If you purchase a car that needs modification before you can drive it, will the NDIS help you cover those additional costs? It is likely but not certain it will, as Noha Elhanafy explains.
Story by Noha Elhanafy
AQA staff member Wayne Bradshaw recently bought a used car, after saying goodbye to his beloved 1983 Holden ute.
Given that he's an NDIS participant and lives with a spinal cord injury, how would he go about seeking funding for the modifications he'll need before he can drive it?
You'll find an outline of how the NDIS approaches this question on the NDIS website at its Vehicle Modifications page.
The NDIS says that vehicles less than five years old, and having travelled fewer than 80,000km, are generally considered suitable to modify.
But it adds: “However, older vehicles and those with higher mileage may still be considered where there is evidence that their modification would be cost effective.”
You can see that the NDIS wants your modified car to give long and reliable service. How do you know whether the older car you have your eye on would be acceptable?
It can be tricky to decide whether to purchase the car first and hope for the best, or to seek approval from your NDIS planner before you buy. Especially as it can take months before you get a response.
In my experience, getting an assessment from an NDIS registered occupational therapist who specialises in car mods really helps.
Reports from the OT need to include justification for why the expenditure is reasonable and necessary. If that’s not clear, your application might be delayed or refused.
It also helps to follow up an inquiry regularly with your NDIS planner.
A participant I have assisted applied in advance for vehicle modification, and received approval from his NDIS planner last month. He is now confident about purchasing the car.
Author Noha Elhanafy is an AQA NDIS Support Coordinator.