International purchases are possible through the NDIS. However, it’s important to understand what can be purchased and any regulations around international purchases before you start spending.
Understanding international purchases
International purchases are exactly what you would expect - purchases made outside Australia. These kinds of purchases typically include:
Assistive technology purchased through a company overseas
Accessible clothing purchased through an online company registered overseas
Online therapy sessions by a professional located overseas
As with everything when it comes to the NDIS, any international purchases must align with the NDIS criteria around reasonable and necessary. For the NDIS to consider the purchase reasonable and necessary, it needs to fit the criteria including being good value for money.
If you want to purchase a tipper kettle from a company located in the USA for $100 AU but that same kettle or a similar one can be purchased in Australia for $90 then the international purchase would not be considered good value for money and the NDIS would not reimburse the purchase.
It’s also important to note that international travel where you may need supports or services is different to international purchases. If you would like to know more about international travel and the NDIS, click here.
Can you access international purchases if you are plan, self or agency managed?
The answer is… it depends. There are several factors that come into play when the NDIS consider funding for international purchases. One key factor is that if you are plan managed or self-managed, you can access registered and unregistered providers, which means international purchases are possible if you adhere to the NDIS criteria. This is not the case for agency managed participants.
If you are plan managed:
For your Plan Manager to process reimbursements the NDIS states “where a participant has a plan manager assisting them, providers need to send invoices directly to the participant's plan manager. Invoices must include a valid ABN unless the provider is exempt from quoting an ABN.”
An ABN (Australian Business Number) is a unique number that identifies a business for the purpose of ordering and invoicing. Of course, if you are making an international purchase then that individual or business won’t have an ABN. In this case, purchases can only be made if the individual or business complete a Statement by a Supplier form.
If you are self-managed:
Just like participants who are plan managed, those who are self-managed can access international supports from an individual or business from overseas if the individual or business complete a Statement by a Supplier form.
If you are agency managed:
Participants who are agency managed must use NDIS registered providers and to become a NDIS registered provider you must have an ABN. This means that agency managed participants cannot make international purchases.
International providers don’t have an ABN… what can you do?
As mentioned above, if an individual or business does not have an ABN, international purchases can still be made if the individual or business complete a Statement by Supplier form.
It’s important that you reach out to the individual or business you plan to purchase from before making any purchases as the Statement by a Supplier form must be completed in advance otherwise the NDIS will not reimburse the expense. In good news, if an individual or business complete a Statement by Supplier, that form is valid for five years.
Remember to share any Statement by Supplier forms with your plan manager before the purchase so the reimbursement can be made, and a copy can be kept on file.
Who can complete a statement by supplier form?
According to the NDIS, an individual or a business that supplies goods or services can only complete a Statement by Supplier form if one or more of the following applies:
They are not carrying on an enterprise in Australia
They are an individual under 18 years and the payment does not exceed $350 per week
The payment does not exceed $75, excluding any goods and services tax (GST)
The supply that the payment relates to is only input taxed
They are an individual, and a written statement is provided to the payer to the effect that the supply is either made in the course or furtherance of an activity done as a private recreational pursuit or hobby, or exclusively of a private or domestic nature
They are an individual or a partnership without a reasonable expectation of profit or gain
They are not entitled to an ABN because they are not carrying on an enterprise in Australia
The whole of the payment is exempt income
For more information about this, click here.
Read more about the benefits of working with an independent, professional Plan Manager. Alternatively, contact our friendly team on 1300 322 273 or email@example.com.