If you’re a support worker providing assistance to people living with a disability, there’s a good chance your client is an NDIS participant. This means they receive funding which is subject to cap rates set by the National Disability Insurance Agency. Cap rates may be affecting the amount of work you are receiving on the Better Caring platform, so we’ve answered a few important questions about NDIS cap rates.
What are cap rates?
Cap rates (or price controls) apply to NDIS participants whose funding is managed by a plan manager or the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). These rates are monetary limits that allow the NDIA to monitor the costs charged by Registered Providers and independent support workers like those on Better Caring. Over 30% of clients living with a disability on the Better Caring platform self-manage their NDIS funding – this means they are not subject to cap rates. However, almost 80% of NDIS participants on Better Caring are either plan managed or NDIA managed.
If you provide support to an NDIS participant on Better Caring, your rate may be reviewed by the client’s Registered Provider to ensure that it does not exceed the cap rate.
Why are there cap rates?
The National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 claims that the cost of supports must be reasonable and relative to the support provided and the costs of alternative support.
The NDIA updates cap rates annually to take into account market trends, changes in costs and average wage rates. Although the NDIA is set to update NDIS cap rates on July 1, 2018, it is important that independent support workers are aware of current cap rates.
How can they affect my work?
If you’re providing support through Better Caring and you are charging a higher hourly payment rate than the core supports cap rates, clients living with a disability may not hire you. The most commonly applied cap rates are those that fall under assistance with self-care activities. These rates can be anywhere between $44.72 and $96.96 per hour depending on the time and day support is provided and which state your client lives in.
When considering your hourly payment rate on Better Caring, you should also take into account our 5% client service fee which adds a small cost to the overall amount. Your client’s Registered Provider may also implement a service fee which could increase your client’s payable amount.
Example: exceeding the cap rate
If your client lives in NSW and receives core supports under the support item “Assistance with self-care activities during daytime weekdays [reference number 01_011_0107_1_1]”, their cap rate for this service is $44.72 per hour according to the 2017-18 NDIS Price Guide.
If your weekday payment rate is $43 and you provide one hour of support to a client, your client will pay Better Caring $43 plus a 5% service fee which amounts to $2.15.
Your client’s NDIS Registered Provider may also have a service fee which will add to the amount. In this case, the service fee is 12% and will amount to $5.42. These fees vary from provider to provider, so this rate is only illustrative. Please check with your client to confirm what service fees are applicable to them.
This means that the total amount is $50.57 and this exceeds the NDIS cap rate for your client. Your client will not be able to pay for this cost with their NDIS funding.
To read more about different NDIS cap rates, take a look at the NDIS Price Guide.
If you know your client’s NDIS cap rates and which service fees apply to them, you can use our NDIS Cap Rate Calculator which can be found at the end of this article.
What does this mean for me as a support worker?
If you’re looking to provide support to people living with disabilities, when you are discussing rates, it’s important to have a conversation about whether they are NDIS-funded and ensure that the agreed rate will fall within the NDIS cap rates for the items included in their plan. Ensuring this is clear from the outset will avoid unnecessary delays when the NDIA comes to process your invoices.
We want to provide support workers with opportunities to connect with clients and help create lasting support connections. To start giving back to your community and begin working for yourself, sign up to Better Caring today.
Please note, the information in this article is designed as a guide and should not be solely relied on when designing your NDIS plan. We recommend that if you have questions about the NDIS, accessing the scheme, or your plan specifically, to get in touch with the NDIA or visit the NDIS Pricing and Payment site.
Better Caring is not an NDIS-registered provider, however, you can use your NDIS funding to hire support workers directly through the Better Caring platform. Find out more here.
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