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Can an NDIS provider charge above the NDIS pricing arrangements and price limits?

Charging above the NDIS pricing arrangements and limits, is it possible?

Written by
Dan McCutcheon

As an NDIS participant or provider, you may have wondered if an NDIS provider can charge more than the NDIS pricing arrangements. We're here to shed some light on this topic.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is designed to provide support to people with disabilities in Australia. It has set pricing arrangements (the way providers can charge) and price limits (the ‘cap’ or the ‘ceiling’ cost of each type of support) to ensure fair and reasonable costs for services. However, there are exceptional circumstances where a provider may charge above these set prices. In this article, we'll explore the situations in which an NDIS provider can charge above the NDIS pricing arrangements and what factors may influence these higher prices. We'll also discuss how you, as an NDIS participant, can navigate these situations and ensure you receive the support you need within your budget. So, if you're curious about the limits and exceptions of NDIS pricing, keep reading to find out more.

Understanding the NDIS pricing arrangements

The NDIS pricing arrangements and price limits (PAPL) are put in place to ensure that NDIS participants have access to affordable and quality services. These arrangements outline the maximum prices that providers can charge for each type of support they provide. The prices are set based on a range of factors, including the costs associated with delivering the service, the qualifications and experience of the provider, and the market rates for similar services. The goal is to strike a balance between ensuring fair payment for providers and maintaining the affordability of services for participants and for the community through taxpayer contributions.

The PAPL provides ‘ceiling limits’ of prices however NDIS providers are free to charge under the capped rate to seek more business and increase demand for their services. It's important to note that the NDIS pricing arrangements are not fixed and can be subject to change. The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), which oversees the NDIS, periodically (typically yearly) reviews and updates the pricing to reflect changes in the market and ensure that providers are adequately compensated for their services. 

In general, NDIS providers are expected to adhere to the pricing arrangements and not charge above the set prices. However, there are certain circumstances where providers may be allowed to charge higher prices.

What is considered reasonable and necessary under the NDIS?

Before diving into the exceptions to the NDIS pricing arrangements, it's essential to understand the concept of "reasonable and necessary" supports. The NDIS funds supports and services that are considered reasonable and necessary to help participants achieve their goals and enhance their independence, social participation, and wellbeing.

Reasonable and necessary supports are those that are:

- Directly related to the participant's disability

- Likely to be effective and beneficial for the participant

- Represent value for money in terms of the benefits achieved

When can a provider charge above the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits?

While the NDIS PAPL provides a framework for fair pricing, there are circumstances where an NDIS provider may charge above these set prices. These situations are generally exceptions rather than the norm. Some of the factors that may influence pricing above the NDIS arrangements include:

1. Complexity of the support required

Some participants may require more complex supports due to the nature of their disability. These supports may require additional expertise, resources, or time on the part of the provider. In such cases, the provider may need to charge higher prices to adequately cover the costs associated with delivering these specialised services.

2. Travel costs

If a participant requires support services in a remote or rural area where there is limited availability of providers, the provider may charge higher prices to account for travel costs. These costs can include transportation, accommodation, and other expenses incurred by the provider to deliver the services in the participant's location. This can be charged via negotiation with the participant.

While these factors may justify charging above the NDIS pricing arrangements, it's important to note that remember that the NDIA will fund a participant’s plan on the basis that the providers will charge in line with the Pricing Arrangements. If a participant chooses to then engage a provider that charges above the NDIS pricing arrangements then that is their personal choice. This can mean that the participant receives less hours of support however the quality of the support may be higher. 

How does NDIS funding management and NDIS provider registration affect this?

The only circumstances in which an NDIS participant can pay an NDIS provider above the NDIS PAPL is if their NDIS plan budget is self-managed. We have previously written about the three different types of management under the NDIS; NDIA, plan and self-managed here

NDIS Registration also affects the way in which NDIS providers can charge. NDIS registered providers must adhere to the NDIS price limits and are not able to charge over the NDIS price limits whereas unregistered providers are not. This is a ‘watch this space’ as the recent independent NDIS review recommended that all NDIS providers become registered or enrolled over the next 5 years. Currently there are approximately 170,000 unregistered providers and around 15,000 registered providers nationally so there is a lot of work to be done to facilitate this and this is only a recommendation at this point. If all providers were registered, it may be that no NDIS providers would be able to charge above capped rates outlined in the NDIS PAPL. 

What to do if you feel you have been charged unfairly

If you believe that you have been charged above the NDIS pricing arrangements without valid justification, there are steps you can take to address the issue. First, it's essential to have open and transparent communication with your provider. Discuss your concerns and ask for an explanation of the pricing. If you are not satisfied with the response or believe that the pricing is unreasonable, you can contact the NDIA to seek assistance and clarification.

The NDIA has mechanisms in place to address complaints and disputes related to pricing. They can provide guidance on whether the pricing is within the acceptable range and take appropriate action if necessary. It's important to keep records of any communication, invoices, or agreements related to the pricing issue to support your case.

The importance of transparency and communication in NDIS pricing

Transparency and communication are vital in ensuring fair and reasonable pricing within the NDIS. As an NDIS participant, it's crucial to have open discussions with your providers about pricing and to understand the factors that may influence higher prices. Providers, on the other hand, should be transparent about their pricing policies and provide clear explanations when charging above the NDIS pricing arrangements. This should be included in the signed service agreement.

Clear communication can help prevent misunderstandings and disputes related to pricing. It allows participants and providers to work together to find mutually agreeable solutions that meet the participant's needs while ensuring fair compensation for the provider.


The NDIS pricing arrangements are designed to ensure that NDIS participants have access to affordable and quality services. While providers are generally expected to adhere to these pricing arrangements, there are exceptions and factors that may influence higher prices. It's essential for participants to understand the reasonableness and necessity of the supports they receive and to have open communication with their providers about pricing.

By being informed and proactive, participants can navigate the complexities of NDIS pricing and ensure that they receive the support they need within their budget. Remember to seek assistance from the NDIA if you have concerns about pricing and to consider factors beyond just pricing when choosing an NDIS provider. With transparency, communication, and effective budget management, you can make the most of your NDIS plan and achieve your goals for a better quality of life.

Charging above the NDIS pricing arrangements and limits, is it possible?
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