An essential key to social and economic participation for older people and people with disability is access to transport.
All of us rely heavily on accessible, affordable transport to access work, the community, study, job-seeking, medical appointments, to visit family and friends, pay bills, buy groceries, and the list goes on.
For people with disability, transport is changing through the National Disability Insurance Scheme. These changes are a contentious issue, with many participants of the NDIS outrages at these changes, ultimately having a negative impact on their lives – not what any of us were expecting from the NDIS.
Here’s the lowdown on these transport changes.
Currently, people with disability may be receiving the Mobility Allowance from Centrelink. Under the NDIS, all participants receiving Mobility Allowance will lose this benefit.
Any people with disability accessing the Taxi Subsidy Scheme (Queensland), lose this under the NDIS.
People with disability accessing these two benefits, will lose these, regardless of whether they have a transport component in their NDIS plan.
Any transport supports provided under the NDIS must be seen as reasonable and necessary, so it is paramount that participants are aware of these transport changes to ensure that if transport is required, they are able to clearly state this to their NDIA planners.
A participants’ NDIS plan allows for some flexibility, allowing them to use other components of their NDIS funding to contribute to transport supports, however, this will impact on their funded services and supports.
Council on the Ageing (COTA) Queensland, is working with Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) and other allies to review the transport supports under the NDIS.
COTA Queensland contacted the NDIA on the 19th of December last year requesting responses to several questions, some of which were answered, others were not.
This is the gist of the changes:
- Some activities and supports will be difficult for people with disability to access due to transport changes
- Participants not happy with their NDIS plan, need to request a review, people do not have to wait for a period of three months for a review (Reviews can be done face-to-face or over the phone)
- Participants need to prepare and provide evidence to substantiate reasonable and necessary transport supports
- Taxi companies are not currently registered NDIS providers – people may need to pay up front for their transport. If unable to do so, participants can request to receive periodic NDIS payments as part of their plan
A participant has the choice to have a trusted support person with them during their NDIS planning conversation.
The NDIA recognise that transport supports under the NDIS is a National Policy issue, and have established a National Transport Working Group to address these issues.
Should transport supports under the NDIS be of concern to you, please get involved by emailing your thoughts, suggestions, or concerns, to firstname.lastname@example.org