Anthony has an accident in his vehicle which has been modified to support his disabilities. He asks us to fund the costs of the vehicle repairs and maintenance.
Would we typically fund this?
No, we would not typically fund the general maintenance and repair costs of your vehicle. This is because it is not likely to meet the criteria of an “additional living cost” that is required “solely and directly” as a result of your disability needs. We would, however, typically fund the repair and maintenance costs of the vehicle modifications installed to support your disability needs.
Why wouldn’t we fund it?
Most Australians use a car or a motorbike for transport. This means the purchase, running costs, registration and insurance of vehicles are considered day-to-day living costs not related to someone’s disability. We do not fund these everyday expenses.
We do typically fund the maintenance, repair and insurance of a vehicle that supports your disability needs. For example, the maintenance and repair of vehicle modifications needed so that you can:
- get in and out of the vehicle with or without a wheelchair
- carry your wheelchair in or on the vehicle without lifting
- be transported safely whilst seated in your wheelchair
- drive with specialised controls or other adaptions.
When we work out whether a support is reasonable and necessary for you, we consider the information you’ve provided against the NDIS Funding Criteria. We usually include funding for the maintenance and insurance of your disability related vehicle modifications in your plan when we approve funding for your modifications. If you have a car accident, we would expect your insurance policy to cover most of the costs for the repair of your vehicle modifications.
In most cases, you can use the maintenance allowance already in your plan to cover the extra costs of any repair of your vehicle modifications. If the repairs cost more than the funding you already have, or you need to replace the equipment, contact us or your planner for advice. If the costs to repair or replace your vehicle modifications is going to be more than $1,500, you will also need to give us a quote and make sure we accept it before you go ahead with the repairs.
What other related supports might we fund?
While we won’t fund the general maintenance and repair of your vehicle, we will typically fund maintenance and repair costs of modifications made to the vehicle to support your disability. This includes:
- servicing the suspension or undercarriage if the floor has been lowered or 4-point suspension or height-adjustable kneeling fitted for disability reasons
- damage to vehicle interior, such as floor relining due to wheelchair access
- seat belt stalks and replacing customised seat belt systems
- servicing the power system if there are power modifications to support power ramps or other vehicle-powered assistive technology.
For more information on vehicle modifications, please refer to the operational guidelines - vehicle modifications .
Raja is paraplegic. He uses a wheelchair and drives a vehicle modified to support his disability. We funded these modifications. Recently, while visiting his doctor, an unknown driver crashed into the side of Raja’s car and drove off. Raja had parked in a disabled parking spot.
The accident caused damage to the:
- front and side panels
- front wheel
- modifications that allow Raja to drive without pedals.
Raja contacts his vehicle insurance provider and finds out that, as the driver of the other vehicle is unknown, the excess on his policy will be $2000. As Raja needs his vehicle to access his supports, he contacts the NDIS to fund the:
- $2000 excess
- transport for his regular essential transport needs
- costs to travel to and from his support services for the 6 weeks it will take to repair his vehicle.
Raja gives us a costing from the insurer’s approved panel beater. The price includes the itemised costing from a vehicle modifications dealer to replace the driving modifications and repair the vehicle. It also specifies how long the vehicle will be off the road.
To work out whether funding for Raja’s requests is reasonable and necessary, the planner considers the information provided against the NDIS Funding Criteria. In doing so the planner considers whether:
- Raja has provided a quote for the repairs or replacement of the vehicle modifications.
- the $2000 excess relates to the total cost of the damage to the vehicle or just the cost to repair the damage to the vehicle modifications
- Raja’s plan includes funding for the maintenance and repair of vehicle modifications
- Raja’s NDIS supports, mainstream and community supports and regular essential transport needs are documented so they can work out transport costs while Raja’s vehicle was being repaired.
In Raja’s case, the planner decides:
- the excess is the same no matter what repairs are made to the vehicle, so Raja would need to pay it even if there was no damage to the modifications
- they need more information about whether Raja’s insurance covers alternative transport such as a loan vehicle
- without an alternative means of transport while his vehicle is being repaired, Raja’s request for transportation funding to cover his regular essential transport needs and the transport costs to his funded supports would be reasonable and necessary.
After they get more information, the planner decides:
- Raja’s request for the funding of the excess is not a reasonable and necessary support that the NDIS can provide.
- Six weeks of transportation costs so Raja can travel while his vehicle is repaired was reasonable and necessary, and approves funding for this.
For more information, refer to: