6 facts about unregistered providers and what they can and can’t do

Emma Lo Giudice
February 28, 2023

There’s a lot of misunderstanding about what it means to be an unregistered provider in the NDIS. What’s expected of them? 

First, let’s answer the following question.

How do I become an unregistered provider?

This question frequently gets asked with some confusion. The answer is that you can’t ‘become’ an unregistered provider. You simply ‘are’ an unregistered provider if you offer disability-related services to NDIS participants, and are not registered with the NDIS Commission. 

Think of it like the default setting for your business until you become registered.

With that question out of the way, read on to learn more about these types of providers. 

We've collected 6 key facts about unregistered NDIS providers to help you understand what they can do and what requirements they have to fulfil.

1. Unregistered providers can be any legal Australian business with an ABN that supports NDIS participants

An NDIS provider is any legal Australian business with an ABN that offers disability-related services to NDIS participants.

An unregistered provider is a business like the one described above. Except, it hasn't completed the NDIS registration process with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. There are no other requirements or processes needed to become an unregistered provider.

While there are benefits to NDIS registration, it's a completely optional process. So, you can choose to stay unregistered and still deliver NDIS-funded services.

2. You can't offer certain supports or services if your business is unregistered

Many providers will make a pros and cons list of being registered vs. unregistered. If this is you, a major factor in your decision to register (or not) should be the type of service you offer.

More complex, specialised or highly regulated services can only be offered by NDIS registered providers.

Here is a list of supports and services unregistered providers can't offer:

  • Plan management
  • Positive behaviour support
  • Specialist disability accommodation (SDA)
  • Any type of support that may use a regulated restricted practice 

Most other types of service providers, like support coordinators, support workers or allied health therapists, are free to decide if they want to register with the NDIS Commission or not.

3. Unregistered providers still have obligations to the NDIS Commission and participants

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission is responsible for making sure NDIS participants receive quality, safe services. This means that they oversee all providers in the scheme, both registered and unregistered. 

As an unregistered provider, your obligations don't change much from registered providers. 

Here is what you still need to make sure you're doing:

  • Adhering to the NDIS Code of Conduct
  • Managing complaints effectively
  • Making sure your staff have the appropriate checks and qualifications to provide support

Even as an unregistered provider, failing to follow the NDIS Code of Conduct can lead to a complaint to the NDIS Commission about your business.

We've outlined everything you should know before becoming an NDIS provider (whether registered or unregistered) in a blog post here.

4. The NDIS price guide applies to unregistered providers too

The NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits document (sometimes referred to as the NDIS price guide) has nothing to do with a provider's registration status. 

The way your participants manage their funding will let you know if you need to adhere to the NDIS price guide or not.

If you have a participant using plan-managed funding, you will need to charge them below or at the price limit listed for your service. 

Remember, this is not the official  'NDIS price' - it's a maximum limit. Providers can choose to charge below this limit. Similarly, participants can choose to shop around for a rate that's within their budget.

If you work with someone who is self-managing their funding, then the price limits do not apply.

5. You can't work with NDIA-managed participants if you are an unregistered provider

As an unregistered provider, the pool of potential new clients you can work with is slightly restricted. 

Participants who have NDIA-managed funding in their NDIS plan can only work with registered NDIS providers. So, they can't choose to spend their funding with you if you're not registered.

People who have self-managed or plan managed funding can use unregistered providers if they want to.

Some people may have combination plans. This means different sections of their plans are managed in different ways. What matters to your business is the way the funding category applicable to your particular service is managed.

6. You can still connect with NDIS participants on HeyHubble even if you're unregistered 

At HeyHubble, we work with high quality NDIS providers - both unregistered and registered.

We only partner with businesses as passionate about supporting people with disability as we are. Let our team know if you're interested in learning more.

Image credit: Banner designed by Freepik

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