NDIS: Private car expenses for some travel

Ewin and National Disability Insurance Agency [2018] AATA 4726 set aside a decision of a delegate of the CEO of the National Disability Insurance Agency, allowing for the inclusion of some private travel expenses for a person who had incomplete paraplegia but was able to drive independently.

As public transport was unavailable or impractical on some routes, the Tribunal allowed for items such as:

  • Private vehicle funding for travel from home to work on days when it is raining or forecast to rain;
  • Funding to reimburse Mr Ewin for the costs of using his private vehicle for travel between his home and lawn bowls “away” games that he plays on Saturdays or as part of the Darebin night competition, Darebin midweek competition or for tournaments held for players with disabilities;
  • Funding to reimburse Mr Ewin for the costs of using his private vehicle for travel between his home and the location of his child’s or children’s weekly swimming lessons or netball games; and
  • Funding for certain accessories (eg roof rack / box).

Private vehicle funding for grocery shopping was not allowed, given the availability of online shopping / delivery services.

Of interest is a comment by the Tribunal at [80], about a published NDIS Guideline:

The Tribunal considers that the above section of the Guidelines is broadly consistent with the NDIS legislative regime, except for the last part of clause 12.2 of the Guidelines, which seeks to establish three caps applicable to the level of funding that are to be provided to a participant. These funding caps depend on the participants’ personal circumstances (i.e. the degree of the participant’s involvement in work and study activities).  The Tribunal considers that the Federal Court in McGarrigle has established that the correct approach when a request has been made by a participant to receive funding for a particular support, is for a determination is to be made as to whether the support is reasonable and necessary and if such a determination is made, the provisions of the NDIS Act require the support to be funded in full.