If you want to start working with NDIS participants, there are a few things to consider.
First, who can even be a provider in the National Disability Insurance Scheme? Should you register or not? How do you do that?
These are important questions to ask. But beyond these, there are also some other really important considerations a lot of new NDIS businesses overlook.
If you're ready to make a positive impact through the NDIS, read on. We'll give you the confidence to get started in a way that's right for your business.
Who can be an NDIS provider?
A lot of people misunderstand what it means to be an NDIS provider. They think you need to undergo a registration process or audit before you can offer services and support to NDIS participants. This isn't true.
Any legal Australian business with an ABN can be an NDIS provider.
You are automatically considered an NDIS provider when you offer a disability-related service, and someone pays you with their NDIS funding.
The NDIS is made up of two types of providers: registered and unregistered
There are two types of NDIS businesses in the scheme. These are registered and unregistered providers.
Both types of businesses are allowed to provide services to NDIS participants. Both types of businesses are legal Australian businesses.
An NDIS registered provider is one that has been given the tick of approval against the NDIS Practice Standards.
Being either a registered or unregistered provider comes with a range of obligations, responsibilities and possibly new ways of working.
Should I become a registered NDIS provider?
NDIS registration is often seen as a gold star indicating good service, dedication and expertise in the NDIS.
For certain providers who are part of the NDIS, registration is a must. For example, those that offer Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) or Positive Behaviour Support. In all other cases, the choice is up to each individual business owner.
Registration isn’t a once-off thing. Regular audits to renew registration are something you’ll have to account for if you’d like to be NDIS registered.
The benefits of being NDIS registered
Choosing to register with the NDIS does more than allow you to publicly commit to being a trusted service provider.
With NDIS registration you can also work with more people.
Unregistered providers can only work with self-managed or plan-managed participants. Becoming NDIS registered allows you to offer support and services to people whose funding is agency-managed, too.
How much does it cost to become an NDIS registered provider?
It's free to apply for registration. Although, you'll need to choose and pay for an approved quality auditor to complete the audit.
The type of NDIS audit you need will depend on the type of support you offer. There are two types, and each lead to a different registration qualification.
- Verification. This is for providers who deliver lower-risk or less complex supports. The cost of a verification audit can be between $900 - $1500.
- Certification. Providers who deliver more complex and higher-risk supports or services must undergo a certification audit. This can cost between $3000 and $5000.
The NDIS Commission will let you know which registration group you fall under.
How to become a registered NDIS provider
If you’ve decided that registering with the NDIS is the right choice for your business, here’s a summary of what you need to do:
- Submit a new online application through the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. You'll also need to complete a self-assessment
- Choose an approved quality auditor
- Undergo an independent audit. This is usually a two-stage process.
- Wait for the NDIS Commission to assess your application
- Receive the outcome of the application
For a step-by-step on the NDIS registration process, take a look at our NDIS provider registration checklist.
Reasons why remaining unregistered could be the right choice for you
You could decide that the cost and admin time required to register with the NDIS are too high.
Or, maybe you are already accredited with a professional body related to your work. In this case, you may not feel the need to be NDIS registered to signal quality.
Being unregistered isn’t bad news. You’ll still be able to provide high-quality support to people who plan-manage or self-manage their NDIS funding.
Whether you're unregistered or registered, here are some things you still need to consider
Adhering to the NDIS Code of Conduct
Regardless of your NDIS registration status, everyone working with NDIS participants must follow the NDIS Code of Conduct.
Under the NDIS Code of Conduct, you have to:
- Respect a participant's right to express themselves and make their own decisions
- Respect a participant's privacy
- Provide good quality support, safely and with care and skill
- Be transparent and honest in all dealings
- Take action quickly if a problem arises
- Take all reasonable steps to prevent and respond to all types of harm, violence or sexual misconduct
The NDIS Code of Conduct is essentially a set of ethical business practices.
The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission oversees the quality of providers in the scheme. If you have questions or need to report an issue, the NDIS Commission is your point of call.
Being mindful of NDIS price limits
The NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits document sets out the maximum hourly rate you can charge participants who are plan-managed or agency-managed.
Adhering to the pricing limits has nothing to do with whether you are NDIS registered or not. They can apply to all providers.
Often, people think that these maximum guides are the set "NDIS prices" for services. This isn't right.
Service providers can, and do, charge below these limits.
Participants are encouraged to negotiate lower prices or seek out providers whose prices work for their budget.
Invoicing correctly for the NDIS
It's important that you set up your invoices correctly in order to get paid on time from the NDIS.
All invoices for NDIS participants should contain:
- Your business name
- Your ABN
- The name of the participant and their NDIS number
- The support item number, which tells the NDIA what type of support you've provided (You can find it in the NDIS Support Catalogue)
- Your hourly rate and how many "units" (i.e. sessions or instances) of support you provided
- When the support was delivered
- Total invoice amount
- Any GST component, if applicable
Leaving out any of these details could mean you get paid late.
If you're still unsure, the NDIS website provides more detail on invoicing.
Alternatively, if you work with any participants who are plan-managed, reach out to their plan manager. They should be able to tell you what to include, and how.
Depending on your role, report writing for NDIS participants might feature heavily in your work.
This is particularly relevant if you're an allied health professional.
NDIS funding is conditional and constantly reassessed. Participants are faced with the big responsibility of demonstrating that they need certain levels of support. This directly translates to the funding they receive in their plan.
Demonstrating their support needs requires the help of their providers. You may need to provide reports or do assessments that help participants advocate for the support they need from the NDIS.
A good report written to NDIS standards can lead to really positive outcomes for participants. If you want more information about how to write a great therapy report, you can check out our webinar on the topic.
Becoming an NDIS provider doesn't need to be complicated
If you're passionate about helping people with disability, you can partner with HeyHubble to become a successful NDIS service provider.
Our NDIS experts at HeyHubble help high-quality, caring businesses grow by matching them with NDIS participants. You can read about the types of quality NDIS providers we connect people with here.
Interested in learning more?
If you’re interested in learning more about becoming an NDIS provider or how to grow your business in the NDIS, we’ve put together this handy guide to help you. Read the guide here: growing your allied health business in the NDIS.
The guide explores the essential foundations to consider to start growing your client base, as well as some more advanced activity if you have the essentials sorted as an NDIS provider.
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