One of the most common questions we receive is whether NDIS participants are able to make international purchases of products or services from overseas suppliers using their NDIS funds. It is difficult to answer this question with certainty.
In some instances, items or services may be purchased from overseas. However, it’s important to be really clear on the rules so any purchases meet NDIS requirements.
Whether you’re self, plan or agency managed, the rules differ. This article explores what is permitted under each plan scenario.
What exactly is considered an international purchase?
An international purchase is an item bought from a company operating their business from a country outside of Australia. This can include an item purchased online from a company based overseas or an online store registered in another country or engaging in an online course with a person located outside of Australia.
Purchases related to overseas holidays or supports needed while a person is overseas is different and not discussed in this article.
As per all NDIS funded supports, any international purchases must meet the NDIS criteria around what is reasonable and necessary. For the NDIS to consider the purchase reasonable and necessary, it needs to fit each of the criteria including presenting good value for money.
How can someone who is plan managed claim purchases from overseas?
If the supplier does not have an ABN, purchases from an overseas provider can only be made with NDIS funds if the business or individual completes a Statement by a Supplier Form. The form is provided to the plan manager who must keep a copy on file. It is then valid for five years.
It’s important to reach out to any overseas suppliers and get the form signed prior to making purchases from overseas companies without an ABN. Otherwise, the NDIS will not reimburse the expense.
It’s important that you reach out to the individual or business you plan to purchase from before making any purchases as the Statement by a Supplier form must be completed in advance otherwise the NDIS will not reimburse the expense. In good news, if an individual or business complete a Statement by Supplier, that form is valid for five years.
Remember to share any Statement by Supplier forms with your plan manager before the purchase so the reimbursement can be made, and a copy can be kept on file.
How does it work for people who self manage?
People who self manage can purchase supports directly from a business or organisation, use self-employed contractors or directly employ staff.
If a business or contractor is located overseas and therefore is ineligible for an ABN, the same rules apply as for people who are plan managed.
Purchases can only be made with NDIS funds if the business or individual completes a Statement by a Supplier Form.
What if I am agency managed?
People who are agency managed must use NDIS registered providers. To become a registered provider, an organisation must have an ABN. That means organisations based overseas cannot register, and people who are agency managed cannot purchase supports from overseas companies.
Who is eligible to complete a statement by supplier form?
According to the NDIS, an individual or a business that supplies goods or services can only complete a Statement by Supplier form if one or more of the following applies:
- They are not carrying on an enterprise in Australia
- They are an individual under 18 years and the payment does not exceed $350 per week
- The payment does not exceed $75, excluding any goods and services tax (GST)
- The supply that the payment relates to is only input taxed
- They are an individual, and a written statement is provided to the payer to the effect that the supply is either made in the course or furtherance of an activity done as a private recreational pursuit or hobby, or exclusively of a private or domestic nature
- They are an individual or a partnership without a reasonable expectation of profit or gain
- They are not entitled to an ABN because they are not carrying on an enterprise in Australia
- The whole of the payment is exempt income
As always, if you are unsure about whether the item or service you wish to purchase is eligible, ensure you contact your Acacia Plan Manager before you purchase by calling 1300 MYPLAN or click here.