For those living with disability, Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) delivers funding for the supports you need. Through this funding, the NDIS aims to support people across the country, allowing you to pursue your goals. The aim of the NDIS is to provide supports that allow people living with disability to complete day-to-day activities, build their capacity and live as independently as possible.
As a relatively new scheme, it can be challenging to figure out whether you’re eligible to receive NDIS funding. We’re going to explore the key eligibility criteria for accessing the NDIS and discuss whether you may qualify for the scheme.
The NDIS Eligibility Checklist
The NDIS has been specifically developed to support people living with a permanent disability that significantly affects your ability to take part in day-to-day activities. You may be eligible for the NDIS if you:
- Are aged between 7 and 65
- Are an Australian citizen, permanent resident or Protected Special Category Visa holder
- Are living in Australia
- Have a “disability caused by a permanent impairment”
- Need specific disability supports to complete daily living activities
If you meet these criteria, you may be eligible to receive NDIS funding. You’ll need to contact the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and make an application to access the NDIS. Applications are made over the phone, and you’ll need to submit a completed Access Request Form.
Early Intervention Eligibility
People living with disability who don’t meet the requirements above can still be eligible for early intervention funding through the NDIS. With an eye to building your capacity and improving your quality of life in the future, the NDIS helps people who are likely to need more support down the line.
To decide whether you’re eligible for early intervention funding, the NDIA will look at:
- How long you’ve had your disability
- How your limitations will change over time
- If there has been a change in your disability in the past
- If your needs are going to change soon, such as if your living arrangements shift
If NDIS supports can reduce the impact your disability has on your life, improve your capacity and bolster your informal supports, you may be eligible to access early intervention funding.
Disability Caused By a Permanent Impairment
One of the key NDIS criteria is that you need to experience a “disability caused by a permanent impairment.” This means you need to live with a disability that causes a permanent reduction or loss in your ability to do daily activities. To qualify, your disability needs to be permanent (or likely to be permanent). The challenges you face can be considered permanent even if the impact is episodic or varies in severity.
NDIS funding is available for permanent disabilities caused by a range of disabilities, including:
- Intellectual – such as how you speak, read and write, problem solve and process information
- Cognitive – such as your ability to think, make decisions and learn new things
- Neurological – such as a reduction in how your body functions
- Sensory – such as your ability to see and hear
- Physical – such as problems with your movement and physical capacity
NDIS funding is also available for those living with a reduced capacity due to mental health conditions.
How is NDIS Eligibility Assessed?
Once you make an application to access funding, the NDIA will assess your circumstances and determine whether you qualify.
Each case is assessed individually based on your needs rather than your diagnosis. NDIA assessors consider the impact your disability has on your life and your ability to participate in everyday activities, not on the disability itself. Likewise, it doesn’t matter what caused your disability. Whether you were born with a limitation or acquired it during the course of your life (including as the result of an accident, illness or mental health condition), you can still be eligible for the NDIS.
Looking for More Information About NDIS Eligibility? Contact Open Minds Today
The Australian Government has designed the NDIS to be accessible for as many people as possible. The funding available through the scheme can be life changing for those living with disability. If you have questions about the eligibility requirements for the NDIS, Open Minds is more than happy to help.
Open Minds is an independent disability provider that offers not-for-profit services to people living with mental health and intellectual disability. Our services are designed to boost independence, build your capacity and help you work towards your goals. We work with a range of clients and NDIS participants, taking a personalised approach that matches you with the services that meet your needs best. Contact us to find out more about how we help or if you have any questions about your eligibility for the NDIS.