With Covid-19 restrictions starting and the opening of both national and international boarders…many people are turning their minds to planning their next holiday.

Holidays are good for us all. They get us out of our routines, they allow us to experience new things – explore new worlds and cultures, taste new foods and they expand our thinking.

People return from holidays recharged and refreshed! However, the question remains, will the NDIS fund your holiday?

The simple answer is no, the NDIS does not fund holidays, but your NDIS funding will be able to provide the supports and services that you need to go on a holiday. This crucial support will make what may have previous been impossible, well within your reach!

As with any funding the NDIS provides, it must be deemed reasonable and necessary for it to be included in your NDIS plan. This means that the supports and services you may require during your holiday should directly relate to your disability.

What costs can (and cannot) be covered?

The NDIS can cover the cost of the supports and services that you may require during your trip. So, if you need to bring a support worker with you, then you can use your NDIS funding to pay for their time.

However, it is important to note that for both you and your support worker, costs like transport (in addition to the disability component), accommodation, meals, entertainment, and other typical holiday-related costs are not funded as they are unlikely to meet the NDIS reasonable and necessary criteria. If you can’t cover the costs for the transport, accommodation, meals etc. of your support worker, another option is to look for a support worker in the area that you plan to visit. Although that support worker may not be someone you have worked with before, the out-of-pocket costs of that support worker will be lower than if you bring someone with you. Ultimately, ensure that the decision you make is the right decision for your needs.

The NDIS may also cover the cost of equipment hire (i.e., portable equipment like a hoist to get in and out of bed) that you need for your holiday.

Everyone travels differently. So, ultimately it is up to you as to whether you would like to travel independently or with an NDIS registered travel provider. Both options can be great; it’s about finding what the best option is for you, your needs, and your personal travel preferences.

You can travel outside of Australia for up to 6 weeks (from your departure date) with no impact on your NDIS plan. Typically, after 6 weeks, your NDIS plan will be suspended. Be sure to let the NDIS know if you plan to be overseas for longer than 6 weeks as you may be able to request an extension on the duration of your time outside Australia.

Support options overseas

If you opt for a support person who does not reside in Australia but in your travel location, you still need to follow the same system that you would in Australia when it comes to invoicing. They won’t have an Australian Business Number (ABN) but they can still provide an invoice with their name, a description of the service provided, the number of hours at an agreed rate, and the total cost of their support and services.

Currency differences… does it matter?

Yes. Although your invoice will be in a foreign currency, it is important to show the cost in Australian dollars (AUD). If you pay for a support of service while overseas, you should see the AUD amount on your credit card statement. If you are Plan Managed, you can provide that AUD amount alongside the invoice of the overseas provider to your Plan Manager.

How Plan Management can give you more choice and control overseas

If you are Agency (NDIA) Managed, you only have access to NDIS registered providers. However, if you are Plan Managed or Self-Managed, you can access both registered and unregistered providers. This means that you are more likely to be able to find the support you need overseas if you are Plan or Self-Managed as it is very unlikely there will be any NDIS registered providers overseas.

If you’re planning a trip in Australia or considering going overseas in the future, reach out to your Support Coordinator and Plan Manager to discuss your options. You should discuss your holiday plans with your Local Area Coordinator (LAC) during your planning meeting or plan review meeting so that appropriate funding can be included in your NDIS plan to assist you with any reasonable and necessary supports and services that would allow you to travel.

If you are ready for a break and a holiday is high on your agenda, we recommend that you first speak with a Trusted Care team member. They can alert you to any costs like a support worker, equipment hires, or claiming the difference for accessible transport and accommodation before booking a holiday. That way you can book your holiday with confidence knowing what your NDIS funding may cover. To speak with a Trusted Care team member today phone 1800 670 990 or email services@trustedcare.org.au