According to a 2022 report by The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, one in six Australians is living with a disability. Of those living with a disability, one in three have a severe or profound disability that significantly impacts their day-to-day life. If you are an Australian living with a disability or supporting a person with a disability, you’ve probably heard of it but what does NDIS mean in Australia?
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS, as commonly known) is an Australian government scheme that funds disability support within Australia. The independent statutory agency tasked with delivering the NDIS in all Australian states and territories is the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). The NDIA began operations in 2013 and is a result of many years of discussion about the need for a major reform of the disability services available in Australia.
When someone accesses the NDIS, they become a participant of the NDIS and can expect personalised support from the NDIA. The NDIA will schedule a planning meeting with each participant and involve them throughout the support planning process. When determining which disability services or support should be involved in an NDIS plan, the NDIA will first take the time to understand the participant’s personal goals. Current arrangements will be reviewed before appropriate support is implemented using NDIS funding. The NDIA will enable the individual’s participation at all times to ensure the disability services and any early intervention supports are suitable and desired.
The key benefit of the NDIS is that the individual receiving funding is actively involved in choosing the support they would like. The NDIS aims to change how disability services work by utilising local area coordinators, experienced NDIS providers, and tailored NDIS plans to improve the daily lives of individuals with disabilities. This high level of personalisation provides a better experience for participants, families and carers than they may otherwise receive through the traditional welfare system.
The NDIS may fund reasonable disability support services such as:
To be eligible for funding, NDIS participants must meet the following access requirements:
Eligible people may be pleasantly surprised to know that NDIS funding is not means-tested. If you receive a disability support pension or carer allowance, these payments will not be impacted if you also receive NDIS support.
One of the key pillars of the NDIS structure is that support packages are tailored to each individual. Your NDIS support plan will detail how much funding is available to you.
To enable as many Australians in genuine need of access to specialised services funded through the NDIS, the NDIS has strict guidelines on what it considers a permanent and significant disability.
A disability may be considered permanent and significant if it is:
As well as:
The National Disability Insurance Scheme provides Australians with a disability the means to access life-changing support. If you believe you or someone you know may be eligible for the scheme, consider sending an access request via an NDIS partner office in your area or speak to your doctor about eligibility.
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