Understanding the NDIS
Understanding the ndis

Understanding the NDIS and what it means to those living with disability

Understanding the NDIS for many Australians is not easy! However difficult to understand, the NDIS or National Disability Insurance Scheme is an uncapped (demand-driven rather than means-tested) scheme, rolled out across Australia in 2020, that funds costs associated with disability. Above all, the NDIS framework is based on a person-centric model of care, that most importantly, aims to put those people living with a “permanent and significant” disability at the centre of the decision-making process, through the principle of “reasonable and necessary supports” related to their disability. In addition, “individual choice and control” is another feature of a person-centric model of care. Consequently, the NDIS allocate funding to the individual who is then able to choose which providers will supply them with the funded supports and services, for instance.

Moreover, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) administer the scheme, whilst the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission) oversee it. Watch this 5 minute video prepared by the NDIS that sums up the main principles of the NDIS.


Understanding the NDIS eligibility criteria

To clarify, an understanding of the NDIS and why it was established is found in the belief that those Australians living with disability should be supported financially for costs associated with their disability. Consequently, the eligibility criteria states:

Eligibility Answer
Are you younger than 65?
To be eligible for the NDIS, you must be younger than 65 on the day you apply.
Yes, go to Question 2.
No, you will not be able to access the NDIS. However, you may be able to access other aged care supports.
Visit myagedcare.gov.au.
Do you meet the residency requirements?
To access the NDIS you must:
• live in Australia
• be an Australian citizen or permanent resident,
• hold a permanent visa, or
• hold a protected special category visa.
Yes, go to Question 3.
No, you will not be able to access the NDIS, but we may be able to help you connect to community or other government services.
Call us on 1800 800 110.
Do you meet the disability requirements?
You will need evidence of all the following:
• Your disability is caused by an impairment
• Your impairment is likely to be permanent
• Your permanent impairment substantially reduces your functional capacity
• Your permanent impairment affects your ability to work, study or take part in social life
• You’ll likely need support from the NDIS for your whole life.
Yes, you may be eligible. We can support you to make a decision
about whether to apply for the NDIS when you contact us.
In addition, we can also refer you to community or other government services and supports.
No, go to Question 4
Do you use special equipment because of a permanent and significant disability?
This may include:
• special equipment (assistive technology).
• modifications to your home
Yes, you may be eligible. Find out how to apply on page 6, or on the NDIS website.
No, go to Question 5.
Do you need some supports now to reduce your future needs?
You may be eligible for the NDIS under the early intervention requirements. You will need to meet all the following:
• have an impairment that is likely to be permanent
• early intervention supports will help you need less disability support in future
• the early intervention you need is most appropriately funded by us
There are different requirements for children younger than 6 with developmental delay.
You may meet the early intervention requirements if you are aged between 0 and 25 with a hearing impairment.
Yes, you may be eligible. Find out how to apply on page 6, or on the NDIS website.
No, you will not be able to access the NDIS. We may be able to help you connect to community or other government services.
Call us on 1800 800 110.

How to apply

Once you have determined eligibility, the next step is to apply. To confirm, you can request the NDIS Access Request Form (ARF) by the following methods:

Understanding the NDIS and a plan for your disability support needs

People who are eligible to join the NDIS are known as ‘participants’. Once you become a participant, the NDIS will help you create a plan based on your disability support needs. You will be asked what goals you have and what supports you think will help you achieve them. Most importantly is the understanding that goals and support needs are unique to you. That is to say that goals differ from participant to participant, as do supports, so it is really important at this planning stage to think about everything you hope to achieve and how you can utilise your NDIS budget to its fullest potential. Moreover, as the NDIS is person-centric, you get to choose the supports you receive, when and by whom.

Your plan is then submitted for approval. You will be notified when your plan has been finalised and of your support budget.

How do you want to manage your NDIS funding?

At the planning stage, the NDIS will have asked how you would like to manage your support funding. There are three options for managing your budget:

  • Firstly, you can choose to be self-managed – the NDIS will pay you so you can pay your providers directly. To find out more about self-management see the Guide to Self-Management on the NDIS website.
  • Secondly, you could engage the services of a plan manager – the NDIS will provide funding in your plan to pay for a plan manager who pays providers on your behalf. In other words, this funding is IN ADDITION to your funding budget.
  • Thirdly, you may want the option of being NDIA-managed – the NDIS will pay your providers on your behalf.

What happens next?

Hopefully you now have an understanding of the NDIS and how best to utilise it to reach your goals. Once you have a plan and have decided how you would like to manage it, you can start buying supports. You choose who you want to provide your supports and when. Some participants may only need to engage with support providers on occasions, whilst others will need regular supports provided. The NDIS will only pay for supports once your plan has commenced.

During your plan, your contact person from the NDIS will check-in with you to see how you’re going, and how your plan is working for you. You are always able to contact them for help, clarification or if your needs changes. Keep in mind that you will never be left without funding or supports even if the NDIS hasn’t created a new plan by your plan reassessment date.

In conclusion, understanding the NDIS and getting the most out of your plan and budget will assist you in achieving your goals. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the system, give our friendly intake team a call on 1300 33 11 03.

Understanding the ndis