NDIS: Frequently asked questions

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We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions about the NDIS here, to help you with any common questions.

Am I eligible for NDIS funding?

If you’re an Australian resident with disability, you may be eligible for individualised supports through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

To apply, you must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident and be aged between seven and 64 years of age.

You must also be living with what’s considered a significant permanent disability that has an impact on different areas of your life.

There’s lots of information available for you if you want to apply for NDIS funding, including whether you’re eligible for the NDIS.

The NDIS website has lists of disabilities that are supported under the national scheme, such as List A and List B.

But these lists are only a guide. Your eligibility will be assessed based on your individual circumstances, not what label your disability has.

If you or your supporters have any queries about the NDIS, you can call PWDA’s Information, Intake and Referral Service on 1800 843 929.

How do I apply for the NDIS?

To apply for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), you will need to provide information about your disability and the kinds of supports you need. You can get this information from doctors, specialists, allied health workers and disability support services.

The application process is likely to be long and involved. You’ll need to think about what services or budgets to apply for in your NDIS plan.

Part of the process is to contact the NDIS and fill in an Access Request Form.

People with Disability Australia (PWDA) recommends you speak to your doctor about making an application, get all your medical reports together and talk to a disability advocate.

Think about your goals for a good life. What services could you access to help you better participate in society? What supports could help meet your needs?

What disability will you choose to present as a primary disability in your application? What are other secondary disabilities do you have that you need help with to live a full and equal life?

Local Areas Coordination (LAC) partners can support you to understand and access the NDIS.

You can ask your LAC about the supports available in your community, even if you’re not eligible for an NDIS support plan.

LACs can help you to:

  • Understand and access the NDIS – This can include workshops or individual conversations about the NDIS.
  • Create a plan – If you are eligible for an NDIS support plan, your LAC will have a conversation with you to learn about your current situation, supports, and goals to help develop your plan. It is important to know that LACs cannot approve an NDIS plan, this is done by someone from the NDIA.
  • Implement your plan – Your LAC will help you to find and start receiving the services in your NDIS plan. Your LAC can also provide assistance throughout your plan if you have any questions.
  • Review your plan – Your LAC will work with you to make changes to your plan through a plan review. This generally occurs 12 months after your plan is implemented.

Linking you to information and support in your community

LACs will help you:

  • Learn about support available in your local community;
  • Understand how the NDIS works with other government services – this is supports like education, health, and transport;
  • Sustain informal supports around you – this is family, friends and local community members.

You can find your local NDIS, LAC or ECEI partner office by entering your postcode at this link https://www.ndis.gov.au/contact/locations or by calling 1800 800 110.

A disability advocate, such as those who work for PWDA, can help you put together your application and make it more likely it is approved so funding meets your needs.

It takes time to put together an application, especially one that has a better chance of success.

You’ll also need emotional support for the journey. Advocates can help make your process easier to navigate and assist you with any approvals or appeals processes.

You might also need help pulling together more evidence for your application within a three-month period after you submit your Access Request Form.

If you or your supporters have any queries about the NDIS, you can call PWDA’s Information, Intake and Referral Service on 1800 843 929.

What are the age limits on NDIS funding?

People applying for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funding must be older than six years of age and younger than 65 years of age. If you’re an older person with disability, you can access services and support through the aged care system.

Older people with disability that are already receiving NDIS support when they turn 65 can continue receiving funding through the scheme or chose to join the aged care system.

Children younger than seven with disability may be eligible for support under an NDIS-linked program called Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI).

If you or your supporters have any queries about the NDIS or ECEI, you can call People with Disability Australia’s (PWDA’s) Information, Intake and Referral Service on 1800 843 929.

What types of disability does the NDIS cover?

There are lists of disabilities that are supported under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), such as List A and List B, but the scheme is designed to cover more disabilities than what may have been supported in the past.

If you’re thinking of applying for the NDIS, you probably have more than one impairment or disability or co-existing conditions and are curious about what impairments are covered.

The NDIS is designed to cover the full range of disabilities, including physical disability and psychosocial or mental health disability.

To look at things in terms of a social model of disability, the NDIS is designed to support people with any impairment that can be considered a disability and help them counter disabling aspects in their environment, like the lack of ramps or aids, so people can fully participate in society.

People with Disability Australia (PWDA) has encouraged the NDIS not to take a rigid approach to what disabilities it covers and instead look at the disabling aspects of an impairment that a person is seeking support with an NDIS application.

The NDIS views people as having a primary disability and possible secondary disabilities. As a person with disability, you might find this categorisation frustrating, particularly if your so-called secondary disabilities are more disabling and make it harder for you to participate fully and equally in society.

The NDIS can require you to demonstrate a chronic or permanent and severe impairment associated with your disability. But if your disability is psychosocial, demonstrating this might not work for you as your goal could be full recovery. The NDIS has acknowledged this difference in approach by introducing a psychosocial stream you may want to explore.

Sometimes your NDIS application will focus on what services you already receive, such as group home housing, as evidence you should be supported by the NDIS.

PWDA encourages you to think about what you need help with to live a full and equal life.

If you or your supporters have any queries about the NDIS, you can call PWDA’s Information, Intake and Referral Service on 1800 843 929.

What is an NDIS plan?

A National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) plan outlines your goals and aspirations for living a full and equal life. It also names what services or supports you need.

Plans can take into account your current needs and future goals.

NDIS services or supports are provided through three categories of funding you can have in an NDIS plan. These categories are Core Supports budgets, Capacity Building Supports budgets and Capital Supports budgets.

  • Core Supports budgets cover everyday needs and help you work towards your goals. Daily activities, consumables, social community and civic participation, and transport are the four Core Supports categories. This budget category is flexible so you can fund and unfund services in any category while keeping your overall Core Supports budget.
  • Capacity Building (CB) budgets build your independence to help you meet long-term goals. There are nine Capacity Building categories and budgets are fixed within the categories, so the funding can’t be moved to another category. The categories are: Support Coordination, CB Home Living, CB Social Community and Civic Participation, CB Employment, CB Relationships, CB Health and Wellbeing, CB Lifelong Learning, CB Choice and Control and CB Daily Activity.
  • Capital Supports budgets are for specific things to help you. These supports can fall into two categories: assistive technologies or transport. These support budgets can’t be used to pay for anything else.

If you’re approved for the NDIS, your plan will change as you grow and your needs change.

The NDIS website, support organisations and planners can help you think about what to include in your NDIS plan.

Local area support coordinators can also help you, especially if you want to refine plans that already exist.

If you or your supporters have any queries about the NDIS, you can call People with Disability Australia’s (PWDA’s) Information, Intake and Referral Service on 1800 843 929.

Should I get application help from an NDIS disability advocate?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can be complex to navigate and a disability advocate can help with the process.

An NDIS disability advocate can help increase the likelihood your application will be approved and that service funding will meet your needs.

Advocates at People with Disability Australia (PWDA) and other organisations can make the process easier to navigate and help you with any approvals or appeals processes.

If you or your supporters have any queries about the NDIS, you can call PWDA’s Information, Intake and Referral Service on 1800 843 929.

How do I appeal an NDIS decision?

Your application for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) support might unfortunately be declined or the services you prefer might not be supported for an NDIS plan, or the plan you get might not be what you actually need.

If you are knocked back for NDIS support you can go to the NDIS and ask for an internal review of its decision.

If you are unhappy with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) review, you can go to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) and appeal the decision within 28 days.

It’s free to apply for an appeal.

Sometimes the AAT refers people to conciliation with the NDIS to see if an agreement can be reached without a tribunal decision. Other times people accept an offer from the NDIS and end their appeal before a hearing.

Like with the initial application process, a disability advocate can help you with review and appeals processes.

Advocates work at People with Disability Australia (PWDA) and other advocacy organisations.

If you or your supporters have any queries about the NDIS, you can call PWDA’s Information, Intake and Referral Service on 1800 843 929.

How do I know what I can use my NDIS funding for?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funds activities it considers are reasonable and necessary for you to fully participate in life.

These activities can be education, employment, social participation, independence, living arrangements and health and wellbeing services, or even sex services.

To be considered reasonable and necessary, the NDIS says these supports should be:

  • related to your disability
  • be value for money
  • be likely to be effective and work for you
  • take into account supports you already receive from the government, your family, carers, support networks and the community
  • not include day-to-day living costs not related to your disability support needs

When working out whether you should ask for supports ask yourself, does this:

  • help me pursue my goals, objectives and aspirations
  • increase my independence
  • increase my participation in work or the community
  • develop my capacity to take part in the community

The NDIS has operational guidelines it follows when judging whether it should back particular supports for you.

If you have an NDIS plan or are updating the one you have, remember you can get help working out what services can be covered by your budgets.

If you or your supporters have any queries about the NDIS, you can call People with Disability Australia’s (PWDA’s) Information, Intake and Referral Service on 1800 843 929.

What should my NDIS plan fund and what should be funded by other services?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) may fund your services and supports, but these are unlikely to be the only funded services you can access. You can get state or even council funding for some of the things you do, such as access transport to attend appointments.

The NDIS also has a scheme to help you access transportation.

It’s good to keep track of what services you can access as a member of the community.

Sometimes your university or education service provider might have schemes to help out.

Other times you might rely on a family member or friend.

Remember, the NDIS is designed to help you live a full life, but it’s not the only support scheme you can access.

If you’re designing an NDIS plan or updating the one you have, remember to take into account the support you can access from other places.

If you or your supporters have any queries about the NDIS, you can call People with Disability Australia’s (PWDA’s) Information, Intake and Referral Service on 1800 843 929.

How can the NDIS help with home modifications?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) acknowledges a good proportion of homes aren’t suited to people with disabilities. If you are funded under the NDIS you can access funding to have your home modified or even get funding to look for somewhere new.

If you want to have your home modified you can have this put in your NDIS plan.

Alternatively you can request modifications from the owner of your home or manager of your housing. Or if your disability modifications are broken, you can request they are fixed from your owner or agent.

If you have high needs, the NDIS could help you with housing under the Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) funding program.

If you’re designing an NDIS plan or updating the one you have, make sure you think about what modifications might make your home better suited to you.

If you or your supporters have any queries about the NDIS, you can call People with Disability Australia’s (PWDA’s) Information, Intake and Referral Service on 1800 843 929.

What’s the NDIS early intervention program for children with disability?

Children younger than seven years of age with a development delay or disability can access the Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) program so they can take part in everyday activities.

More information on the ECEI program is available for parents and carers from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) website. A list of disabilities supported under ECEI, List D, is also available at the site.

If you or your supporters have any queries about the NDIS or ECEI, you can call People with Disability Australia’s (PWDA’s) Information, Intake and Referral Service on 1800 843 929.

What can I do if it’s been ages since I applied for the NDIS?

Your application for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) support might take a long time to be assessed. Things can be done to speed up your process.

If you have a disability advocate to help you navigate the system, the advocate can help advise you on the way forward.

If you or your supporters have any queries about the NDIS, you can call People with Disability Australia’s (PWDA’s) Information, Intake and Referral Service on 1800 843 929.

How do I find an NDIS support provider?

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) service providers offer services or supports to you under the NDIS.

Large and small organisations are registered under the NDIS and can deliver funded services to you.

If you look at your NDIS plan management needs this might help you work out which service providers will suit you.

To find registered service providers use the Provider Finder tool at the myplace portal you can access through the Federal Government’s myGov website.

People who have helped you in the past that aren’t on the register could help you again if you encourage them to register with the NDIS. That way, you might be able to receive funded services from them in the future.

If you or your supporters have any queries about the NDIS, you can call People with Disability Australia’s (PWDA’s) Information, Intake and Referral Service on 1800 843 929.

What do I do if my NDIS supports go wrong?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has an oversight agency responsible for ensuring NDIS services are delivered fairly to you.

It’s called the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (QSC) and you can reach it on weekdays on 1800 035 544. Alternatively you can reach the Commission through TTY on 133 677 or the National Relay Service (1800 555 660) and ask to be put through to 1800 035 544.

You can complain if services or supports were not:

  • provided safely or respectfully
  • to an appropriate standard

The NDIS Commission can take your complaint if you are in any state or territory besides Western Australia.

Western Australia will be covered by the commission from 1 December 2020.

You can make a complaint on the phone or use the Commission’s complaint contact form. If you decide to make an anonymous or confidential complaint, you might call the complaints number instead of using the form.

You can also flag a reportable incident with the Commission. People reporting an incident must use an Immediate Notification Form they submit at the NDIS Commission Portal.

If you or your supporters have any queries about the NDIS, you can call People with Disability Australia’s (PWDA’s) Information, Intake and Referral Service on 1800 843 929.

How can I get NDIS help at work?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) aims to help you participate in work to the best of your ability.

The NDIS funds a variety of services, supports and aids to help you, including what it calls employment supports.

Some things the NDIS funds to help you with work include:

  • personal care or eating support
  • aids and equipment such as wheelchairs or hearing aids
  • transition-to-work services or supports an employer might not provide
  • individual support if you’re not covered by disability support services
  • other help to find or keep a job

The NDIS also funds employment supports which can include:

  • on-the-job support
  • employment-related assessments and counselling
  • individual and group employment support
  • school-leaver supports

If you’re designing an NDIS plan or updating the one you have, remember to think about how the NDIS can help you pursue employment.

If you or your supporters have any queries about the NDIS, you can call People with Disability Australia’s (PWDA’s) Information, Intake and Referral Service on 1800 843 929.

How can I get NDIS help at school or in tertiary education?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can help you with your education.

The NDIS funds a variety of services, training and equipment to help you, and also provides what it calls education systems funding.

Some things the NDIS funds to help you with education include:

  • self-care or eating support
  • specialist training of teachers and other staff about your needs
  • specialist transport
  • transportable equipment such as wheelchairs or communication devices
  • therapies delivered during the day

The NDIS can also use an education systems fund to cover:

  • the time of teachers, learning assistants or other support personnel such as Auslan interpreters
  • general support or resources for teachers and other educators or staff
  • therapy for education purposes
  • aids and equipment
  • building modifications
  • transport to activities
  • day-to-day supervision, including behavioural support

If you’re designing an NDIS plan or updating the one you have, remember to think about how the NDIS can help you pursue your education.

If you or your supporters have any queries about the NDIS, you can call People with Disability Australia’s (PWDA’s) Information, Intake and Referral Service on 1800 843 929.

How can I get NDIS help for transport?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funds transportation so you can visit the places you want to go.

There are three tiers of transport funding under the NDIS, and the amount you can access depends on how much you work or study, or if you’re assessed as having a greater need.

For most people accessing NDIS transport funding, there are three levels of funding.

  • Level 1 transport funding is up to $1606 a year. This covers you if you don’t work, study or take part in a day program. It allows you to access the community.
  • Level 2 transport funding is up to $2472 a year. This covers you if you work, study, take part in a day program, or do social recreational or leisure activities for less than 15 hours a week.
  • Level 3 transport funding is up to $3456 a year. This covers you if you work (or are looking for work) or study more than 15 hours a week and can’t use public transport because of your disability.

If your needs are greater, for example if you need general or funded supports to be employed, then you might have a greater transport budget in your NDIS plan.

If you’re designing an NDIS plan or updating the one you have, make sure you think about your transport needs.

If you or your supporters have any queries about the NDIS, you can call People with Disability Australia’s (PWDA’s) Information, Intake and Referral Service on 1800 843 929.

How can the NDIS help me access health supports?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can provide health supports alongside any healthcare services you receive from the public and private health system. Health supports are things people need to manage a range of conditions.

These conditions or health aspects you can get help to manage include continence, respiratory care, nutrition, wound and pressure care, dysphagia, diabetes, podiatry and epilepsy.

The funding is not designed to be comprehensive. If you’re in an emergency situation or recovering from being hospitalised, conventional healthcare providers such as hospitals or Hospital at Home are still expected to help you with these conditions.

These supports may still be covered by state and territory governments and other federal government agencies as they become NDIS-funded services.

More details on NDIS-funded health supports can be found in the Disability-Related Health Supports Operational Guideline or the updated price guide and supports catalogue.

If you’re designing an NDIS plan or updating the one you have, make sure you think about what health you might need from the NDIS going forward.

If you or your supporters have any queries about the NDIS, you can call People with Disability Australia’s (PWDA’s) Information, Intake and Referral Service on 1800 843 929. 

How can the NDIS help with mental health supports?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can provide mental health supports alongside any services you receive from the public and private mental healthcare system. The NDIS can also help you counter what it calls psychosocial disability, where an aspect of your mental health becomes disabling.

You can be funded in an NDIS plan for disability supports that enable you as a person with mental illness or a psychiatric condition to take part in daily living activities and participate in social or economic life.

The Reimagine Today website is a good guide for better understanding how the NDIS can help you with your mental health.

If you’re designing an NDIS plan or updating the one you have, make sure you think about what psychosocial or mental health supports you might need from the NDIS going forward.

If you or your supporters have any queries about the NDIS, you can call People with Disability Australia’s (PWDA’s) Information, Intake and Referral Service on 1800 843 929. 

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