evening rate $49.04 and overnight rate $49.90 9pm to 12am and then 12am to 2am respectively or does $49.90 apply to the entire shift 9pm to 2am?

Answer 1

The rate is dependent on when the shift finishes and applies to the entire shift.

The NDIS Price Guide page 22 states ‘Evening is where the support finishes after 8pm and before 12 midnight and the evening rate applies to the entire shift’. Therefore, if the shift finishes after midnight the evening rate would not apply.

When a shift finishes after midnight and before 6am the overnight rate applies to the entire shift, in this case the 5 hours between 9pm to 2am. In most cases this will result in the highest rate applying, but not always as it depends on when the shift finishes.

For example, if shift finished at 7am, the overnight rate will only apply to 6am. However, if the shift started at 8pm and finished at 5am the overnight rate would apply to the entire shift.

Question 2

In determining what price to charge for Short Term Accommodation, do we charge based on support needs of the individual or actual staff ratio at the given time? For example, if the resident has 1:4 support needs but if there are only two people accessing short term accommodation during a time period, can we charge 1:2?

Answer 2

In each case, support arrangements, including price, should be agreed with participants in advance. Where a price or support level has been agreed to by the participant and provider, the provider cannot deviate from this agreement.

The NDIS Price Guide states ‘Short term accommodation price limits vary according to the support needs of the participant and the day of the week the support is provided.’

As such, the rate charged should relate to the needs of the individual rather than the house occupancy at that time. For example, if the individual supports needs are 1:4 and they happen to be the only resident for a given time period, then the rate charged should be 1:4.

Further, it is important to note that participants will be funded according to their support needs, so the availability of funding may be limited.

Question 3 

Are Irregular Supports capped to a certain amount? And if so, what is the maximum?

Answer 3

All NDIS funding allocation is based on a reasonable and necessary decision under the NDIS Act.

The expectation that providers submit SIL quotes 8 weeks before the first plan or plan review meeting is to allow for discussions between the NDIA, the participant and provider, to review the SIL quote (in the context of non-SIL related supports) in consultation with the SIL provider. The number of irregular days allocated to the SIL provider will be in the context of how much funding is allocated to community participation. 

For example, when determining SIL support during holiday periods (i.e. from work or community programs), this will depend on the community access funding (which is flexible). For example, if the participant has 48 weeks of community access funding in their plan then the provider should include SIL for the holiday period as irregular support. 

See the NDS SIL Quoting Practical Guide for more information.

Question 4

In regard to consumable items with an Annual cost measure, can we make multiple claims against the item number throughout the year, or do we have to claim all funds once with an annual bulk order?

Answer 4

The NDIS Price Guide states that ‘registered providers can make a claim for payment once that support has been delivered or provided’ (p. 12). Generally if an item has an ‘annual cost measure’ providers are able to claim for each purchase, as opposed to annually.

Question 5

A service provider has stated that they can no longer provide services to a plan managed participant until the plan manager provides a purchase order for the quote to instigate the service. 

What are responsibilities of the Plan Managers in this situation? Are Plan Managers required to issue purchase orders based on Service Agreement quotes prior to services being rendered, or are we only responsible for invoice claiming and payment after services have been provided?

Answer 5

There is no explicit comment from NDIA regarding the responsibilities or relationship between the plan manager and other providers. It is a providers’ business decision about how they navigate associated risks with engaging with plan managers.

Providers may require written confirmation from plan managers that services agreed to with the participant will be paid for by the plan manager. Providers may also require a commitment from plan managers that they will be paid within a specific timeframe. This may be done via a purchase order or a direct agreement with the plan management provider. If it is an issue, you may choose to work with the provider to understand why they require a purchase order and come to a mutually beneficial solution.

We hope you found the May top 5 insightful. Do you have a NDIS question on your mind? Join the NDS Helpdesk here.

Contact information
Elise Garraway, Policy and Project Officer, 03 8341 4300,