1800 954 294
Contact us
Join now

Participant’s guide to cancellations

A calendar and clock.

We all have war stories about those times when ‘budget’ airfares turned out to be $50 more, shipping costs tipped a ‘cheap’ purchase into a ‘spendy’ one, or a public holiday surcharge added five extra bucks to the price of breakfast at the local cafe.

You’ve experienced it yourself, right?

So you know as well as we do that ‘hidden’ costs can quickly add up and burn a hole in your pocket – and they exist in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) too (think: travel fees on top of the hourly rate for a session with your physio).

Over time, these added charges make a big difference to your NDIS plan funding, and none more so than cancellation fees!

At My Plan Manager, we look at thousands of invoices every week and we see how common cancellation fees are. That’s why we wanted to share a few tips to help you keep them to a minimum.

Let’s get started

Before you engage a provider’s services, be sure to check their terms and conditions, especially for information about how they handle cancellations.

According to NDIS Guidelines, providers can charge 100 per cent of the service fee for cancellations if they’re not made at least seven clear days prior to the scheduled start time of the agreed support.

But – and it’s a big but – they can only apply a cancellation fee if they can’t fill your appointment with another client or divert their staff member (like a support worker) to another job.

It may sound simple, but an easy way to avoid paying cancellation fees, is to show up to appointments at the scheduled time, and at the agreed meeting place. Of course, that’s easier said than done when unexpected events occur – like illness – or when your support worker cancels their shift and there’s no one available to take you to your appointment.

Where it gets even trickier is when a provider cancels, which the NDIS Guidelines say they can do at any time, without penalty – even at the last minute. So, if a support worker cancels on the day of their shift and, for example, you can’t attend an appointment with your Occupational Therapist (OT) as a result, you still have to pay the OT.

That’s where service agreements become vitally important. Here’s why.

The NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits document says:

  • cancellations can only be claimed for supports where the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits indicate that cancellations can be claimed, and the terms of cancellation were stated in a signed agreement.
  • if you’ve given more than seven days’ notice to a provider, they can’t charge you a cancellation fee.
  • in the event of a cancellation, if the provider was able to find alternative billable work for the relevant worker, they can’t charge you a cancellation fee. This is a rule that’s more commonly broken and unfortunately it can be difficult to track – so the only way to find out if the staff member was allocated to another billable task is to ask. Of course, it can help to have a good relationship with providers, to have clear and open communication, and to know your rights and assert them.
  • you can’t be charged a cancellation fee for costs the provider didn’t incur, like mileage.
  • all providers must adhere to the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits, whether or not they’re NDIS-registered.

Importantly, if a provider changes the terms of their cancellation fees after you sign a service agreement, they either need to get your approval first, or cancel the service agreement and issue a new one. They can’t charge you extra fees without your approval.

It’s also worth knowing that if a service agreement you’ve consented to doesn’t comply with the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Limits, the agreement is invalid.

Where service agreements do and don’t apply

Here are a couple of examples of where service agreements do and don’t apply:

#1. A service agreement you consented to stipulates the provider can charge a cancellation fee if you provide less than two days’ notice.

The agreement is acceptable because you’ve negotiated cancellation terms that are better than the terms set out in the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits.

#2. A service agreement you consented to stipulates the provider can charge a cancellation fee if you provide less than 10 days’ notice.

The terms of the agreement exceed the NDIA’s maximum notice period of seven days for cancellation. Regardless of what the agreement states, you can’t be charged for a short notice cancellation if you provided seven clear days’ notice.

Cancellation fees are common in the NDIS and knowing your rights and proactively advocating for what you want and need in a provider is vitally important to your NDIS journey. To set expectations, and before consenting to a service agreement, you may want to have a conversation with each provider about their approach to cancellation fees.

To help you to engage the right providers for you, we’ve created this checklist, which outlines what to know and what to ask.

What to do if a provider charges you incorrectly

It’s ok to speak up if you believe a provider has charged you incorrectly. This is your consumer right. You may wish to speak with them first to see if they can put things right or, alternatively, you can ask your support coordinator or local area coordinator to do it for you.

If you think a provider hasn’t charged you correctly, be sure to let us know too, and we can cancel the invoice.

We encourage you to sign up to receive SMS notifications from us. These will alert you to who’s claiming from your plan funding and how much, so you can contact us straight away to query invoices as they’re received. If you don’t currently receive SMS notifications from My Plan Manager, you can switch them on at any time by calling us on 1800 861 272 from 8am-6pm (SA time), Monday to Friday.

If you can’t resolve billing disputes with a provider, you can also contact the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission on 1800 035 544 or visit their website at www.ndiscommission.gov.au.

Featured: My Community

Kinora – a world of possibilities at your fingertips

A free-to-access community that’s close-knit, solutions-focused, and there to lift its members up is great for everyone!

Having difficult conversations with providers

The earlier you can communicate an issue with your provider, the better – and also the earlier they can work to fix it.

Unfair pricing in the NDIS

Are you a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant? Have you ever been given a quote for a disability product or service and wondered if the pricing is higher, simply […]
Featured: My Resources

Unleash your inner traveller

The summer holidays are fast approaching and, whether you’re off to explore your home state, planning a trip to an Australian destination, or travelling further afield, there’s lots to consider and get excited about. After all, the anticipation of a holiday can be almost as exciting as the trip itself! But how can you get creative, so you have the supports you need to assist you on the holiday of your dreams? Read on.

How to spot a scam: tips for NDIS participants

Keeping your NDIS funding secure is important! Here's a guide to common scams designed to steal your personal information.

How to spot a scam

We outline a few common tactics used by scammers targeting NDIS providers.
You may also like...
A person in a wheelchair uses their laptop.

Kinora – a world of possibilities at your fingertips

A free-to-access community that’s close-knit, solutions-focused, and there to lift its members up is great for everyone!
A person in a wheelchair speaking confidently.

Having difficult conversations with providers

The earlier you can communicate an issue with your provider, the better – and also the earlier they can work to fix it.
A stressed person looks at bills in disbelief.

Unfair pricing in the NDIS

Are you a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant? Have you ever been given a quote for a disability product or service and wondered if the pricing is higher, simply […]

Subscribe

Stay up to date with the latest information, updates and NDIS news. Sign up to our e-news today.
For disability sector participants, supporters and advocates.
Subscribe now
For service providers, intermediaries and industry partners.
Subscribe now
NDIS provider number: 405 000 1826

My Plan Manager acknowledges the objectives of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

My Plan Manager acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia, and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures, and to Elders both past and present.
© My Plan Manager 2020
arrow-right linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram