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Cost Saving on the NDIS

Community Activities Alternative Funding Options

With some recent pressure on the NDIS to reduce costs, we have decided to investigate how participants on the scheme can reduce costs by seeking out alternative ways for funding supports. There are several options in place for people with disabilities to reduce expenses beyond utilising NDIS funding. We have highlighted a few of the options that may be available to you.


 

Companion Card 

Every state and territory in Australia have their own version of the Companion Card. There may be some differences in eligibility and use between the regions, but, generally speaking, a Companion Card allows for an attendant carer to participate at venues and activities without incurring the cost of a second ticket. 


Attendant care support is defined as needing significant assistance with mobility, communication, self-care or learning, where the use of aids, equipment or alternative strategies does not enable a person to carry out these tasks independently. Attendant care support does not include the companion providing only social company, reassurance, or encouragement. 


A companion is then defined as any person who accompanies a cardholder and provides attendant care support. The chosen companion may be a paid or unpaid carer, family member, friend, or partner. 


Eligibility for a Companion Card is dependent on several factors. You must:  

  • be a lawful Australian resident, living in the relevant State or Territory you are applying for 

  • have a disability 

  • because of the impact of the disability, be unable to participate at most community venues or activities without attendant care support 

  • need, or be likely to need, lifelong attendant care support.  


It should be noted that eligibility is always determined for the person with the disability, not with the carer or any other organisation. Eligibility requirements are different to that for the NDIS, so eligibility for one does not necessarily mean eligibility for the other. 


You can determine eligibility for a Companion Card with links to the States and Territories for application here: National Companion Card | Department of Social Services, Australian Government (dss.gov.au) 

 

Taxi Subsidy Scheme 

The Taxi Subsidy Scheme is available for Queensland residents with permanent and temporary disabilities to fund half of the total fare (up to a maximum far of $60) of a taxi journey. There is no limit to the number of taxi journeys an eligible member may make. 


Membership for this program typically lasts for five year periods, though those with temporary disabilities have available to them 6 and 12 month periods. 


This program is available to NDIS participants up until 31/10/2025, with alternative appropriate transport support arrangements intending to be in place by this time. 


To be eligible for this program, you must meet at least one of the following criteria: 

  • Physical disability requiring dependence on a wheelchair for all mobility outside the home. 

  • Severe ambulatory problem that cannot functionally be improved and restricts walking to an extremely limited distance. 

  • Total loss of vision or severe visual impairment (both eyes). 

  • Severe and uncontrollable epilepsy with seizures involving loss of consciousness. 

  • Intellectual impairment or dementia resulting in the need to be accompanied by another person at all times for travel on public transport. 

  • Severe emotional and/or behaviour disorders with a level of disorganisation resulting in the need to be accompanied by another person at all times for travel on public transport. 


If you wish to check eligibility criteria or apply for this scheme, you can find all the relevant information here: Taxi Subsidy Scheme and Lift Payment | People with disability | Queensland Government (www.qld.gov.au) 

 

Qantas Carer Card 

This card is an example of a service provider acting with initiative and offering specific supports to people with a disability. The Qantas Carer Card provides a discount on domestic flights for eligible people and their carers. As the NDIS does not cover flights, this provides a viable option when a flight is necessary. 


A person may be eligible if they need to have one-on-one support when seated on the aircraft for assistance with meals/drinks, toileting, administration of medication, orientation, communicating with the flight staff etc. A person is not eligible if they only need assistance boarding the aircraft, or when they arrive at their destination. 


This scheme allows eligible participants to get a discount on their flights and also that for any required carer.  


You may find out further information, including eligibility criteria, here: Qantas Carer Concession Card - People with Disability Australia (pwd.org.au) 

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