The NDIS website has a wealth of information and we highly recommend you become familiar with the content in depth. In particular, the information around eligibility, access and planning are important.
You must meet the following criteria (access requirements) to be eligible to apply for NDIS funding:
be aged under 65
live in Australia and be an Australian citizen, permanent visa holder or special category visa holder
usually need support from a person because of a permanent or significant disability
need support now to reduce your future needs
Completing an access request form when applying for NDIS funding
You will need to fill out an access request form and provide evidence of your disability.
What constitutes ‘good’ evidence of your disability?
Must be recent
Be completed by the appropriate treating health professional: the health professional most relevant to your primary disability
Confirm your primary disability
Confirm the impacts of your disability on the different areas of your life
Describe previous treatments and outcomes
Describe future treatment options and expected outcomes of those treatments
Primary disability refers to the impairment that impacts most on your daily functioning.
Who can provide the evidence?
Any of the following health professionals:
general practitioner (GP)
speech pathologist (therapist)
The treating health professional who provides the evidence of your disability should have treated you for a significant period of time (e.g. at least six months).
What type of evidence is required from the treating health professional?
It will state you have, or are likely to have, a permanent disability, and include the following information:
The type of disability
The date your disability was diagnosed (if available)
How long the disability will last
Available treatments (e.g. medications, therapies or surgeries)
It will state how your disability impacts your everyday life, in the following areas, and include a description of how each area is impacted:
How do you apply?
You can choose to apply for the NDIS independently by downloading an Access Request form or by calling 1800 800 110 and having hard copies sent to you. Complete and submit the form via email to NAT@ndis.gov.au. or mail to GPO Box 700, Canberra, ACT 2601
Alternatively you can make a verbal access request by phoning 1800 800 110. You can ask to be put in touch with your local area coordinator (LAC) who can support you as you gather the information you require for your Access Request.
Your LAC is usually your main point of contact with the NDIS. Your LAC does not work directly for the NDIA but for a local partner contracted to the NDIA.
NDIA access lists
The NDIA maintains access lists (lists of conditions) that are used to determine who will get entry to the scheme. For reference, here are links to the access lists:
Your NDIS plan is the outcome of a meeting with your LAC – to agree on a plan of ‘reasonable and necessary’ supports. The supports are provided by service providers and the funds may be managed by you (‘the participant’) or:
a registered plan management provider
a nominee of the participant
The aim is to give you choice and control – to meet your goals through the right supports.
Your NDIS plan lists your goals and both the formal and informal supports that you will use.
There are quite a few things you need to consider when formulating your first NDIS plan. What supports do you need in your daily life? What services would best help you to achieve your goals?
Taking the time to carefully plan and research these questions will help you to self-advocate when applying for NDIS funding.
Consider having a family member, friend or health professional – someone who knows you well – to help you throughout the process. You may feel you can do something okay but another person may have a different perception of your strengths and challenges. Different views will help you identify areas of support needed.
Your vision for life
We often have a vision for our lives from a young age. It is never too late to identify what you would like for your future – to change your life now.
What would like to do or change in your life?
Here are some areas for you to consider:
home life (e.g. help with cleaning, food preparation)
social activities (e.g. getting out in the community)
employment (e.g. support with gaining employment, workplace skills, mentoring)
getting around (e.g. learning to drive, navigating public transport)
living independently (e.g. living alone, sharing accommodation, supported living)
relationships (e.g. caring for children, interpersonal and workplace relationships).
Let’s look more closely at one these and the type of support you may need: getting around. You may need assistance using public transport, getting to medical appointments or visiting your local library. What would this assistance look like? You may need a support person until you feel confident to do these things on your own. You may need assistance applying for a tap-and-go card. If you have difficulty with directions or getting lost then you may need a person to help you learn how to plan your trips.
There are lots of skills involved and things to consider. The clearer you can be about the supports you need, the more helpful it will be to the NDIS in creating your plan.
Understanding the barriers
You need to be able to identify the barriers or challenges you may currently be experiencing in order to determine the supports you will need to overcome them. Here are examples of some barriers:
living in a remote area with limited local supports
workplaces that are not supportive of your needs (e.g. limited or no understanding of autism by staff, workplace environment not suitable to your sensory sensitivities)
access to public spaces (e.g. shopping centres can be overwhelming)
You may need a support worker with you to help you access the shopping centre – to get what you want quickly or when paying at a busy checkout.
Goal setting is an incredibly important part of your NDIS plan.
Short-term, medium-term and long-term goal setting
Your goals will change over your lifetime and are something you need to regularly re-evaluate.
For example, you may have a long-term goal of living independently, in a place of our own. You will have many short-term and medium-term goals along the way to achieving this. It will also depend on your level of support at each stage.
Some of the things to consider when thinking about goals are:
How do I financially support myself?
What supports do I need to gain employment so I can live alone?
Do I need further education to get a job that will better support me financially?
What is my working capacity (e.g. full-time, part-time)
What are the barriers I face?
What supports and skills do I need to achieve my goal?
A short-term goal may be working with a developmental educator to gain skills in how to advocate for your support needs when starting a course of further education.
A medium-term goal may be finishing your course (e.g. 6 or 12 months). You may learn of other areas of support you need within this time, or of changes to current supports.
A long-term goal is gaining a job after you have completed your studies.
There are often many smaller goals, short-term and medium-term goals, to work through before attaining your long-term goal.
Here is a link to help you with planning to achieve your goals:
What kind of supports can you access as a NDIS participant?
Supports and services delivered for NDIS participants should help people with disability have the same things in life as other people: somewhere to live, a job, hobbies and the company of families and friends.
Participants receive funding in their plans to access ‘reasonable and necessary’ services and supports to help achieve their goals.
These supports fall into fifteen categories:
Assistance with Daily Life
Assistance with Social & Community Participation
Coordination of Supports
Improved Living Arrangements
Increased Social and Community Participation
Finding and Keeping a Job
Improved Health and Wellbeing
Improved Life Choices
Improved Daily Living
For more information on supports and services funded by the NDIS:
More information on ways to manage your fundinghere
Reassessing your plan
Your NDIS plan will usually last for 12 or 24 months and then it is reassessed and a new plan is created. Your plan reassessment is an opportunity to check your supports are working for you – to check they are helping you work towards and achieve your goals.
During your reassessment you will meet or speak with your LAC or NDIA planner and consider the best way to review your plan. This may be a:
new NDIS plan with the same supports
new NDIS plan with minor changes to your current supports or;
The website can help you with setting, tracking and attaining your goals. You can invite members of your support team to view your potential career pathways (e.g. an employment agency, mentor or coach).
Engaging a provider for employment supports
Check you are able to use your NDIS funding for one or all of the following support categories when engaging a provider for employment supports:
Transport (if you require specialised transport to get to work)
Assistance with social and community participation (specialised supported employment)
Increased social and community participation (skills development and training)
Finding and keeping a job
School Leaver Employment Support
School Leaver Employment Support (SLES) funding is available to young adults in their final years of school and directly after they finish school. SLES is designed to assist you gaining skills towards achieving employment.
Funding is available for two years depending on your individual circumstances.
Each school leaver’s employment supports will be different. The following skills may be part of an individual program of supports to help you get ready for employment: