How do I apply?
There are two different pathways for making an application to the NDIS. Which pathway you follow will depend on whether you are currently receiving any transitioning Commonwealth or State disability supports, or whether you need to apply to the NDIS directly. Select the option that applies to you to find out how to make your application for the NDIS.
My Commonwealth/State disability supports are being transferred to the NDIS
If you're on a government program that's being transferred to the NDIS, the NDIA will provide you an Access Pack and discuss the process of transitioning. When the NDIA contacts you they may complete your Access Request Form with you at the same time. The Access Request Form is your NDIS application.
When the NDIA calls you to conduct your application it'll take about 30 minutes. They may be able to let you know during this conversation if you are NDIS eligible. The NDIA is able to conduct the assessment and make a decision during this call, as they will have the information you or your health professionals have previously supplied to the organisation that was managing the program prior to being transferred to the NDIS. This means you may not have to provide them with any further evidence.
If they require more information before they can make a decision they will give you time to collect the evidence, or they might ask for your consent to obtain the information.
If the NDIA isn't able to decide about your eligibility on the phone, once they have all the evidence they will let you know within 21 days.
If you're assessed as not eligible, you can request to have the decision reviewed. You may have to provide further evidence for this and you will need to request the review within three months of receiving the NDIA’s decision.
Your current supports will continue until your Access Request is processed, so don’t be concerned if the NDIA doesn’t contact you straight away – there’s a lot of people being transferred to the NDIS and it’s going to take some time to contact and process everyone.
I am applying directly for access to the NDIS
If you’re not accessing any transitioning State or Commonwealth disability supports just now, before applying for the NDIS check your eligibility by going to the NDIS website at www.ndis.gov.au/applying-access-ndis/am-I-eligible and completing the NDIS Access Checklist.
If you don’t think you're eligible for the NDIS after you complete the NDIS Access Checklist, you may be eligible to receive disability supports in other ways. Contact the NDIA and they will provide you with a referral for services to contact in your area. If you're living in an area where the NDIS is being rolled out you can also contact the Local Area Coordinator to link you with services in your area. The NDIA can put you in touch with them.
If you think you're eligible for the NDIS after you complete the Access Checklist call the NDIS on 1800 800 110, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask them to send you a copy of their Access Request form and a copy of the NDIS Access Pack.
Once you receive the Access Request form you will have to collect the evidence that demonstrates how you meet the NDIS ‘disability requirements’ or ‘early intervention requirements’. You can ask a family member, friend, support people or other professionals such as a health provider, community or social worker or disability advocate to help you complete the form and/or collect evidence. You can also ask the Local Area Coordinator for support and/or advice about who to go to and how to go about collecting the evidence you need.
What evidence do I need for my application?
The type of evidence submitted with a NDIS application will vary from person to person, but it needs to demonstrate that your disability is likely to be with you for life and that it impacts on one or more of these areas of your life:
- social interaction
- ability to self-manage.
The meaning of ‘disability for life’ acknowledges that a psychosocial disability can be episodic and that the level of support required changes.
Examples of evidence can include: that you may find it difficult or not be able to use public transport due to anxiety; or you find it difficult to build and maintain relationships, friendships or participate in social groups and activities. Another example is being unable to maintain work in paid or voluntary positions.
Most of this evidence will be in the form of reports, letters or assessments from your health or other professionals detailing your disability and the impact it has on your daily life, but you can also include letters from family, friends, and social and community workers as well as other support people in your life who can provide information about how your disability impacts on your life.
If the NDIA calls you and conducts a phone Access Request (NDIS application), you won’t need to collect any further evidence unless you or they identify gaps in how your disability is impacting on you and the supports you will need to reduce these impacts.
The application stage is where you identify the areas of your life that are impacted by your disability and the type of assistance required to reduce or manage this. The planning stage is when you will identify the level of supports you need. And once the NDIA approves your plan you will then choose the support providers you want to provide this assistance.
Collecting evidence involves you and/or the people who provide support to you, contacting various individuals and organisations who have information about you that the NDIA considers as evidence of your disability.
Some of the people might be health professionals, for example General Practitioners, Psychiatrists, or mental health team, who can provide information about your diagnosis and how it impacts on your life.
It will be important that your evidence includes how long you’ve had your disability and how long you’re likely to have your disability.
Social workers, family, friends and carers may be able to provide additional evidence to support your application.
Organisations such as hospitals and Centrelink may also have relevant information about you and your disability.
When you’re collecting information, think about the people and organisations who assist you in living with your disability; they are the ones who might be able to provide you with the evidence you need or who can help you collect the evidence you need.
Examples of types of evidence you can provide
Think about how your mental health impacts on your daily life in the areas below and ask the people you are collecting evidence from to also think about these things:
- Mobility – how difficult is it for you to get around, use public transport, go shopping, leave the house
- Communication – is it easy or difficult to have conversations, understand instructions and directions
- Social interactions – do you find social interactions easy or difficult, what is your level of trust in other people
- Learning – does your mental health impact on your ability to organise, learn new tasks, does it affect your memory, is it difficult to incorporate new information into your life
- Self-management – difficulties in meeting your responsibilities, does it affect your motivation, interest in life, your ability to concentrate and to prioritise, can you manage your finances, tenancy issues
- Self-care – how well are you at being able to manage your physical wellbeing, your diet, to exercise regularly, take care of your personal hygiene and your home.
These are just some examples of the types of evidence you can provide, how you are impacted is what you will need to collect and provide evidence of.