NDIS eligibility is based on several criteria including age, residency and disability. There are also specific requirements for children aged 0-9 and people with psychosocial disabilities.

To access the NDIS, you’ll need to complete an access request. This is where you fill out some forms and provide background information so the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) that operates the NDIS can determine if you’re eligible.

We’ve outlined some of the important NDIS eligibility requirements below.

1. Age requirements.

You may be eligible for the NDIS if you are aged between 7 and 65. If you are over 65, support and information is available from other government services including My Aged Care. Take a look at the Support for people with disabilities webpage.

2. Residency requirements.

You must live in Australia and:

  • Be an Australian citizen or
  • Hold a permanent visa or
  • Hold a special category visa (SCV).

If you spend a lot of time overseas, you’ll need to demonstrate strong ties to Australia such as owning a home or having a long term tenancy agreement and having family in Australia.

You might also have to provide information about how often you travel overseas and the duration of your trips.

3. Disability requirements.

You must be able to meet each of the following criteria to be eligible for the NDIS:

  • You have a disability that results in an impairment which affects your ability to perform certain activities.
  • The disability must be attributable to one or more intellectual, neurological, sensory or physical impairments. Alternatively you may have an impairment attributable to a psychiatric condition.
  • You are likely to require support under the NDIS for the rest of your life. If the impairment varies in intensity, such as experiencing chronic episodes, you may still be eligible.

Want to know more about accessing the NDIS? Our latest ebook, Accessing the NDIS: A guide to eligibility and how to apply is designed to make the process easier.

Download your copy of the ebook.

Meeting the ‘disability requirements’.

To access the NDIS, you need to meet both the eligibility and disability requirements.

To meet the disability requirements, the NDIS needs evidence of all of the following: 

  • Your disability is caused by an impairment 
  • Your impairment is likely to be permanent 
  • Your permanent impairment substantially reduces your functional capacity
  • It affects your ability to work, study or take part in social life 
  • You’ll likely need support under the NDIS for your whole life.

For more details, check out the NDIS operational guideline Do you meet the disability requirements?

How does the NDIS assess whether a disability is permanent?

A permanent disability means a disability that is likely to be lifelong and has a substantial impact on your ability to complete everyday activities.

The NDIS may consider:

  • Any reduction or loss in your ability to do things because of an impairment
  • Whether the impairment is likely to be permanent after all available treatment options have been pursued
  • If there are any medical, clinical or other treatments likely to remedy the impairment.

If you meet the relevant eligibility requirements, the NDIS can fund supports that can help reduce or overcome the impact disability has on your daily life.

NDIS eligibility if you have a mental health condition.

If a mental health condition causes a permanent impairment that has a severe impact on your ability to undertake everyday activities, you may be eligible for the NDIS. 

“Mental health condition” is a broad term that refers to symptoms that may be caused by a range of things including life events and genetic factors. A mental health condition can be temporary or lifelong. It can include mood, anxiety, personality, psychotic and compulsive disorders. 

If you have a mental health condition you are not automatically eligible for the NDIS. 

You must provide evidence that: 

  1. You have a mental health condition
  2. The mental health condition causes an impairment 
  3. The impairment is permanent, and 
  4. The impairment causes a disability that substantially reduces your ability to do everyday activities

Learn more about NDIS eligibility if you have a mental health condition by downloading our Accessing the NDIS ebook.

Support for children under 9: The early childhood approach.

The national early childhood approach (ECA) provides support to ensure children aged under 6 with developmental delay or under 9 with disability get the best possible start in life.

You do not have to apply for the NDIS to access supports under the early childhood approach. Some children and their families can access early connections and supports outside of the NDIS. Others will be assisted to apply for the NDIS, depending on individual needs.

Early connections and the NDIS.

Early connections are not the same as being on the NDIS. Children do not have to be eligible for the NDIS to access early connections.

Early connections are also available for a wider range of children in the community regardless of citizenship or visa status.

Early connections can include connections to:

  • Mainstream (government) and community services such as early childhood services, health services and family support services
  • Practical information that is relevant to the child’s development
  • Other families
  • Early supports
  • Apply to the NDIS.

If a child is eligible for the NDIS and the family chooses to complete an access request, assistance can be provided through early connections.

Is the NDIS income or asset tested?

The NDIS is not means tested and does not take into account your income or assets (such as your home or investments) when determining eligibility.

The NDIS was established so anyone who meets the eligibility criteria can access support to help them live their best life regardless of their income or assets.

How to make an NDIS access request.

  • For people aged 9-65: Contact your local NDIS office or NDIS partner. This person can then help connect you to disability supports in your local area or support you to apply for the NDIS if you’re eligible.
  • For children younger than 9: Check out The NDIS early childhood approach for children under 9 for more details and contact your local early childhood partner.
  • If you live in a remote or very remote area, have complex support needs or are in a hospital or justice setting, contact the NDIS for assistance. They can help you apply if you’re eligible. Or you can complete the NDIS access request form.

If you’re just getting started with the NDIS and want to learn more about the new PACE system, visit our dedicated PACE page.

What does Leap in! do?

Leap in! is an NDIS plan manager. We are an independent non-profit organisation that supports NDIS participants to get the most from their NDIS Plans. We don’t make decisions about whether you are eligible for the NDIS but we do help NDIS participants manage their budgets and prepare for their NDIS Plan and Plan reassessment meetings.

When you attend your NDIS Plan meeting, you will be asked how you want to manage your NDIS Plan. Plan management is one of the options. Choosing a plan manager like Leap in! is a bit like having a bookkeeper to help you with the financial aspects of your NDIS Plan.

There is no cost to you for plan management and there are some added advantages such as being able to use unregistered providers. Find out more about Leap in! and plan management

Want to find out more about the NDIS?

Ready to get started with plan management? Sign up to Leap in! online.

Further reading

What is the NDIS?

NDIS terms and what they mean

What will the NDIS pay for?