Ali Strachan has been working with First2Care as their Content Coordinator and Copywriter since 2017. She combines her personal experience within the disability industry and her skills as an SEO content writer to create client-centred digital strategies for organisations within the NDIS.
Are you getting your NDIS invoices wrong?
Cash flow is important to any business, large or small. So it goes without saying that when you issue an invoice, you need it to be paid quickly.
If you’re service or support provider, or a support worker who’s has been working within the disability sector for some time – you might be aware that the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has its own pricing guidelines that you should be taking into account when issuing invoices (more on this soon).
But, if your business hasn’t done a lot of work for the disability sector, or you’re new to the NDIS – it’s important you understand how to invoice correctly under the NDIS, so that the participant (or their Plan Manager) can make a claim for your payment and pay you as soon as possible.
Understanding the Price Guide and Support Categories
To understand how to invoice correctly, we first need to understand how a participant’s support is categorised within their plan. Their funding is split up into three different support categories. These are:
- Core Supports for things that assist in daily living, and with community participation
- Capital Supports for investment into bigger items such as assistive technologies, equipment, home or vehicle modifications, or for Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA).
- Capacity Building supports designed to help a participant to build their independence and skills in different areas of their life
So your funds can be claimed without confusion, it’s important to understand where your services or support fits in within these categories – because it will affect what you put on your invoice.
The NDIS Price Guide helps you find the maximum rates you can charge, and provides you with a ‘support line item’ that the participant will use to claim your payment from their funding pool. Among other things, the NDIS prices take into account:
- Increases in price for higher intensity or outside normal hours support
- Higher delivery costs for support in regional or very remote areas
- Travel costs for providers and therapists
- Cancellations, co-payments and GST considerations
It’s a document worth getting to know! Here’s an example to show you how the Price Guide works.
Paul is a young man with Cerebral Palsy. He uses a wheelchair to maintain his independence but requires assistance at home to assist him with personal care as he lives alone.
He employs a team of support workers to help him at various times to maintain his independence, such as in the evenings between 6pm and 9pm to assist with meal preparation and showering etc. His duties are not classed as high needs care.*
According to the Price Guide, Daytime rates start at 6am and finish at 8pm, meaning Paul’s support worker invoices for 2 hours of support at the daytime rate, and 1 hour at the evening rate, each night he helps. This particular support worker doesn’t assist on weekends, but may on public holidays.
In this instance Paul’s support worker can invoice for:
- Assistance with self-care activities – standard, weekday, daytime: 2 hours @ max rate of $48.14/hr. Line # 01_011_0107_1_1 (Assisting with, and/or supervising, personal tasks of daily life to develop skills of the participant to live autonomously as possible)
- Assistance with self-care activities – standard, weekday, evening: 1 hour @ a max rate of $52.79/hr. Line # 01_015_0107_1_1 (Assisting with, and/or supervising, personal tasks of daily life to develop skills of the participant to live autonomously as possible)
On public holidays the hourly rate may increase to $104.08, however it should be noted that these rates are the maximum as set by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). Participants can negotiate lower hourly rates as required. The Price Guide also doesn’t list all possible supports for a full list, find them in the Support Catalogue.
If you’re unsure which ‘support line items’ apply to your services or support, the NDIA recommend using a “best fit” approach. You should invoice for payments against line items that most closely match with the service you’ve delivered.
What happens when you are providing support across multiple categories and line items in one shift?
We have employed three independent support workers to assist my brother with a range of daily living and capacity building activities. Often they assist him with supports from both ‘Core’ and ‘Capacity Building’ categories, across multiple line items in one shift, such as items that come under these categories:
- Assistance with Daily Life (1.01)
- Increased Social and Community Participation (3.09)
- Improved Relationships (3.11)
- Improved Health and Wellbeing (3.12)
Best practice for NDIS Support Worker invoices in this case is to include the amount of time spent providing support against each of the line items during each shift.
We’ve found it’s often more cost effective and beneficial for our support workers to help in this way. My brother gets better results from his communication support in a real-life situations for example (during volunteering or while attending social events).
Our Plan Manager, Andrew from Support Management Solutions, says that there’s probably only a select few support categories and line items that will be specific to the support you’re giving for each participant. Once you know your client’s circumstances, invoicing will get quicker and easier. “The key to learning how to invoice correctly under the NDIS is about knowing your clients circumstances well and listening to what they really need,” Andrew said.
What information should I include in my NDIS invoice?
The invoice you provide to your participant (or their Plan Manager) should include all the information you’d normally supply to other clients outside the NDIS, such as:
- Your business name and ABN
- Your contact information
- Invoice number and invoice date
- Participant’s details (if available)
- Your payment terms and due date
- A description of the supports or service you provided
- Total invoice amount
- GST component if applicable (most services are GST free)
The NDIA also states that all invoices must include:
- Quantity of service/s provided (such as the number of hours)
- Unit price of service/s provided (your agreed hourly rate)
- Support item number
- Dates of service delivery
By including all this information you make the claiming process far more efficient for participants and Plan Managers because you take out any possible guesswork they need to do if you aren’t clear. And this means you get paid quicker and there’s less likelihood that your claim will be rejected!
Not only that, but keeping good records is good business practice. And it’s also essential to ensuring you’re NDIS compliant and will make your job easier when provide a Statement of Outcomes for the participant’s plan review at the end of the year.
If you or the participant are audited, you’ll have detailed evidence of support if the NDIA request it.
We hope we’ve cleared up exactly how to invoice correctly under the NDIS. And if you’d like more information on invoicing and requesting payments you can read through the Provider Toolkit training and their Provider portal – Step-by-step guide.
Over to you
What does your NDIS invoice look like? Are you invoicing correctly, or do you need to make some adjustments to become compliant? We’d love to know your experience with claims and payments under the scheme.
*The awards and definitions of high needs care are provided in the Price Guide.
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