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01 November 2019

Psychosocial disability and the NDIS.

Here at Leap in! HQ, we are often asked about whether the NDIS can help people who have been diagnosed with a psychosocial disability.

The answer is that the NDIS may cover a psychosocial disability depending on your individual circumstances.

Today, we’ll shed some light on how eligibility for NDIS funding is determined for people with a psychosocial disability.

What is psychosocial disability?

Psychosocial disability is a disability that may arise from a mental health condition.

The term “mental health condition” is used to describe a range of symptoms including personality issues, psychotic or compulsive disorders, anxiety and mood swings. These mental health conditions can be temporary or lifelong.

Not everyone who has a mental health condition will have a psychosocial disability but for people who do, it can be severe, long-lasting and impact on recovery. It can also result in difficulties doing everyday tasks like banking, shopping and looking after yourself.

NDIS eligibility. 

Only people with a long-term disability resulting from a mental health condition may qualify for the NDIS.

In addition to meeting the usual NDIS eligibility criteria (take the Am I eligible quiz on the NDIS website), you’ll also need to meet the following additional criteria:

  • Your mental health condition has caused difficulties in your everyday life, AND
  • The difficulties you experience as a result of your mental health condition mean you will likely always require NDIS support, AND
  • The difficulties you experience as a result of your mental health issue have substantially reduced your ability to do everyday activities.

If you can prove that you meet these criteria, you may be eligible for an individualised support package from the NDIS.

Providing evidence of psychosocial disability.

Applicants must provide evidence of a mental health condition, although the name of the condition itself does not need to be supplied.

While a specific mental diagnosis is preferred, NDIS support is based on the impact of a mental health condition rather than the diagnosis itself.

For example, if someone has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, whether they can access the NDIS will depend on the impact of the condition on their daily life, not the fact they have schizophrenia.

A completed Evidence of Psychosocial Disability form must be provided for an NDIS application to be considered (find out more on the this process on the NDIS webpage Mental Health and the NDIS). The form contains:

  • Current and past treatment information
  • Details about any impairments resulting from a mental health condition
  • Medication and other supports
  • Professional assessments of current life skills and the impact of the condition on your daily life.

The form is designed to be completed by two professionals who work with you and understand your condition, generally a psychologist or doctor, and a support worker.

Impact on everyday life.

When considering your eligibility for the NDIS, the NDIA will assess your ability to carry out everyday activities in six areas of life:

1. Communication

This includes being understood in spoken, written or sign language, understanding others and your ability to express what you need.

2. Social interaction

The ability to make friends, be active in the community, behave in a socially acceptable way and how you cope with feelings and emotions in a social context.

3. Learning

Understanding and remembering information, the ability to learn new things and new skills.

4. Mobility

Moving around your home and community as well as completing ordinary daily activities.

5. Self-care

Being able to care for yourself including hygiene, grooming, feeding and health care.

6. Self-management

This covers things like organising your life, planning, making decisions and taking responsibility.

How does the NDIS decide if an application will be successful?

While it may seem like a lot of work getting all the information together to apply for the NDIS, it is worth spending the time to ensure your application has the best chance of success.

Other things that can support your application include:

  • Statements from family, friends or support workers
  • Documents and assessments given to Centrelink or other departments
  • Completing the My Profile section of the Leap in! app which includes details about you and the impact of your disability on your life. Get a refresher on Using the Leap in! app to prepare for your NDIS Plan meeting.

Your application is more likely to be approved if:

  • You have explored clinical treatment options to resolve the mental health issue, with any ongoing treatment being recovery orientated; and
  • You are likely to need lifelong support to participate in the community and/or work.

For more information about providing evidence of psychosocial disability – check out the NDIS webpage on Mental Health and the NDIS.

Leap in! can help.

If you have questions about whether you might be eligible for the NDIS or need help preparing for your NDIS Plan or Plan Review meeting, give our crew a call on 1300 05 7878 or email