What is the NDIS?
The NDIS stands for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Here is the government's proposition for the need of the NDIS:
There are around 4.3 million Australians who have a disability. Within the next five years, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will provide more than $22 billion in funding a year to an estimated 500,000 Australians who have permanent and significant disability. For many people, it will be the first time they receive the disability support they need.
The NDIS can provide all people with disability with information and connections to services in their communities such as doctors, sporting clubs, support groups, libraries and schools, as well as information about what support is provided by each state and territory government.
Watch this short 4 minute video to become more acquainted with the scheme.
What does NDIS really mean?
- National: The NDIS is being introduced progressively across all states and territories.
- Disability: The NDIS provides support to eligible people with intellectual, physical, sensory, cognitive and psychosocial disability. Early intervention supports can also be provided for eligible people with disability or children with developmental delay.
- Insurance: The NDIS gives all Australians peace of mind if they, their child or loved one is born with or acquires a permanent and significant disability, they will get the support they need.
- Scheme: The NDIS is not a welfare system. The NDIS is designed to help people get the support they need so their skills and independence improve over time.
Culturally appropriate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander NDIS booklets are available to download or order:
- Getting started with the NDIS (PDF 6.7MB)
- Getting started with the NDIS (DOCX 1MB)
- Easy Read - Getting started with the NDIS (PDF 6.6MB)
- Easy Read - Getting started with the NDIS (DOCX 1MB)
The booklets will help communities understand and apply for the NDIS, and features artwork from local Northern Territory artist Carol Beasley, from the Barkly Region – one of the first NDIS trial sites.
How does the NDIS work?
The NDIS is Australia’s first national Scheme for people with disability. It provides funding directly to individuals.
First you have to see if you are eligible. There is an Eligibility Checklist available on the NDIS government website.
It will ask you if you are;
- Aged between 7 and 65
- Living in Australia and an Australian resident
- In need of of usual support from a person because of a permanent and significant disability
- Using special equipment because of a permanent and significant disability
- Needing some supports now to reduce your future needs
Funding for children under 7 comes under early childhood NDIS funding; see here.
If you think you are eligible, perhaps it's time to apply.
Sycamore Health and the NDIS
Some of the conditions our practitioners are able to assist with include:
- Physical disabilities
- Intellectual and psychosocial disabilities
- Autism spectrum disorders
- Acquired brain injuries
- Neurological disorders
- Genetic and chromosomal disorders
- Cerebral palsy
- Multiple sclerosis
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Spinal cord injuries
- Developmental delay
Quick links to help you with your next steps
If you visit the am I eligible page, you will find an NDIS checklist you can read to see if you are eligible.
If you meet the criteria and you would like to become a participant, you can either:
- call the NDIS on 1800 800 110 and ask to make an Access Request
- complete and submit the Access Request Form and send by email to NAT@ndis.gov.au or
- contact your local LAC (local area coordinator) or NDIA office. call us on 1800 800 110 and ask to make an Access Request.
If you need help with English, call the TIS service on 131 450.
If you have hearing or speech loss, call our TTY service on 1800 555 677. For Speak and Listen, call 1800 555 727, or for Internet relay services, visit the Relay Service webpage
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 NDIS and about seeking information from third parties.
If you currently get disability supports, and you would like your provider to give us your information, you must first provide consent.
You may be asked to provide some additional information after you make your Access Request. This may include information about your disability and how it impacts on your day-to-day life. You can provide copies of existing information, including letters or reports, or you can ask your treating health professional to fill out and sign a form.
This is called "obtaining supporting evidence" and is something Sycamore Health does regularly for NDIS applicants. Call the clinic on (07) 3046 1700 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
You can call 1800 800 110 to make an Access Request or you can complete and submit the Access Request form via email.
If you need help filling in the form or making the call, you can contact your Local Area Coordinator (LAC), Early Childhood Early Intervention partner or your contact your local NDIA office.
Visit the locations page or call 1800 800 110 to find your local early childhood partner or LAC partner.
Visit the contact us page on the NDIS website to find an office near you.
If you make your Access Request over the phone, you can email or post copies of your existing information, including letter or reports, to one of the following:
- email: NAT@ndis.gov.au
- Post to: GPO Box 700, Canberra ACT 2601, or
- drop it in to your nearest NDIS office.
For information about what evidence to include in your Access Request, it may be helpful to visit the following pages:
The NDIS and other government services
The NDIS attempts to break down funding scheme barriers originally present in federal and state-based systems. Now, with NDIS, all Australians with disability have access to a range of other government services including education, health, employment, justice and family support.
Supports may be different under the NDIS compared to when they were delivered by state or territory governments. The NDIS is a new way of doing things that gives participants the ability to choose and control the supports they use to get involved in their community, workplace, and social life. Learn how the NDIA and other state and territory governments are working together.
The NDIS associates with a variety of sectors for the sake of participants, see below:
Disaster Response (COVID-19)
The NDIS website covers a multitude of changes to the NDIS (for participants, support workers and service providers) relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Hearing Services Program (HSP) and NDIS fund public hearing services in Australia. The HSP funds hearing services for Australian citizens and permanent residents, including children and young people under 26, who satisfy its eligibility criteria.
The NDIS may fund supports relating to your legal needs, particularly if these supports are not already funded by the justice system. The justice system is still responsible for supports required whilst in custody.
The NDIS funds and supports disabilities according to a reasonable criteria. The aged care support sector from the government is different, and offers access to a variety of funding supports.
The NDIS assists with funding for school-based care (including training and supporting teachers). The education system also has funding for disabilities in the school, yet this is separate from your funding allocation.
The Health System
The NDIS is about supporting participants with diagnosed, identifiable and progressive disabilities. The health system is responsible for the diagnosis, dispensing of medicinces and provision of necessary clinical care. NDIS funding may be used for allied health supports and other health services not covered by medicare.
The NDIS is mainly focused on supporting your daily needs, but may also fund supports relating to your employment. They may even assist you in gaining access to the workplace.
Child Protection & Family Support
The NDIS supports families in managing a participant's disability, mainly with ongoing care and respite. The government and community services are responsible for protection and wellbeing issues relating to children.
The NDIS will fund supports that are not clinical in nature and that focus on a person’s functional ability, including supports that enable a person with a mental illness or psychiatric condition to undertake activities of daily living and participate in the community and social and economic life.
So who funds the NDIS?
The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is responsible for the roll out of the NDIS. They make decisions about whether someone is eligible to become an NDIS participant and, if so, how much funding they will receive. This is based on legislation called the NDIS Act 2013 which sets out what supports and services are considered reasonable and necessary for the NDIS to fund.
Find out more about the NDIA.
What are Early Childhood Partners?
The early childhood approach helps children younger than 7 who have a developmental delay or disability. Early childhood partners deliver the early childhood approach. Early childhood partners employ early childhood educators and allied health professionals who help children and their families access supports and services that are tailored to the child’s individual needs and circumstances. Early childhood partners also help with connection to other appropriate supports such as community health services, playgroups and educational settings.
Learn more about early childhood partners.
What are Local Area Coordination (LAC) partners?
Local Area Coordination partners employ Local Area Coordinators (LAC) who help people understand and access the NDIS. They also work with NDIS participants to develop and use their NDIS plan.
For most people aged seven years and older, an LAC will be their main point of contact for the NDIS.
An LAC will connect people with disability to supports, services, activities in their community and other government services. LACs also work in communities to help them become more accessible and inclusive for all people with disability.
LAC partners in the community.
Visit the locations page or call 1800 800 110 to find your local early childhood partner or LAC partner.
What is the National Community Connectors Program (NCCP)?
The National Community Connectors Program (NCCP) was developed for community groups who might need additional support to access the NDIS because of social, cultural and economic barriers.
The four identified communities are:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
- Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities
- people experiencing psychosocial disabilities and
- ageing parents or carers of people with disability.
Community Connectors play a critical role in identifying and engaging with people with disability and their representatives.
Collaborating with LAC and early childhood partners, Community Connectors are able to help participants who require additional assistance to access the NDIS and use their plan.
The NDIS sounds complex, but really is an empowering step forward by the Australian government in suporting people with disabilities. We at Sycamore Health are strong proponents of the scheme, and would love to help you find out more about your eligibility and utility of the NDIS. Please contact the clinic via phone or email to find out more.
For further online resources, access the NDIS government website at: https://www.ndis.gov.au/