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Accessing the NDIS

People who meet the NDIS access requirements are called participants. Participants receive funded supports and an individual plan.

If you are a person with disability and want to join the NDIS, you need to meet the access requirements. These include: availability of the Scheme where you live; your age; your residency status; your disability and in some cases your early intervention requirements.

If you think you meet these criteria, you can apply to join the NDIS.

Age

You must be under 65 years of age when you apply to join the Scheme.

Residency

To meet the residency requirements, you must in Australia and:

  • Be an Australian citizen OR
  • Hold a Permanent Visa OR
  • Hold a Protected Special Category Visa, that is you
    • Were in Australia on a Special Category Visa on 26 February 2001 or
    • Had been in Australia for at least 12 months in the 2 years immediately before 26 February 2001 and you returned to Australia after that day.

Disability

You may meet the disability requirements if:

  • You have an impairment or condition that is likely to be permanent (i.e. it is likely to be lifelong) and
  • Your impairment substantially reduces your ability to participate effectively in activities, or perform tasks or actions unless you have:
    • Assistance from other people or
    • You have assistive technology or equipment (other than common items such as glasses) or
    • You can't participate effectively even with assistance or aides and equipment and
  • Your impairment affects your capacity for social and economic participation and
  • You are likely to require support under the NDIS for your lifetime.

An impairment that varies in intensity e.g. because the impairment is of a chronic episodic nature may still be permanent, and you may require support under the NDIS for your lifetime, despite the variation.

Early Intervention Requirements

You may meet the early intervention requirements:

  • If you have an impairment or condition that is likely to be permanent and there is evidence that getting supports now (early interventions) will help you by:
    • Reducing how much help you will need to do things because of your impairment in the future and
    • Improving or reducing deterioration of your functional capacity or
    • Helping your family and carers to keep helping you and
    • Those supports are most appropriately funded through the NDIS, and not through another service system.

OR

  • You are a child aged under 6 years of age with developmental delay which results in:
    • Substantially reduced functional capacity in one or more of the areas of self-care, receptive and expressive language, cognitive development or motor development and
    • Results in the need for a combination and sequence of special interdisciplinary or generic care, treatment or other services which are of extended duration, and are individually planned and coordinated; and
  • Those supports are most appropriately funded through the NDIS, and not through another service system.

How long until your access request is assessed?

Upon receiving a valid access request, the NDIA must respond within 21 days. You can find more information about this in the NDIA Operational Guidelines. This timeframe applies to a person who resides in an NDIS area, and who has made a valid request with all relevant information and evidence about their disability or impairment.

In some cases, the NDIA may need more documents, assessments or evidence, which means it might take longer for your request to be assessed.

How to apply

Accessing the NDIS explains who can join the NDIS. If you meet the criteria, you can ask to become a participant by completing an access request form.

If you are already receiving disability support services, you will be contacted by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) as the NDIS becomes available in your area.

If you are not currently receiving any disability supports, but wish to join the scheme, you will need to contact the NDIA and request an Access Request Form.

Access request questions

As part of the access request process, you will be asked:

  • To confirm your identity and/or a person's authority to act on your behalf
  • Questions to see if you meet the NDIS access requirements (age, residence and disability)
  • Questions about providing consent to enter the Scheme and about seeking information from third parties

If you currently get disability supports, your provider may give us this information for you.

You may be asked to provide some additional information after you submit your access request form. This may include information about your disability and how it impacts on your daily life. We may also send you forms to be completed by a health professional.

Providing information about your disability

For information about what evidence to include as part of your access request see the following pages: