The Basics

What is the NDIS?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a new way of providing support for Australians with a disability. It aims to help people with a disability to "live an ordinary life" and achieve their goals by funding reasonable and necessary supports and services for them to achieve their goals. Under the NDIS, new annual funding packages will be provided directly to participants, allowing them more choice and control over their lives and future.

What does the NDIS fund?

The NDIS will fund all necessary and reasonable supports to help you increase your independence, achieve your goals and participate in the community; in short - "live an ordinary life" of your choosing. What would be considered "reasonable and necessary" for you "to live an ordinary life" are the key determinants that the NDIS uses to decide what is funded and how much.

Supports and services the NDIS may fund include:

  • Daily personal care and activities.
  • Mobility and transport
  • Help in the workplace and with household tasks,
  • Aids and equipment, home and vehicle modification,
  • Health and wellbeing activities and therapeutic supports.
  • Skills and capacity building for economic and social participation
  • Access to community services and supports.
  • Provisions that maintain informal support arrangements.


"The NDIS aims to fund what is reasonable and necessary to live an ordinary life"

"What is funded and how much depends on how you describe your life and goals and what is needed to achieve them"

The amount and types of support that someone needs is assessed at a planning meeting and is based on how you describe your life and your goals at this meeting. These are documented in your plan under your "participant statement" and "goals" and are used to justify what is allocated in the plan. 

Funding is divided into three support budgets within a person’s plan:

Core budget: includes personal care, transport, community participation and meal preparation. Core budget items support you with your daily living requirements. There is flexibility within this budget for you to decide how much you spend on which particular item within the core budget.

Capital budget: includes funding for home and vehicle modification, and other types of assistive technology which would help you with your daily living or are required for you to achieve your goals. Capital budget items are inflexible and specific to each item and are based on a quote for the item. It is important to ensure that there is specific funding allocated to each item you require within your plan.

Capacity building: covers a broad range of activities aimed at increasing your capacity to achieve your goals. These include; plan management (have someone manage all or pat of your plan for you), support coordination (support to utilise your funding effectively), physical therapies, finding and keeping a job, etc. There is a fair amount of flexibility within this budget to choose how money is spent across these items.

Will the funding impact any of my other payments?

Funding given by the NDIS will not impact the Disability Support Pension as it is not means tested.

Other income supports such as Carer Payment, Carer Supplement, Carer Allowance and the Child Disability Assistance Payment are also separate from the NDIS.

What doesn't the NDIS fund?

The NDIS will not fund supports that

  • are unrelated to your disability,
  • pose a risk to yourself or others,
  • duplicate supports provided elsewhere or
  • act as a substitute income.

Medical and clinical services are covered by Medicare.

"Funding will not impact many of your other payments."

"To be eligible you need to be under the age of 65 and have a permanent disability that significantly impacts your everyday life."

Am I eligible?

To be eligible for the NDIS, you need to have a condition or impairment that will affect you permanently and stop you from doing everyday things by yourself. You are eligible for the NDIS if you need support or assistive equipment for you to:

  • Get out bed and move around the home,
  • Take a bath or shower, dress and eat,
  • Do daily jobs, handle money and make decisions,
  • Pursue, studies, gain and maintain employment,
  • Make and keep friends.

In short, this means that almost everyone with a Spinal Cord injury (SCI) or similar physical complex disability under the age of 65 is eligible for funding from the NDIS. For more information about eligibility, check the NDIS Access Checklist.

When will it be available in my area?

The NDIS commenced rollout in Victoria on the 1st of July 2016 and is being introduced in stages across the country. To see when the NDIS is available in your area, click on this link and click on your state.

What is the process for me?

The process for joining the NDIS will differ depending on the level and type of compensation that you receive.

If I receive DHHS funding

If you receive DHHS funding or have an Individual Support Package (ISP) and live in an area that has already rolled out, your contact details should be automatically sent to the NDIA. The National Access Team will make first contact with you; they will inform you when they have sent out the paper work. Once this paperwork is completed and sent back, the NDIA will then contact you by phone in order to set up a time to do a first plan.

If you are 64 years old and are worried about missing the age cut-off for the NDIS, the best thing to do is to contact NDIA, and ask for an Access Request Form (ARF). This may be necessary to ensure that you gain access to the NDIS funding and benefits before you turn 65 and might no longer be considered eligible.

If you are receiving DHHS funding and are over 65, you are ineligible for the NDIS. Your current funding will transition to the Commonwealth Continuity of Support (CoS) program.

"If you currently receive DHHS funding, you will be transitioned automatically as the NDIS rolls out in your area."

"If you're not currently receiving compensation, you should contact the NDIS directly."

If I am receiving TAC or Workcover funding

If you receive funding through TAC or Workcover, you have the option of either transitioning to the NDIS or continuing with your current funding arrangements. Most people are opting to continue with their current arrangements at present.

 If I am not receiving any compensation

If you have no compensation or if you are on the Disability Support Register, then you need to be the first to contact the NDIS. You can call them on 1800 800 110 (Australia only). You will need to get an Access Request Form (ARF), and they should send one out. Next, you should fill out the ARF and send it back to the NDIS. They will let you know when you have been accepted. How long the NDIS will take to get back to you and set up a meeting will vary for each person. The NDIS aren’t even sure at the moment. Right now the system is overworked and is just up and running. They say it should be a few weeks, but could be longer.

If I am newly injured?

If you are newly injured, the first thing you should do is find out if you are going to be compensated or not, it makes a huge difference in what your role is going to be during this process. If you were injured in a traffic accident or at work, you will be compensated by TAC or WorkCover and you should receive funding through them. Compensation should remain the responsibility of either WorkCover or the TAC.

If you are not eligible for compensation by either WorCover or TAC, then you should contact the NDIS on 1800 800 110 and get an Access Request Form (ARF). Once you have filled out the ARF and send it back to the NDIS, they will let you know when you have been accepted.

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