What is the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme is the new way of providing individualised support for eligible people with permanent and significant disability, their families and carers. The National Disability Insurance Scheme is the insurance that gives us all peace of mind. Disability could affect anyone – having the right support makes a big difference.

How will the NDIS work? 

The NDIS will include a comprehensive information and referral service to help people with disability who need access to mainstream, disability and community support. For people who have a permanent disability that impacts on their life, the scheme will provide long term, high quality support.

It will also include intensive early intervention, particularly where there is good evidence it will substantially improve or arrest a decline in functioning. People will be able to decide for themselves how to manage their care and support, and choose how they want to manage their supports.

The level of individual funding and support will be directly related to addressing the impact of a disability on that person’s functioning in key areas of life. An eligible person would be funded on an annual basis to purchase services, aids and equipment from a variety of providers. As a person’s circumstances or condition changes, they will be able to apply to have their funded plan adjusted accordingly.

How will the National Disability Insurance Scheme affect me?

The main function of the National Disability Insurance Scheme will be to fund long-term high quality care and support (excluding income replacement) for people with significant disabilities. All Australians would be covered with about 460,000 people able to receive funding support through the scheme at any given time.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme will also aim to better link the community and people with disabilities, provide information to people, help break down stereotypes, ensure standards in quality of service and encourage best practice among providers.

What services and equipment will the NDIS  provide?

Supports appropriately funded or provided through the NDIS (NDIS Rules for Participants 2013, Schedule 1, 3.5, 3.6)

(a)    Health (excluding mental health);

(b)     Mental health;

(c)     Child protection and family support;

(d)     Early childhood development;

(e)     School education;

(f)      Higher education and vocational education and training;

(g)     Employment;

(h)     Housing and community infrastructure;

(i)      Transport;

(j)      Justice.


When and where does the new scheme start?

From 1 July 2013, the National Disability Insurance Scheme began in:

  • Tasmania for youth aged 15-24
  • South Australia for children aged 0-14
  • the Barwon area of Victoria for people up to age 65 and
  • the Hunter area in NSW for people up to age 65.

From 1 July 2014, the National Disability Insurance Scheme will commence in the ACT, and the Barkly region of Northern Territory. Roll out of the full scheme will commence progressively from July 2016.

Why is the National Disability Insurance Scheme being launched in only a few locations?

Governments are building the scheme in selected locations in the first instance to ensure that the implementation of the scheme is informed by feedback from people with disability, their families and carers, service providers and community organisations.

The new scheme will involve major changes to the way that governments work with people with disability, their families and carers and service providers. Governments want to make sure that they get this reform right so that we build a system that is sustainable over the long term for people with disability, their families and carers.

Launching the scheme in selected locations will provide valuable experience and evidence to inform its further implementation nationally.

Who will be eligible?

Eligibility for individual support packages and financial support depends on:

  • geographic location – you must live within the area where the National Disability Insurance Scheme  is being launched.
  • age – you have to be aged between 0 and 65 years old, except for Tasmania (young people aged 15-24 years old – for the launch period only), and South Australia (children aged 0-14 years but starting in the first year with 0-5 year olds, 0-13 year olds in the second year and 0-14 in the third year – for the launch period only).
  • disability requirement – you will be assessed based on the impact of your disability on functional capacity to communicate, interact socially, learn, move safely around your home and the built environment, manage your personal care and affairs (banking, bill paying etc); and/or
  • early intervention requirement – early intervention supports will be available to achieve a benefit that would help mitigate the effects of your impairment to alleviate or prevent the deterioration of functional    capacity, or strengthen  your informal supports.

People aged over 65 years at the time they request National Disability Insurance Scheme  support will not be eligible. However, future participants can choose to continue with the National Disability Insurance Scheme once they turn 65.

National Disability Insurance Scheme’s website also has an accessible checker called My Access Checker, go to  http://www.ndis.gov.au/my-access-checker you can get an idea of your own eligibility.

To find out more information about the NDIS?

You can find more information online at the NDIS website – http://www.ndis.gov.au/ or contact 1800 800 110.