The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has made it easier than ever to access funding for disability supports. NDIS funding is available to hundreds of thousands of Australians living with complex, significant and permanent disability. Applying for the NDIS is simple and participants only need to meet a handful of eligibility criteria. In this article we’ll be answering the question “What is the eligibility criteria for the NDIS?” and how you can apply to the scheme.
Eligibility Criteria for the NDIS
NDIS supports are designed to help you manage daily activities, build new skills and increase your independence. You may be eligible for the NDIS if your disability means that you regularly need support to complete daily tasks such as cooking or personal grooming. The NDIS only has a few simple eligibility criteria. To access funding you must:
- Be aged between 7 and 65
- Be an Australian citizen or permanent resident, or you must hold a Protected Special Category Visa
- Be living in Australia
- Have a disability caused by a permanent impairment
- Require disability supports to complete everyday tasks
If you don’t meet the disability criteria then you may be able to access early intervention funding. The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) recognises that early intervention is often the best way to build your capacity and reduce your need for support in the future.
Children younger than 7 can seek help through Early Childhood Early Intervention funding. For those over 65, you may be eligible to access supports through the My Aged Care program.
What Does the NDIS Consider a Disability?
The NDIS is designed to provide support and services that allow you to build your independence and manage everyday life. To support as many people as possible, the NDIS does not look at your diagnosis. Rather, anyone with a “permanent impairment” that results in a significant disability can apply for NDIS support. The scheme provides funding for disability caused by a range of issues, including:
The NDIS tests your needs rather than your diagnosis. That means the scheme is open to most people, whether you were born with your disability or acquired it during your life. For instance, the NDIS provides funding for those living with autism or mental health issues, but it can also fund supports if your disability results from an accident or injury.
How to Apply for the NDIS
Applying for the NDIS is simple and it can be done online, over the phone or by mail. There are two main pathways to apply for NDIS funding:
- Directly through the NDIA. You can apply on your own through the NDIA. You’ll need to complete the Access Request Form available on the NDIS website, or you can request a physical copy in the mail. Completed forms can be returned via email, in the post or in person at your local NDIA office. If you need assistance filling out the Access Request Form then you can contact the NDIA over the phone.
- Local Area Coordinators. Your Local Area Coordinator (LAC) will be able to provide assistance with the application process. Since the application process can be involved, applying through your LAC is a good way to make sure your NDIS Plan includes all the supports and funding you need.
When applying to the NDIS it’s important that you’re very clear about your disability, the impact it has on your life and what supports you need. The NDIA assessor you work with doesn’t know you personally. That means it’s up to you to ask for supports and services that will help you manage your everyday life.
Not Sure if You’re Eligible for the NDIS? Contact Open Minds Today!Navigating the NDIS isn’t always straightforward. While the application process is simple, it’s important to get the details right to ensure you receive the funding you need. If you unsure about your eligibility or the application process then feel free to get in touch with Open Minds. Open Minds is a not-for-profit disability service provider that focuses on helping those living with mental health, cognitive and intellectual disability. We take a personalised approach to designing support programs that help you work towards your goals and make the most of your NDIS funding! You’re welcome to contact us online if you have any questions about our services or need help accessing the NDIS.