The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) aims to provide reasonable and necessary support for all Australians aged 65 years and under who have permanent and significant disabilities. It has been rolling out progressively across Australia since 2016. Once the scheme has been fully deployed, it is estimated that over 460,000 Australians will be supported by the NDIS.
The aim of the NDIS is to provide a lifetime support approach, rather than a welfare scheme, to people living with a disability. This may include support with finding employment, improved independence, improved physical and mental wellbeing and community engagement.
There are two main entry points to the NDIS:
- Children aged 0-6 years may access it through the Early Childhood Early Intervention pathway
- People aged 6-65 can access through the general pathway.
To become a participant, you must meet the eligibility criteria. This means you must:
- Have a permanent impairment that significantly affects your ability to take part in everyday activities, or have a developmental delay.
- Be aged 65 years or under
- Live in Australia in an NDIS area (some areas are still waiting for the NDIS to be available)
- Be an Australian citizen or permanent resident, or on a protected special category visa.
You will likely need to provide evidence of your disability, how long it is predicted to last and the impact it has on your life. Your GP or other health professionals may be asked to supply evidence to support your application. They may be asked to comment on how your disability impacts your mobility and/or motor skills, psychological wellbeing, communication skills, social interaction, ability to learn, ability to self-care and manage independently.
It can take a while for your access to the NDIS to be reviewed and approved. If you are approved, there are further planning stages that will determine what kind and how much funding you will receive to meet your immediate needs and to start to identify your long term goals. It is important to remember that the NDIS funds ‘reasonable and necessary support’. This means any funding provided must be linked to a specific goal you have set to improve your quality of life, employment prospects, mobility, social interactions etc. Your plans will be reviewed every 12 months or more frequently if your circumstances change.
Current NDIS Statistics for Victoria as at 31-03-2018
- 31,540 people enrolled and receiving support through the NDIS
- 2210 children aged 0-6 years receiving support through the Early Childhood Early Intervention
- $2.92 billion in funding committed to participant supports to date
- 4177 registered service providers
- 93% of participants have rated their planning process as either good or very good
For more information about the NDIS, or the Early Childhood Early Intervention pathway, the best place to start is the NDIS website www.ndis.com.au. There are a multitude of fact-sheets available, FAQ’s, multi-lingual resources and links to begin the application process.