Mental health conditions and the NDIS: Part 4


Functional capacity requirements: Help with everyday tasks.


Functional capacity is all about your ability to carry out everyday activities. To access the NDIS, you will need to provide evidence that your ability to participate in or carry out specific tasks is “substantially reduced”.

The functional capacity requirements cover the six life skills areas below.


Includes being understood in spoken, written or sign language, understanding others and the ability to express needs.

Social interaction

Includes making and keeping friends, interacting with the community, behaving within limits accepted by others, and the ability to cope with feelings and emotions in a social context.


Includes understanding and remembering information, learning new things, and practicing and using new skills. Learning does not include educational supports.


Describes your ability to move around the home and community to undertake regular daily living activities requiring the use of limbs.


Activities related to personal care, hygiene, feeding oneself and the ability to care for your own health care needs.


The cognitive capacity to organise your life, to plan and make decisions, and to take responsibility for yourself. This includes completing daily tasks, making decisions, problem, solving and managing finances.


A smiling young woman holding a golden coloured cavoodle

The difference between “reduced functional capacity” and “substantially reduced functional capacity”.

The NDIA looks at what you can and cannot do. You will likely have substantially reduced functional capacity in an area if you cannot do most activities related to one of the life skill areas above without support.

For example, self-care includes the ability to shower, dress and feed yourself as well as other basic day-to-day self-care activities like looking after your personal hygiene. If you are unable to complete most of these tasks without assistance from another person, you are likely to have substantially reduced functional capacity in this area.

The following do not meet the definition of substantially reduced functional capacity:

  • Taking longer to complete an activity
  • Doing things a little bit differently
  • Participating in a modified or limited way
  • Not being able to work because of a mental health condition
  • If you are only unable to complete tasks without assistance during acute episodes.


What about existing supports?

It’s important to provide information about any existing supports in place, including details about family members, friends or support workers who help you.

However, the NDIS will look at how you function without support and what your support needs may be into the future.


Types of mental health conditions.

However, the NDIS reports that people living with a range of different mental health conditions are currently accessing NDIS supports.

These include:

  • Schizoid disorders such as schizophrenia
  • Anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and agoraphobia
  • Mood disorders such as bipolar disorder and depression.

The NDIS may also fund mental health supports for people whose primary disability is different to the ones listed above. For example, where a mental health condition is caused by an acquired brain injury.

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Go to the next chapter of the Mental Health ebook > The concept of “recovery”.