The federal government will provide immediate payments to NDIS providers in Sydney’s pandemic hotspots who need to cover additional costs arising from mandatory covid testing requirements.

Linda Reynolds

Public health orders in Sydney mean that many disability workers are now required to undergo tests in order to move across the city to get to their place of work.

NDIS Minister Linda Reynolds announced the emergency payments on Tuesday saying they are designed to ensure the disability workforce can continue to meet the needs of all participants.

“I’ve heard from the sector that following these requirements can lead to increased costs for providers and in turn could present challenges for some providers to continue to ensure they have appropriate workforce available to support NDIS participants,” Senator Reynolds said.

 “The financial assistance will help providers cover additional costs, such as overtime hours when a worker is forced to undergo a mandatory covid test and they need to call on another worker at late notice.

“This payment will assist NDIS providers to continue to operate as usual, and NDIS participants can feel safe in the knowledge they will continue to have their disability-related supports met.”

 Eligible registered providers delivering Assistance with Daily Life supports in parts of Sydney with specific testing requirements will be able to apply to the NDIA for immediate cash relief.

This payment will be a 10 per cent loading on the highest monthly value of NDIS payments usually received by the provider in May, June or July 2021, a spokeswoman told Community Care Review.

Cash boost for SIL

Meanwhile the NDIA has also increased funding available to NDIS participants in Supported Independent Living (SIL) who need additional support from their provider to isolate in their home due to covid.

SIL providers will now receiver an additional $1200 per day per eligible participant, regardless of whether they are isolating within a group home or individually.

The NDIA previously introduced new temporary support to help participants in supported SIL to access vaccination, with providers able to claim up to $150 per participant to attend an offsite vaccination location.

The $150 can be invoiced to the NDIA and is designed to cover administration costs.

SIL providers can also claim the actual costs of delivering this support from participant plans, such as transport and support workers.

“When the pandemic emerged last year the NDIA put several measures in place to ensure the continuity of supports for participants affected by COVID,” Senator Reynolds said.

“As COVID continues to impact our lives, NDIS participants can feel assured that ( the NDIA) will continue to take whatever action is necessary to ensure they continue to receive their essential, everyday supports.”

Vaccination is not currently mandatory for disability workers but they are strongly encouraged to get a jab.

More information is available here.

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