Invoicing - What, When and How
OnTime Plan Services has been chosen by your client as their NDIS Plan Manager. This means we are responsible for processing your invoices and making payments from your client’s NDIS plan. We’ve put together the following information to answer the most frequent questions we receive from self-employed business owners like yourself. It is mainly aimed at Disability Support Workers, but parts of it will also apply to other service providers. We hope it helps!
When will I get paid?
Once we receive your invoice, we enter it into our system, ready for uploading to the NDIS. During this stage, we make sure that your invoice meets NDIS requirements (see below) and doesn’t contain any obvious errors. We aim to do this within two business days.
Your invoice is then sent to your client for approval. If your invoice is received directly from the client, then it is automatically approved, and we don’t need to wait. Otherwise, the client has five calendar days to approve your invoice or tell us if they have any queries about it. If they don’t contact us within these five days, your invoice is then automatically approved.
Once approved, we upload it to the NDIS where it is assessed by them (Monday to Friday), and in most cases they release the funds the following business day.
So, all up, the absolute quickest we can pay your invoice is the business day after we process it. Most invoices we are sent are paid within three business days of receipt. The NDIS stipulates that invoices have to be paid within ten business days.
Why is it taking longer to get my invoice paid?
- Our working hours are Monday to Friday, excluding Bendigo Public Holidays. Mondays are our busiest day as we get a LOT of invoices sent to us from 4pm Friday afternoons, over the weekend, and again on Monday mornings. If your invoice has been sent during these times, it will be sitting in the queue to be processed (in order of when we receive invoices), and may take longer to get to than if you had sent it on a Wednesday for example.
- If your invoice contains errors that we need you to correct, we will contact you (and/or your client) to let you know. We then need to wait for you to amend your invoice and return it to us, before we start processing it again – we cannot make changes on your invoice for you. Any amended invoices end up at the back of the queue again, so this can add an extra business day to processing.
- Sometimes a client may take longer to approve your invoice, or they don’t actually approve it, in which case we have to wait for the five day ‘time out’ period to be over before we request payment from the NDIS.
- Your client may have questions about your invoice and can ask us to put it ‘on hold’. They will then need to sort out any issues with you and tell us that they give permission for it to be paid, before we can pay you. We are not able to pay an invoice if the client has advised us not to.
- The NDIS may reject payment. This can happen because there are insufficient funds in the client’s plan, because a service was claimed that wasn’t authorised by them, or because of administrative errors. If this happens, we have to troubleshoot what went wrong, correct it, and then resubmit it for payment. This process will delay the payment for another business day or possibly longer, depending on what the issue was.
What should I do if I didn’t get my payment when I expected it?
- Check that you sent your invoice to the correct email address. If you sent it directly to us, it should be accounts @ ontimeplanservices.com.au. If you sent it to your client, check their email address with them, and that they have sent it on to us.
- Check your emails, including your Spam / Junk folder, to make sure you didn’t miss an email from us (sent from the above address), asking you to correct your invoice.
- Check how long it’s been since we’ve had your invoice before you contact us. Allow two business days for processing, possibly another five calendar days for approval, and then two business days after that for payment. The NDIS won’t process invoices on public holidays or weekends, which can add to the time. This means it could take up to 10 business days all up.
- Some banking institutions will release funds into your account as soon as we’ve done a transfer, others may process the payment overnight. Weekends or public holidays can delay this further. We send a remittance advice email once we have paid you, so if you’ve received this but haven’t got the funds in your account, then it will be up to your bank as to when they release it.
- If you’ve followed the above and still haven’t been paid, then contact us on the above email address and we can check to see where your payment is at. Please bear in mind that as a self-employed worker, you aren’t getting a ‘pay cheque’ but rather payment on an invoice for services rendered, so there is no regular ‘payday’ as such.
Commonly Used Support Item Codes
Services provided by a support worker at home:
01_011_0107_1_1 Assistance With Self-Care Activities – Standard – Weekday Daytime
01_013_0107_1_1 Assistance With Self-Care Activities – Standard – Saturday
01_014_0107_1_1 Assistance With Self-Care Activities – Standard – Sunday
Services provided by a support worker out in the community:
04_104_0125_6_1 Access Community Social and Rec Activ – Standard – Weekday Daytime
04_105_0125_6_1 Access Community Social and Rec Activ – Standard – Saturday
04_106_0125_6_1 Access Community Social and Rec Activ – Standard – Sunday
04_590_0125_6_1 Activity Based Transport
NDIS Invoicing Requirements
The NDIS requires certain information to be included on an invoice that is requesting payment from a participant’s NDIS plan. If you don’t include this information, we may need to return your invoice to you for amendment.
- Date the invoice was issued
- Unique invoice number
- Business details – name of business, contact details and the ABN at a minimum
- Full name and/or NDIS number of the client
- Dates the services were provided to the client
- The rate you are charging per hour, the amount of hours you are claiming, and the total amount of the invoice.
- If you are registered to charge GST, you do not have to charge it if relevant criteria have been fulfilled. If you are charging GST, you need to clearly state this on your invoice. See the ATO website for further information on charging GST to NDIS participants: https://www.ato.gov.au/businesses-and-organisations/gst-excise-and-indirect-taxes/gst/in-detail/your-industry/gst-and-health/national-disability-insurance-scheme
- Description and/or support item codes of the services that were provided. For example, “Access community”, “Assistance with self-care activities”, “House cleaning” or “Kms”. It’s quicker for us to process your invoice if you have relevant support item codes on it already. Sometimes, a client may ask you to use a different code, depending on which area of funding they are wanting to use.
- If a client has cancelled your agreed service at short notice, and you are claiming for the cancellation, this needs to be clearly stated on the invoice. Any services other than regular ‘face to face’ supports have to be itemised to the NDIS, so we need this information on the invoice.
- Your bank details on the invoice so we can pay you. Please check these carefully, as any payments made to an incorrect account, will incur bank fees to retrieve. These fees will need to be deducted from your payment (assuming it can be retrieved by the bank).
- If you provide us with an email address (either on the invoice or by emailing us your invoice), we can then send you a remittance advice which will let you know when your invoice has been paid.
General Invoicing Tips
- The NDIS (and clients) need to know which days you are invoicing services for. If you give us a date range with a bulk lot of hours, we will most likely ask you to amend your invoice to show exactly which days you provided services on, and how many hours on each day. In some instances, the NDIS needs to see the actual shift times, but if this is required, we will let you know.
- The NDIS has different rates for services provided on weekdays, weekends and public holidays. There are also different rates for different times of day, or overnight shifts. Then there are rates depending on the complexity of the support provided. We cannot pay more than the maximum rates set by the NDIS. You can find information on this on their website here: https://www.ndis.gov.au/providers/pricing-arrangements.
- Public holiday rates are only paid for gazetted public holidays in the area where your client is located in. You can check those here: https://www.fairwork.gov.au/employment-conditions/public-holidays and make sure to follow the links to check for regional differences. For example, the Melbourne Cup holiday applies statewide, unless there is a regional exception. Bendigo (amongst others) has its own Cup Day holiday instead of Melbourne Cup, so Public Holiday rates for Bendigo clients can not be claimed on the Melbourne Cup day, but can be claimed on Bendigo Cup day.
- The NDIS also allow for certain other claims to be made as a part of providing support – such as charging for kilometers driven when providing a client with transport. Once again, this information is on their website.
- If you are claiming a charge for kilometers for providing transport to your client, this can only be charged while providing a service of “community access”. If you list “Assistance with self-care activities” then these are deemed to have been provided at your client’s home, and therefore cannot have kms charged as well. You also need to make sure that the date you are claiming the kilometers on is the same date as the service you provided.
- Regardless of what the NDIS allows you to claim, as you are a self-employed business owner, it is up to you and the client to negotiate an agreed rate of pay, and the number of hours of service. As long as your claim is equal to or below the NDIS maximum recommended rates we can process it, but it is still up to your client to approve it, or we cannot pay it.
- If you are acting as an employee of a business providing services to a client, then you will be paid by that business under the applicable award, for example the SCHADS award for support workers. As a self-employed business owner however, awards do not apply to you. We do not process invoices according to any awards, only under the guidelines and requirements of the NDIS.
If you’re new to being self-employed
Congratulations! It can be a bit overwhelming at times as there are so many things to be aware of. Here’s just a few things you will need to look into:
- Taxation – the ATO has specific ideas as to who is self-employed, and who is deemed to be an employee or a contractor. They don’t always view it the same way you might do, so it’s best to check that you meet their ideas of being self-employed, otherwise both you and your client could end up in trouble with the tax department. More information here: https://www.ato.gov.au/businesses-and-organisations/starting-registering-or-closing-a-business/starting-your-own-business/are-you-in-business. Check out their website for other helpful information on how to deal with your taxes, paying your own superannuation, and other topics relevant to business owners. We recommend that you consult an appropriate accounting professional to avoid having any nasty surprises down the track.
- Insurance – you are responsible for maintaining the appropriate insurances for the services you provide to your clients, but insurance can also be there to protect you, and your income. This is an area that requires specialised advice from a financial professional, but for a quick overview of relevant insurances, have a look at this website: https://mycarespace.com.au/carers.
- The NDIS landscape is constantly changing and often bringing in new requirements and rules, for workers as well as participants. To stay up to date with worker training requirements, make sure to frequently check their website: https://www.ndiscommission.gov.au/workers
- The NDIS Quality & Safeguards commission also maintains a “code of conduct” that all NDIS providers (both registered and unregistered) must abide by. This code of conduct is designed to maintain a minimum level of safe and ethical service delivery for all NDIS participants. More information on the code of conduct can be found here: https://www.ndiscommission.gov.au/about/ndis-code-conduct