In 2006, Jeanette attempted suicide. Her accident lead to an acquired brain injury.
Her NDIS Support Worker team is extremely important.
Before Jeanette joined Kynd, she struggled to find the right support. Joshna, is one of the NDIS Support Workers Jeanette met through Kynd. Their relationship has grown into a beautiful friendship.
“The best thing about working with Jeanette is that we have many laughs, and she’s really motivational in terms of her active lifestyle.”
Jeanette is an adrenaline junkee, and has never let her disability stop her from doing anything she loves.
With the right mindset and support you can achieve anything.
Why I Love Being A Support Worker: Cheryl
Cheryl shares one of her favourite memories of being an NDIS Support Worker.
“The smile on his face, and more importantly the smile on his parents face of how far he’s come in the last few years is very rewarding.”
How To Manage Your Tax As An Independent Support Worker
As an independent Support Worker you need to manage our own tax and it's actually really simple. Sure, it's not one of the most exciting ways to spend your spare time, but it's important to keep on top of it. You'll quickly become a guru!
With a few simple steps and this helpful tax guide for Support Workers...
You'll quickly be able to set up solid tax management foundations, set up and manage your superannuation choices, and even understand what support worker tax deductions you can claim to help lower your "assessable income".
Important - this is general advice only. Always research your own situation.
FAQs Self-Employed Support Worker Tax
Do I still have to pay taxes?
Do I have to pay into my Super?
That's a personal choice. You don't legally have to. Many Support Workers do. If you contribute to Super… you may also get Government Co-Contributions!
Am I eligible for tax deductions?
Yes! Aussie taxpayers may be able to claim certain tax deductions.
Do I have to be registered for GST and BAS?
Generally no… but if earning over $75k, you need to register your ABN for GST. If registered for GST, you may need to do regular Business Activity Statements, but importantly, NDIS supports and services are generally exempt from GST.
Do I need to submit a tax return?
Normally, yes! We'll share some simple and faster ways to help you.
The first thing you need to remember with taxes for independent Support Workers is that you're a Sole Trader. This means that you work for yourself.
To set up taxes for Support Workers, here's a few suggested steps.
1. Apply for your ABN
You can apply for an ABN directly on the Australian Business Register.
When creating your profile on Kynd, we'll ask for your ABN also.
2. Consider setting up 2 bank accounts
Why you ask? Tax management for Support Workers can be really simple!
Like any small business, you ideally want to separate your personal life and 'business' expenses. You don't want to see all transactions mixed in together. If you do mix transactions, you're creating extra work for yourself at tax time!
We recommend that Support Workers set up a simple account structure…
1 x Trade Account for revenue (money in) and any work expenses (money out)
This helps you easily understand your earnings and find potential deductions
At set times, you can transfer funds to your personal accounts for living costs
1 x Taxes Account, to allocate and save a portion of your earnings for taxes
This helps you build up a reserve to pay your annual taxes - if you owe a bill.
3. Estimate your "Tax Savings Percentage"
If you're starting out as a Support Worker, it might be tricky to predict your earnings. If you've been doing it a while, you might know what your estimated annual earnings are. Worst case - make your best guesstimate of earnings.
Your Tax Savings Percentage is the percentage of your earnings or income to set aside for taxes - and that's a great habit to help avoid tax time bill shock.
A helpful website to estimate your "Tax Savings Percentage" is Pay Calculator.
You can enter an estimated annual earnings (or income) amount and choose lots of options (ie. HECS, kids, etc) as relevant for your personal circumstances.
Let's share a quick example...
I enter $50,000 for my annual earnings (after deductions)
It tells me I will need to pay $6,387 in taxes
This means my Tax Savings Percentage is roughly 12.8%
Each month, I plan to send 13% from my Trade Account to my Taxes Account
That's just a hypothetical scenario of tax planning for Support Workers.
4. Make a Choice about Superannuation
Good news - with superannuation for self-employed Disability Support Workers, you have a choice about whether or not to contribute to Super. You're not legally required to contribute. If you do, you can decide how much!
Some independent Support Workers prefer not to contribute, as they need or want to use their money now. Maybe you're saving for a house deposit or just needing every dollar right away. Others prefer to always contribute to Super.
Important - like any investment, there's no guarantee of positive returns!
Wondering how to choose a superfund for Support Workers? Here's help >
You now have decisions to make...
Do I want to contribute to my super?
If Yes, how much do want to contribute?
If Yes, when do I want to contribute?
Remember, for normal PAYG employees, the minimum super for Support Workers payable by employers is 10% of an employee’s overall earnings. That "minimum super guarantee" will also be increasing over the next few years.
Your retirement is also important, so plan the right strategy for your life.
These Super Co-Contributions are designed to boost retirement savings.
The Australian Government might 'match' the personal super contributions you make. Certain limits exist of course, but it's a way to boost your super.
When to Transfer Contributions to Your Super
If contributing to super, the goal is to watch your investments increase!
So if you wait until the end of the year, you may miss out on some growth.
For example, let's say your chosen super fund achieves a 15% investment return this year (woohoo!). If you wait until almost 25 June to contribute (before the financial year ends), you've already missed 360 days of potential super growth. However, if you choose to contribute quarterly, you'll catch a lot more upside.
It can be better to make regular contributions. Do what's right for you.
5. Get Support Worker Tax Deductions
It's time to plan and track your Support Worker Tax Deductions.
Many Support Workers miss out because they don’t understand what tax deductions they are entitled to claim. If you’re new to this, it’s actually easy!
You weren’t reimbursed for the deduction you’d like to claim.
You must have a record of any expenses you want to claim. E.g. receipts or invoices. The ATO’s myDeductions app is a free and easy way to keep track of all your potential Support Worker tax deduction expense records.
You can only claim the work-related part of your expense. You can’t claim a deduction for an expense that is a personal-related activity.
It's always best to chat with an Accountant and get professional advice.
Learn what Support Worker tax deductions you might be eligible for.
1. Self-Education for Support Workers
If you do any training or courses that are directly related to your work as a disability Support Worker you can claim the costs of the training or course.
These might include:
Travel to and from the course
Internet connection and telephone calls
Tools and equipment
Any accommodation that you have to pay to attend a course. For example, if you live in a regional area and had to travel to a major city to complete the course or training, you can claim these travel and accommodation expenses.
Courses and training examples include CPR and First-Aid, OH&S, Certificate III in Individual Support, Certificate IV in Disability Support, Understanding Mental Health and Working with Physical Disabilities.
2. Car Expenses for Support Workers
Disability Support Workers can claim tax deductions on your car for travel between one place of work to another. For example, if you drive from one client’s house to another, you might claim this fuel and mileage expense.
You can’t claim your drive from home to work, however, you can normally claim the time you’ve helped transport your client to an appointment or activity. You can normally claim both mileage and additional fees such as parking and tolls.
To claim your car expenses, you can either use the logbook method or the ‘cents-per-kilometre’ method.
Expenses include running costs and decline in value but not capital costs e.g. the cost of buying your car and any improvements costs.
Your logbook must cover a minimum of 12 consecutive weeks.
If you use 2 or more cars, you must have a separate log book for each car.
You must keep the actual receipts of fuel or oil costs and record a mileage estimate based on the odometer records that show before and after you used your car for each claimed session.
Cents per kilometre method
You can claim a maximum of 5000 kms per car per year.
To calculate your tax reduction, multiply the number of kilometres your car has travelled in the taxable income year by the appropriate rate per kilometer for that same taxable income year.
The current ATO rate for 2020 - 2021 income year is 72 cents per kilometer.
Use the ATO app to easily track your work trips.
You’re not able to add other expenses such as registration fees, maintenance, repairs and fuel costs on top of this claim.
It’s completely up to you how you’d like to record your car expenses.
3. Other Travel Expenses for Support Workers
In addition to car expenses, as a Disability Support Workers you can claim a tax deduction for public transport expenses if they’re related to travelling with a client to an appointment or activity, or between 2 clients homes.
If you go away with your NDIS Participant client for a work-related or holiday trip and have additional expenses which relate to accommodation, food and transport, that were not refunded by the client, you can likely deduct these.
4. Consumables for Support Workers
As long as you are not reimbursed by a client, you can claim stationary, materials and personal protective equipment (PPE) that relate to activities with clients.
Face masks and hand sanitiser
Learning equipment such as sensory toys.
5. Laptop, Phone and Internet Costs for Support Workers
Personal Support Workers can claim tax deductions for the cost of purchasing and using a laptop or mobile phone to communicate with clients. If you claim more than $50, you need to keep records to show your business use portion.
With tax deductions for independent Support Workers, as you're running your own small business, you may also have other technology or device deductions.
6. Other Support Worker Tax Deductions to consider:
The cost of work-related to books, magazines and journals.
The cost of a fob watch - you can’t claim a conventional watch.
The cost of National Police Check, NDIS Worker Screening Check and Working with Children Checks (any other checks you might need)
Any donations you contribute to registered charities.
Any premiums for income protection insurance (unless paid via Super)
The services and expenses of a tax agent or accountant.
You're on your way to maximising your eligible tax deductions as an NDIS Support Worker. That helps lower your taxable income, so you save more.
Make a list of the tax deductions that might apply for your situation.
6. Your Support Worker Tax Return
As an independent Support Worker, you're not automatically getting tax withheld on your income and the revenue for your NDIS support services.
To ensure you don’t get surprised with a large tax bill at the end of the financial year, it’s important to put away your Tax Savings Percentage (see tips above).
Tip - Know and save your tax savings percentage in a separate account.
You don't want to accidentally dig into these funds and be left without money to pay any tax bills. If you put away more than required, it's a savings bonus!
Your overall position for the tax year is calculated by looking at your gross income minus any deductible expenses incurred as part of the business.
Complete and submit your annual tax return to determine your income tax liability and bill for the financial year (1 July to 30 June each year). The deadline for submitting your tax return is 'normally' the 31st of October each year.
Your business position is income to you as a sole trader business. It’s included as part of your taxable income when you lodge an annual personal tax return.
Important: The info above is general insight only. It's not personalised or professional advice. Everyone has unique circumstances. Always do your research. Speak with an Accountant and you can visit the ATO website and other websites. Getting the right advice early means less time on admin!
Support Worker Tax Checklist
Here's a summary of tax tips for independent Support Workers:
☐ Always research and consider your own situation ☐ Get your ABN set up for free on the Government's website ☐ Consider setting up 2 bank accounts (inc. 1 for tax savings) ☐ Estimate your tax savings percentage to set aside ☐ Make a choice about superannuation and what you prefer ☐ Get to know and track your Support Worker tax deductions ☐ Like everyone, submit your annual tax return on time
Managing taxes for Support Workers is actually quite easy. This might seem a little confusing at first, but once you're into it, you'll see just how easy it can be!
Feel free to share this guide with your Support Workers and friends!
Support Worker Interview Questions – Your Guide to Find the Right People
Support Worker interview questions can help you find the right people.
Getting the right NDIS Support Workers or team of Support Workers can have a big impact on your quality of life. It’s important to take the time to carefully interview Support Workers. You want to ask questions and get to know people.
It's about the right fit for you or your family and those NDIS goals!
Support Worker Interview Questions
The more you plan your support, the simpler things become!
It's likely you'll need to interview Support Workers from time to time. You might need a mix of great questions - focused on personality, behavioural styles, experience, and even hypotheticals. Start creating your toolkit!
By learning about common interview questions for Support Workers, you can refine your approach over time. Learn what works best and what doesn't.
You want to ensure interviewing Disability Support Workers is time well spent!
Sure, you pay them to help with your needs, but you’re likely going to be spending a lot of time together. It's essential you choose Support Workers you get along with and trust. Yep, Support Worker interview questions matter.
Tip - before inviting and scheduling Meet & Greets, plan the right Support Worker interview questions. It kinda helps keep the 'horse before the cart'.
Here are a few things you'll likely need to consider.
What NDIS Support Do I Need?
The more you plan your support, the simpler things become.
By working out the list of NDIS support services you need, you'll be able to decide which Support Worker interview questions are the most relevant.
You can interview Support Workers for all types of services.
These include things like:
Assistance with personal care such as showering and dressing
Help with cleaning your home, gardening, cooking and doing life admin
Guidance with your health and wellness goals
Social support attending personal, work or community events
Help for speech, occupational, physiotherapy or other programs.
Mentoring and help to learn new skills.
Help to get to and from work or appointments, and taking public transport.
Tip - Write a simple list of the NDIS support services you need.
What NDIS Funding Do I Have?
If your NDIS plan doesn't include funding for Item X,Y,Z…
… there's no point in interviewing Support Workers for services X,Y,Z.
Before planning your Support Worker interview questions and reaching out to people, it’s important to double-check your NDIS plan - all the ins and outs!
Be sure you have a clear understanding of the services your funding covers.
Why plan a job interview for an Astronaut if you need or Dolphin Trainer?
It's the same for interviewing Support Workers. Everyone's needs are unique, so create your own Support Worker interview questions, based on your needs.
You also need to think about your deal-breakers!
Do they need to have a driver’s licence? Is it important they have specialised qualifications? Would you prefer experience with autism? Have they supported someone with a physical disability? Any preferred genders or cultural backgrounds? Do they need to speak French or ASL?
Once you know what you want, you can narrow down your shortlist.
That's where Kynd's website or app can help, with filters and search keywords.
Tip - Write a list of your needs and preferences for your Support Workers.
When Do I Need Support Workers?
Next, plan out your schedule and yes, your schedule should be your choice!
If you find the right Support Workers, it's great to mutually agree schedules.
How many hours per week?
What days do you need help?
Do you want to set up ongoing bookings?
Are you flexible with days and times?
Think about what's right for you (and others).
Knowing this will help to tailor your Support Worker interview questions.
Naturally, some NDIS Participants need daily support, and that's critical. Other Participants might want ad-hoc help and have extra flexibility with their plans.
Tip - Give Support Workers a clear idea of your ideal schedule and flexibility.
Prepare for Meet & Greets!
You've done the planning, so now you can invite people for Meet & Greets.
Welcome to our list of Support Worker Interview Questions.
It's a guide and knowing your needs and preferences, you can create your own!
Tip - Create your Interview Questions list and keep it for the future.
Support Worker Interview Questions
Everyone is unique! See what interview questions for Support Workers suit you.
Tell me a bit about yourself?
Why did you become a Support Worker?
How would your friends describe your personality?
What do you like to do in your free time? What are your hobbies/interests?
What made you choose to have a Meet & Greet with me?
What's your current understanding of my support needs?
How might you assist me with my personal NDIS goals?
Do you have any specific experience with X-Y-Z? Or the specific skill A-B-C?
What challenges do you anticipate (if any) in supporting me?
What does a great Participant / Support Worker relationship mean to you?
How do you help them maintain their dignity, respect, or independence?
Are there any services or tasks you would feel uncomfortable doing?
How would you approach an emergency situation?
What days and times are you free? Do you have flexibility in your schedule?
Would you be available for these specific days and times?
After Support Worker Interviews
Lots of people like to set up a trial booking or two… to ensure a great mutual fit.
Once you’ve both agreed you’re happy to continue, it’s best to add in repeating bookings, which helps ensure your Support Team are available when you need.
It’s a good idea to have a shortlist of 2-3 Support Workers.
With a team, you're likely covered if one of your support workers is away.
Finding the right support starts with open, full, and honest conversations.
And now, you've got choice and you're in the drivers seat!
We recommend taking the time to get to know people and asking questions.
'Reasonable & Necessary' - How To Spend NDIS Funding
Managing your NDIS Plan and how to spend NDIS funding can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re a new NDIS Participant or family.
It's time to learn about 'reasonable and necessary'.
Understanding exactly what the NDIS can pay for and how to best spend your NDIS funding can be confusing. With your NDIS funds, it’s important to understand time isn’t money - money is time. The more money you save, the more ‘time’ and support you’ll get. So ask yourself, how can I use my NDIS funding?
What Can The NDIS Pay For?
When you're looking at how to spend NDIS funding and more importantly, how to effectively spend it, you need to understand the funding categories. There are 3 types of support budgets that may be funded in your NDIS Plan: Core, Capacity and Capital. To give you an overview, we’ve summarised some of the key areas in each category that can be funded and some commonly queried items that are typically not funded by the NDIS.
Core Supports Budget
This funding is for everyday activities to help you live and work towards your goals.
The NDIS may fund:
Personal and home assistance e.g. help with showering, dressing, cleaning, cooking and garden maintenance.
Assistance with social and community participation e.g. A Support Worker may help you attend a group gym or art class once a week.
Transport to and from work, to appointments or NDIS supported activities.
Everyday consumables such as continence or eating aids e.g. adapted cups, cutlery and some basic cooking utensils.
The NDIS will not cover:
Rent or mortgage repayments
Electricity, water, phone or internet bills
Medicine or vitamin supplements
Food and groceries including household cleaning supplies
Holiday travel and accommodation - the NDIS may fund Support Workers to help you during your holiday if ‘reasonable and necessary.’
Capability Supports Budget
This funding is for activities that will help build your independence and support you to learn new skills to achieve your goals.
The NDIS may fund:
Activities that help you learn new skills e.g. improved relationships, finding employment.
Activities that relate to improving your health and wellbeing e.g. Meeting a dietician and/or personal trainer.
Improved learning activities e.g. training and advice to help you transition from school to further education.
The NDIS will not cover:
Entry to art galleries, the cinema or sports events.
Course fees, text books or membership fees (including the gym).
Capital Supports Budget
The NDIS is very specific about what funding can be allocated for specific items within the Capital Support budget.
The NDIS may fund:
Assisted technology that allows you to do something you typically wouldn’t be able to do e.g. walkers, walking sticks, wheelchairs, hoists, speech generating devices.
Home modifications to help you move around safely e.g. handrails in the bathroom, ramps.
The NDIS will not cover:
General household furniture and appliances.
Non-disability related apps and technology.
If you’re ever unsure how you can spend your NDIS funding, ask yourself ‘would someone without my disability normally be asked to pay for this?’ If your answer is yes, it’s likely the NDIS Plan will not cover this cost.
For more personalised and specific advice, be sure to call the NDIA or ask your Support Coordinator or Plan Manager about any specific expenses.
How To Manage Your NDIS Funding
There are 3 options to manage your NDIS funding. When first joining the NDIS or going through a renewal of your NDIS, you’re normally able to request the type of funding that best suits your needs. Each option has some important differences.
Here’s how it works:
You control your funds, directly pay for things, and are then reimbursed.
NDIS Participants in rural areas have more options available.
No need to keep invoices and receipts. Your plan manager does that for you.
With Plan Managed NDIS Funding, it’s important to remember:
If you choose a Support Worker who charges above the NDIS Price Guide, you’ll need to pay the difference. It’s best to keep it simple and not go over the Price Guide maximums.
If you prefer a plan managed option, take the time to do your research, ask for recommendations and look at 2-3 Plan Managers before making a decision who to go with. Some Plan Managers are only available online, others are local services.
Here’s how it works:
You can only access “Registered Providers”, who send invoices to the NDIA.
The NDIA pays invoices on your behalf.
The NDIA will manage all your book-keeping and records of spending.
You can easily keep track of your funding and NDIS budgeting by looking at the myplace portal.
It’s important to remember:
As you can only access 'Registered Providers', this often means you'll pay the maximum hourly rates.
If you live in a regional area, you might be very limited for NDIS services.
What Does Kynd Recommend?
We highly recommend going for ‘Plan Managed’ funding. This means you can choose any Support Worker, mostly avoid paying the maximum NDIS hourly rates and fees, and avoid the ongoing hassle of doing your own admin, claims and paying invoices. On Kynd, you approve invoices and we email them to Plan Managers.
Self Managed funding is another great option for flexibility and savings.
You want to ensure you always have the support you need. This means ensuring you do not run out of available funds for those support needs!
That means a budget. It's not fun or sexy, but golly gosh, it's helpful.
When looking at how to spend NDIS funding, budgeting is critical.
NDIS budgeting can get complex very quickly and spreadsheets aren't everyone's cup of tea… but even some basic calculations will help.
Here's a simple example…
Jane Smith // Support Worker Budget
Support Needs: 10 hours per week = 520 hours per year
Available Funds: For Support Workers = $25,000 per year
Current Budget: Maximum cost per week = $480
Current Budget: Maximum rate per hour = $48
To ensure 10 hours a week of Support, Jane can only spend $480 per week and has to find Support Workers for a maximum $48 per hour. Knowing this helps Jane consider her options to stretch her funding.
If you aren't happy with the inclusions or funding offered in your plan, you can contact the NDIA for details about submitting a plan review and the process.
Know The Fees You’re Charged
Many organisations charge high rates and lots of fees. For things like…
Normal support rates
Night / overnight rates
Saturday / Sunday rates
Public holiday rates
Transport / travel rates
Before you sign any service agreements or setup NDIS support, ask for an itemised list of the NDIS Support Worker rates and fees a provider will or may charge you.
You can then compare, negotiate rates and fees… or look elsewhere!
You wouldn't pay $12 for a coffee. Why overpay for support services?
If you pay the maximum hourly rates and lots of fees, you might lose a lot of value - but value is different for different people. Some registered providers are very traditional and often, they will charge every possible fee. That's why knowing your fees is important.
For the best value for money use a solution like Kynd and directly choose Support Workers. Why? You can avoid setup and admin fees, agree better and 'all-inclusive' rates and only pay for the support hours you need, versus booking minimum times.
Agree Rates For Specific People
Support Workers are unique. Each one brings a different personality, skillset, qualifications and interests. You'll likely have different feelings of 'chemistry' with different people and the value people offer to you.
That's why we believe in agreeing rates for specific people.
Based on what's valuable for your needs, you might be happy to pay $48 for Sally, but only $40 for Frank. You shouldn't be locked into one rate for every Support Worker if the 'value' you receive always differs.
To help ensure your Support Workers are happy, it's helpful to ask and know exactly what they are hoping to be paid. When Support Workers are happy with their wages, you'll likely get more loyalty and reliability in your relationships.
Only Pay For What You Want
Sadly there are stories across the communities where Providers have 'pushed' people to accept a 'suite of support' or agree to things they don't want.
You only need 'Service 1'… but a provider says they will only offer you Service 1, if you agree to accept 'Service 2' and 'Service 3' using them.
You only want support for certain days and times, but a provider says you have to commit to minimum hours or specific days or times only.
A Support Coordinator works for an organisation that also provides Support Workers and they only (or often) recommend their service.
That's not cool. It means less choice and control (and less value for money).
Naturally, you'll want to spend those available funds in ways that maximise support outcomes and achieve the goals of your NDIS Plan. Whether it's daily personal care or more structured longer-term capacity-building initiatives, getting 'bang for buck' matters.
Take the time to do your research for your specific NDIS Plan.
Learn how you can use your NDIS funding. By understanding how to effectively spend your NDIS funding you’ll save money, and have genuine choice and control by only choosing and paying for the support you need, when you want it, and through people or providers that are right for you.