Fight for NDIS cab funding continues

Amber Wilson
Intellectually-disabled man Liam McGarrigle (C) has been left thousands of dollars out of pocket.

An intellectually disabled and autistic young Victorian man has won the next step in his battle for the National Disability Insurance Scheme to cover his work transport costs.

Liam McGarrigle, 21, lives in the small town of Moriac, 25km from Geelong, where there is no public transport.

His taxis to work and a disability program cost nearly $16,000 a year, which the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has agreed to partly fund.

A fight for full funding has been taken to the Federal Court on Mr McGarrigle's behalf by Victoria Legal Aid.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal initially supported NDIA's position that it would pay 75 per cent of the taxi fares but VLA successfully sought to have the decision revisited.

During the initial March hearing it was made clear that laws governing the NDIS meant the agency must fully fund cases deemed "reasonable and necessary".

It was also decided the case must be sent back to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, meaning Mr McGarrigle would get another chance to get his taxi trips fully funded.

NDIA then lodged an appeal to the full bench of the Federal Court, which was heard in Melbourne on Monday.

The full court rejected NDIA's appeal, with the matter to return to the tribunal in the coming months.

Mr McGarrigle's mother Michelle said the battle had been a "long journey" but an important one.

"I still believe we need to go through this process to get the NDIS functioning for everyone involved, especially the participants," Mrs McGarrigle told AAP.

"It comes down to people in authority making decisions about how someone lives their life and how families and carers get to live their lives as well.

"If he (Liam) is stuck at home, it means I have to give up my job. It affects the community."

Victoria Legal Aid barrister Chris Horan QC said the organisation wanted to avoid a situation where the NDIA might "turn around" and withdraw all funding for transport on the basis it would be necessary to maintain the scheme's sustainability.