NDIS Driving Lesson

Learning to drive: what the NDIS covers

NDIS Driving Lesson

Dreaming of learning to drive? Or have a participant who’d like to make that next step? Learning to drive is a common NDIS goal. And it’s no wonder when being able to drive can offer significant independence. 

Driving can allow you to engage in meaningful work, make shopping for goods much simpler, and ensure visiting family and friends is easier. 

Fortunately, the NDIS can fund expenses related to learning to drive in some circumstances. Here’s what you need to know. 

What the NDIS covers

Like all NDIS supports, learning to drive must be “reasonable and necessary”. To ensure the supports pass the test, you must meet a few criteria including: 

  • Proof of support required

    A participant must prove that additional support for learning to drive is required and specifically related to disability needs.

  • A goal in the NDIS plan

    There must be a goal of learning to drive in your NDIS plan. It’s also worth considering though, that learning to drive could be associated with another goal –– like gaining employment or participating in the community.

Learning to drive supports are found under the Increases Social and Community Participation section in your NDIS plan. There will also need to be funding in the Capacity Building for the Occupational Therapy part of the plan to allow of the associated costs with getting on the road. 

Getting on the road

Getting out there and learning to drive isn’t as simple as getting an instructor and heading out onto the roads. First, there are a few steps that must be followed. 

    • Get a learner’s permit
      Before learning to drive, it’s essential that you first get your learner’s permit. A learner’s permit is given via a written test –– if you require support to study for and take the test, then this may also be covered within the NDIS plan. The age laws for gaining a learner’s licence differ depending on the state, though the typical age is 16 years old.

 

    • Medical fitness tests
      Medical tests may be required for people who experience disability. These include vision, hearing, and cognitive tests. These will all need to be met to be eligible for learning to drive. Importantly, there are Australian-wide standards about medical fitness to drive which you can find here. There are also some state-by-state requirements, like Victoria’s here, so ensure you check your local state’s rules.

 

    • Occupational therapy assessments
      NDIS participants will also be assessed by an Occupational Therapist to ensure fitness to drive and whether passing a driving test is a realistic goal. This will include requesting a medical report from the doctor to state that you are legally fit to drive. You can find a list of Victorian-based occupational therapists who complete these assessments here.

 

    • Off-road assessment
      The occupational therapist will then perform an off-road assessment. This will include a review of your medical history, decision-making skills, and knowledge of the road rules. Once that’s satisfied, the occupational therapist will report to the NDIA based on your situation and recommend a particular number of lessons. They’ll also work with a driving instructor to give a quote.
      Before on-road lessons begin, the NDIA must approve (or not approve) the funding for lessons. If approved, a new plan will be issued to you that includes funding for driving lessons.

 

    • On-road assessment
      The Occupational Therapist will then observe during any driving assessments and will work with the driving instructor and participant together to explore ways to improve any driving skills that are limited due to a disability. All driving tests are then conducted by the relevant state licensing authority.

While it may seem like many steps, learning to drive could soon be your reality with the NDIS driving lesson.

We’re here to help 

Have any questions about whether learning to drive is funded within your, or your participant’s plan? We’re here to support you and offer advice and feedback.

Get in touch on 1300 60 33 89 or at info@myautonomy.com.au