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What Does NDIS Mean?

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?

What does NDIS Stand for?

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.

What’s the NDIS and how Does it Work?

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.

What are the Benefits of the NDIS?

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.

What can the NDIS provide to support people with a disability?

The NDIS may fund reasonable disability support services such as:

  • Therapy services that will help achieve a person’s goals
  • Vehicle modifications that allow an individual to travel in or drive their vehicle.
  • Home modifications which allow an individual to live more comfortably or independently
  • Transportation services to help an individual access mainstream services or community support
  • Services that assist people with disabilities to gain or maintain employment.

What are the eligibility requirements?

To be eligible for funding, NDIS participants must meet the following access requirements:

  • Have a permanent and significant disability that directly impacts your ability to participate in day-to-day activities
  • Be under 65 years of age at the time of first accessing the scheme
  • Be an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident or a New Zealand citizen with a protected special category vis.
  • Live in an eligible NDIS area.

Is eligibility means tested?

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.

How much funding can I get?

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.

What disabilities does NDIS cover?

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:

  • A physical, visual, hearing-related, intellectual, cognitive, neurological or psychosocial disability.

As well as:

  • Preventing or greatly restricting an individual from participating in the workforce, studying or otherwise enjoying wider community participation in activities
  • Significantly reducing the functional capacity of an individual in terms of mobility, social interaction or communication, learning ability or ability to perform self-care or household tasks
  • Being likely to require NDIS support throughout the lifetime of an individual.

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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