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19 August 2020

NDIS eligibility: The basics.

The National Disability Scheme (NDIS) is designed to support people with a permanent and significant disability to live their life the way they choose.

But who is eligible and how do you apply? To be eligible for the NDIS, you need to meet certain criteria.

You may already be an NDIS participant and not need the information below. However, if you are thinking about applying for the NDIS or know someone who should apply, then let’s take a look at the main requirements so you have a better idea of where to start.

Who is eligible for the NDIS?

To enter 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 criteria below.

1. Age requirements.

You may be eligible for the NDIS if you are aged between 7 and 65. See below for information for children aged 0-6.

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 such as communication, learning, mobility or self-care.
  • 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.

More information about the disability requirements is available on the NDIS website.

NDIS Eligibility - The Basics

Assessing your NDIS eligibility: Support needs.

In assessing your eligibility, the NDIS will consider the following criteria in relation to your support needs:

  • Do you need support from a person because of a permanent and significant disability?
  • Do you use special equipment because of a permanent and significant disability?
  • Will providing some supports now reduce your future needs?

It’s helpful to think about how you might address these requirements before completing your Access Request.

Providing information about your disability.

The NDIS may require you to provide evidence of your disability. This can include information on what your disability is, how long it will last and how it impacts your life. If the information you provide initially is not enough, you may be asked to provide further details.

Find out more about providing evidence of your disability.

For children aged under 7.

The NDIS supports children aged 0 to 6 who have a developmental delay or disability under its Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) program.

Early Childhood Partners throughout Australia deliver ECEI which supports families to help children develop the skills they need to take part in daily activities and set them up for the best possible outcomes throughout their life. This may include connecting you to supports in your area or providing short-term early intervention.

Your Early Childhood Partner will help you to request NDIS access if your child requires long-term early childhood intervention supports.

For more details, check out our story on ECEI.

No income or assets test.

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

Leap in! can help.

We help thousands of NDIS participants and their families to manage their NDIS Plans with confidence. If you’d like more information or would like to arrange a free pre-planning session in readiness for your NDIS Plan meeting, simply call us on 1300 05 78 78,  chat online via our website or email

Further reading

Early Childhood Early Intervention.

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