JQJT v National Disability Insurance Agency [2016] AATA 678 required the Tribunal to review supports in a plan for a 13 year old boy with severe autism and severe intellectual / language delay such that he could not express himself verbally.

Under the previous assistance mechanism, funding was provided in relation to the transport costs of a support worker who took J to activities on weekends and during school holidays. Under the NDIS approved plan, the Agency considered the transport to be the responsibility of J’s parents: [4] – [5].

A fact sheet on transport funding under the NDIS was taken to represent NDIA policy: [30] – [32].

The Tribunal considered various factors including what was reasonable for parents to provide and varied the plan in respect of some but not all the claimed transport costs, saying at [43] – [45]:

  1. We are not persuaded that the NDIS should meet the cost of transport to community access support on weekdays during school holidays because JQJT’s parents are relieved of the need to take him to and from school each day during those times.  The cost of transport on two occasions a week during school holidays would likely be incurred by any parent.  Further, as the funded support is in two six-hour blocks, his parents should be able to obtain the benefit of respite even with driving him there and back.  We think it reasonable for them to drive him to and from the support worker on those occasions.
  2. However, the additional burden of driving him to meet the support worker on weekends especially during term time, when they already drive him to and from school each day and on other outings, limits the benefit to them of respite on those occasions.  It increases the burden on them and is an added risk to their wellbeing.
  3. We are satisfied that funding for transport for weekend support takes into account what it is reasonable for his parents to provide.  In coming to this decision, we have had regard to the need to ensure the financial sustainability of the NDIS (see subsections 3(3)(b) and 4(17)(b) of the Act). …

 

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