AES in the NDIS

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is an insurance scheme that provides funds to Australians who have a permanent and significant disability, to pay for services or supports that enable them to play a meaningful role as a member of their community, whatever that may mean for them.
People aged 7 to 65 years can apply to gain access to the NDIS. People aged 0 to 6 years can apply to the Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) program.

Who is involved in the NDIS?

To understand how to work in under the NDIS, it is best to understand the different players involved in its operation:

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA)

The NDIA is the Commonwealth government agency responsible for the operation of the NDIS. The NDIA assesses applications made by people with disabilities to decide who can access the NDIS, based on whether they meet the eligibility criteria. Once a person has access to the NDIS, the NDIA will also determine a budget for the person to use for their NDIS supports (such as exercise physiology).


Participants

Once a person is approved to access the NDIS, they are known as a participant.There are three types of participants in the NDIS, which is determined based on how their funding is managed.

  • Agency managed participants:The NDIA is responsible for managing funds on the participant’s behalf and pays invoices directly to a provider.
  • Plan managed participants:A third party provider (not the NDIS) is responsible for managing funds on behalf of the participant. They receive and pay invoices from a provider.
  • Self-managed participants:The participant manages their own funds. They pay for their supports and services and claim these funds back from the NDIS later.

NDIS Planners

NDIS planners are staff members of the NDIA that meet with participants to develop their NDIS plan. The NDIS planner will discuss the reasonable and necessary supports (e.g. exercise physiology) that the participant will be able to access and determine an amount of funding that will enable to participant to execute their plan.


ECEI Partners

ECEI partners are employed by the NDIA to deliver the ECEI approach. They assist families in understanding the role of the NDIS and connect them to appropriate supports. They also help participants transition into the NDIS once the child turns 7 years old.


Plan Managers

Plan managers are not employed by the NDIA. Instead, they are providers, much like AEPs, that manage participants’ budgets. As mentioned above, the types of participants are called plan managed participants.


Support Coordinators

Much like plan managers, support coordinators are not employed by the NDIA. They are providers, similar to AEPs, that help participants implement their plans. Some of the activities that a support coordinator can assist participants with include sourcing quotes for supports, connecting participants to providers, and link participants to community, mainstream and other government services, where appropriate.


Local Area Coordinators (LACs)

LACs assist people in navigating the NDIS. They can help participants prepare for their planning meetings, develop draft goals and identify required supports.

LACs can also connect people who are not eligible to access the NDIS to mainstream supports.


The NDIS Quality and Safety Commission (NDIS Commission)

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission is an independent agency established to improve the quality and safety of NDIS supports and services. They regulate NDIS providers, provide national consistency, promote safety and quality services, resolve problems and identify areas for improvement.

If you choose to register as an NDIS provider, you will need to register with the NDIS Commission.


NDIS Providers

An NDIS provider can be a business that employs people to deliver NDIS supports to participants, or a sole trader that provides NDIS services to participants themselves. An NDIS provider may be registered with the NDIS Commission or be operating as an unregistered provider (more on registration under Working as an NDIS provider).


NDIS worker

An NDIS worker is a person who is employed by an NDIS provider to deliver NDIS supports to participants.


What services can an AES provide?

Exercise science is not a specific item or support under the NDIS, as is exercise physiology. For this reason, Accredited Exercise Scientists (AES) do not provide “exercise science” supports, but can provide services under a diverse range of other categories. The categories of supports that an AES can provide under the NDIS are indicated in the drop-down below.

Participant NDIS plans will have funding allocated to specific support categories. The NDIS supports that can be delivered by an AES to a participant will depend on the support categories that have attracted a funding allocation in that participant’s plan.

Categories of AES Supports

Support Category Number 

Support Category Name

Support Category Description

Example of Support from AES

 4

Assistance with Social, Economic and Community Participation

Provision of support to enable a participant to engage in community, social and/or recreational activities

An AES facilitates a group fitness/sporting activity in the community to allow a group of NDIS participants to socially engage.

 9

Increased Social and Community Participation

Individual and group life skills development and training including public transport training and support developing skills for community, social and recreational participation or employment

An AES engages an NDIS participant in regular physical activity, including walking, to increase a participant’s fitness levels and confidence so that they can walk to shops independently.

 12

Improved Health and Wellbeing

Personal training provided to a participant due to the impact of their disability

An AES provides personal training to a participant to improve their health and wellbeing.

 15

Improved Daily Living Skills

Allied health assistant working under delegation and supervision of a therapist with NDIS participants or children in the ECEI program

An AES works as an allied health assistant under an AEP. The AEP assesses a participant and designs an exercise program that the AES executes with the participant, under the indirect supervision of the AEP.

*This is not intended to be an exhaustive list; there may be other categories which an AES may utilise.


Working as an NDIS Provider

When working in the NDIS, you can either work as an NDIS provider or as an employee for another person/business who is an NDIS provider. This information is for AES who wishes to work as an NDIS provider. This may be as a sole trader or a business owner employing other workers.

Should I Register?

Not all providers will need to register with the NDIS Commission to be able to provide services to participants. The types of participants you see will determine whether you need to register with the NDIS Commission, as indicated below.

Type of Participant

Registration required

Agency managed

Must be registered

Plan managed

Do not need to be registered, but can choose to

Self-managed

Do not need to be registered, but can choose to

If you choose to become a registered provider, you will be required to comply with additional requirements. You can review these requirements on the Commission’s webpage, here.

If you decide not to register, you will still be required to comply with some requirements. Unregistered provider requirements are found on the Commission’s webpage, here.

There are benefits to becoming a registered provider, including:

  • connecting and delivering supports to a wide range of participants, including those with NDIA-managed funding
  • marketing your services as being a registered provider
  • extending your online presence through the NDIS Provider Finder tool in the myplace provider portal
  • accessing online business systems through the myplace provider portal, including tools to manage your service bookings and fast payment processing
  • accessing updates and information from the NDIS about business system and process changes, including tools and resources that you can use to train your staff
  • access to supplementary training modules offered by the NDIS Commission.

NDIS Worker Screening Requirement

As a registered provider, you will be required to undergo an NDIS worker screening check. The application for these vary for each State and Territory. If you choose not to register, you are not required to undergo an NDIS worker screening check, unless requested by a participant. ESSA recommends that all AES working in the NDIS apply for an NDIS worker screening check, regardless of registration.

For further information or to apply for a new check in your state or territory, please click the link relevant to your jurisdiction, below:

Transitional arrangements apply to each state and territory. See the NDIS Commission website for further information.


How do I register?

If you decide to become an NDIS registered provider, you will need to apply to the NDIS Commission. The provider information pack outlines the registration process, which will involve a verification or certification process depending on your selected registration group.

Part of the registration process will involve an audit. You will need to select an auditor from the list of the NDIS Commission’s approved auditors.


Registering as an Exercise Scientist

To register as a provider in the NDIS, you must select a registration group to register under. AES can select from the registration groups indicated in the table below. The registration group that an AES chooses to register under will be determined by the types of supports they intend to provide to participants and their corresponding support categories.

Registration Group Number 

Registration Group Name

Corresponding Support Category (participant funding category)

Types of supports that can be delivered under each Registration Group

 0116

Innovative Community Participation

Increased Social and Community Participation

AES delivering services to the community and include access to NDIS participants to support integration into mainstream services

 0117

Development of Daily Living and Life Skills

Increased Social and Community Participation

AES support participants to develop active transport skills, e.g. walking to shops or riding a bike, or social and recreation skills, e.g. sport or recreational activity coaching

 0118

Early Intervention Supports for Early Childhood

Improved Daily Living Skills

AES delivering supports as an allied heath assistant to children in the ECEI program

 0125

Participation in Community, Social and Civic Activities

Assistance with Social, Economic and Community Participation

AES engaging or coaching participants to participate in recreational or sporting activities

 0126

Exercise Physiology & Personal Well-being Activities

Improved Health and Wellbeing

AES delivering supports as a personal trainer

 0128

Therapeutic supports

Improved Daily Living Skills

AES delivering supports as an allied heath assistant to NDIS participants

 0136

Group- and Centre-based activities

Assistance with Social, Economic and Community Participation

AES facilitating group exercise activities to foster social inclusion

*This is not intended to be an exhaustive list; there may be other categories which an AES may utilise.


How do I charge for services delivered under the NDIS?

The NDIS price guide contains information on how to create and use support item codes for charging your services to the NDIA, plan managers and participants.

The support catalogue indicated the maximum prices that can be charged for each NDIS support.

Both documents can be downloaded from the NDIS webpage, here.

For agency managed participants, you will need to charge the NDIA for services you deliver to a participant. You need to comply with the price guide instructions and the support catalogue price caps.

For plan managed participants, you will need to send all invoices to the participant’s plan manager. You need to comply with the price guide instructions and the support catalogue price caps.

For self-managed participants, you will need to charge the participant directly for services you deliver to them. You do not need to comply with the price guide instructions or the support catalogue price caps.


Working for an NDIS provider

When working in the NDIS, you can either work as an NDIS provider or as an employee for another person/business who is an NDIS provider. This information is for AES who wishes to work as an NDIS worker under another business that is an NDIS provider. The business that employs an AES may also find this information useful.

NDIS Worker Screening Requirement

If you are working for a registered NDIS provider, you will be required to undergo an NDIS worker screening check. If required, your employer will organise a worker screening check for you.

If your employer is an unregistered NDIS provider, they are not required to organise a worker screening check for you, but they may choose to.


Allied Health Assistants (AHA)

Within the NDIS, allied health assistant roles are also labelled therapy assistants in the NDIS price guide and support catalogue. Both documents can be downloaded from the NDIS webpage, here.


Telehealth

Allied health assistants are usually engaged in telehealth to support people living in rural and remote locations to access allied health professionals who would be located in a metropolitan or large regional centre. The allied health professional may use telehealth to supervise an allied health assistant who is locally based to the health consumer and can provide face-to-face assistance.

Some compensable schemes such as the NIDS considered telehealth as a business modality that can be used where appropriate and with the agreement from the participant. With the agreement of the participant and appropriate supervision of the treating allied health professional, an allied health assistant would be able to provide NDIS supports via telehealth.


Supervision

There are two support levels of allied health assistant supports.

Level 1 allied health assistant can only deliver support under the direct supervision of an allied health professional.

Level 2 allied health assistants can deliver supports under indirect supervision but may require specific training in the needs of the participant from the therapist before they take responsibility for the delivery of the therapy. Allied health professionals must be satisfied that the allied health assistant is able to always work independently without direct supervision for the allied health assistant to be considered level 2.

The allied health assistant must be covered by the professional indemnity insurance of the supervising therapist (or the therapists’ employing the provider).


Clinical Supervision Guidelines

  1. AHA positions are to be clinically supervised by an allied health professional.
  2. AHA positions will have a designated clinical supervisor.
  3. Formal supervision sessions will be documented in accordance with local requirements.
  4. Clinical supervision may be direct, indirect and/or remote.

GST notes for AHAs

If an allied health assistant role is provided to a health service currently exempt from GST, then the allied health assistant claim is also GST free. Where a health service is provided by an allied health assistant on behalf of a health profession which is not yet recognised by the ATO, such as exercise physiology, the billing for that service is not GST free.


Other Useful Resources

For more information on the NDIS: www.ndis.gov.au/understanding
Understanding the price guide and funding supports: www.ndis.gov.au/providers/price-guides-and-pricing#priceguides
How to register as an NDIS Provider: www.ndiscommission.gov.au/providers/new-providers

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Last updated March 2022