National Disability Insurance Scheme

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) supports people with a permanent and significant disability that affects their ability to take part in everyday activities.

What does the scheme do?

The NDIS works with you to identify the supports you need to achieve goals in many aspects of your life. This may include independence, involvement in your community, education, employment and health and wellbeing.

It provides greater choice and control over how and when you receive your supports and ensures you receive the support you need over your lifetime.

It also focuses on early intervention where getting early support can reduce the impact of disability for you or your child.

Can I access the NDIS?

You need to meet the following requirements:

  • have a permanent and significant disability that affects your ability to take part in everyday activities
  • be aged less than 65 when you first access the scheme
  • be an Australian citizen, a permanent resident or a New Zealand citizen who holds a Protected Special Category Visa
  • live in an area where the NDIS is available.

Use NDIS Eligibility Checklist to find out if you can access the NDIS and register your interest.

Where is the NDIS available?

The NDIS has rolled out in all states and territories except Western Australia, which will be fully rolled out by July 2020. To find out more follow these links:

2019 review of the NDIS Act and the new NDIS Participant Service Guarantee

The Australian Government has promised to develop an NDIS Participant Service Guarantee to support positive participant experiences with the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The Guarantee will set new standards for the time it takes for key steps in the NDIS process. This means there will be shorter, agreed timeframes for people to receive a decision on whether they will be covered by the NDIS, for them to get an NDIS plan and to have their plan reviewed. A particular focus will be on children and those participants needing specialist disability accommodation and assistive technology.

View the 2019 review of the NDIS Act and the new NDIS Participant Service Guarantee.

NDIS Evaluation

The independent evaluation of the NDIS was conducted by the National Institute of Labour Studies (NILS) at Flinders University, South Australia. The evaluation has been tracking the roll-out of the NDIS since the Scheme’s start in July 2013. The evaluation was completed in February 2018

The evaluation considered the impact of the NDIS on:

  • NDIS participants, and their families and carers;
  • the disability sector and workforce;
  • selected mainstream services;
  • the wider community

The following reports from the NDIS Evaluation have been published.

The Intermediate Report was used in the Productivity Commission’s review into NDIS costs.

For up to date information about the progress of the NDIS Transition to full scheme, please refer to the NDIS website.

Growing the NDIS Market and Workforce Strategy

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is one of the most important social reforms in Australian history, delivering choice and control for people with disability and driving economic improvements by creating new business and employment opportunities.

Given the scale and pace of reforms to the disability support sector, the Government recognises the need to support business and workforce development while the market transitions and matures. In light of this, the Growing the NDIS Market and Workforce Strategy (the Strategy) outlines the Commonwealth Government’s key priorities to assist an efficient and effective NDIS market and workforce to grow.

The Strategy is organised under four priorities. The first two priorities are focused on NDIS providers, and a further two focused on growing and fostering a capable workforce.

Commonwealth Programs transitioning to the NDIS

The NDIS is being introduced gradually, ensuring a smooth transition for people with disability and service providers. The NDIS will eventually replace a range of Commonwealth funded disability programs. Find more information about programs transitioning to the NDIS.

Australian Government response to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme interim report: Provision of hearing services under the National Disability Insurance Scheme

The Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme released an interim report: Provision of hearing services under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), in September 2017.

The Australian Government welcomes the Committee’s report as part of the Committee’s inquiry into the implementation, performance and governance of the NDIS.

The Committee’s report focuses on the NDIS access criteria for deaf and hard of hearing people, and access to and delivery of, early intervention services.

In September 2017, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIA) released revised access criteria guidelines for people with hearing impairment. The Committee’s interim report welcomes the release of the NDIA access criteria guidelines and notes that the revised access criteria for people aged 0-25 years is consistent with the current practices of Australian Hearing. The report notes that the revised guidelines have been broadly welcomed by stakeholders.

The interim report’s six recommendations relate to issues about the availability of services for people who are not eligible for the NDIS, eligibility criteria for determining access to the NDIS, referral pathways for access to early intervention services, and the adequacy and approach of early intervention reference packages for people aged 0 to 25 years of age.

The Australian Government considered the Committee’s recommendations and supports or partially supports all the recommendations made in the report.

View the Australian Government response to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme interim report: Provision of hearing services under the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Australian Government response to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme progress report: General issues around the implementation and performance of the NDIS

The Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme progress report: General issues around the implementation and performance of the NDIS covers events from 1 July 2017 to 31 December 2018, and provides an overview of activities relating to National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) implementation, performance and governance, as well as outlining the Committee’s activities during the period. The progress report explores issues raised in evidence and considers potential future areas of the inquiry. The second progress report of the committee was released in March 2019.

The 2019 progress report has made 18 recommendations to the NDIA which focus on participant experience, transitional arrangements, disability workforce and NDIA engagement with the disability sector.

The Australian Government recognises the ongoing work of the Committee in reviewing the national implementation of the scheme and welcomes the opportunity to address issues to ensure the NDIS is rolled out effectively and sustainably.

View the Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme progress report: General issues around the implementation and performance of the NDIS.

Australian Government response to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme inquiry: Transitional Arrangements for the NDIS

The Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme inquiry: Transitional Arrangements for the NDIS examines a range of issues affecting participants and providers of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) as the responsibility for disability supports transitions from state and territory governments to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). The inquiry report was released on 15 February 2018.

In the report, the Committee made 26 recommendations covering a range of issues relating to transition of the NDIS to full scheme. These include the interface between the NDIS and mainstream service systems; access, planning, review and support coordination processes; strategies to address thin markets; funding issues; and cultural appropriateness for people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Australian Government recognises the ongoing work of the Committee in reviewing the national implementation of the scheme. The NDIS is designed to assist people with disability to achieve their goals while exercising choice and control, though it is acknowledged that a number of implementation challenges have emerged throughout the transition period. The Australian Government welcomes the opportunity to address issues affecting participants and providers to ensure that the NDIS is rolled out effectively and sustainably.

View the Australian Government response to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme inquiry: Transitional Arrangements for the NDIS.

Australian Government response to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme final report : Provision of hearing services under the National Disability Insurance Scheme

The Australian Government welcomes the Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme final report to the Inquiry into the Provision of Hearing Services under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

As part of the Committee’s inquiry into the implementation, performance and governance of the NDIS, the committee examined how hearing services are transitioned to, and delivered throughout, the NDIS.

In September 2017, the Committee released an interim report containing six recommendations relating to; issues about the availability of services for people who are not eligible for the NDIS, eligibility criteria for determining access to the NDIS, referral pathways for access to early intervention services, and the adequacy and approach of early intervention reference packages for people aged 0 to 25 years of age. The Government responded to this report in March 2018 by supporting or partially supporting all recommendations made in the interim report.

The final report was released on 21 June 2018 and focusses on the objectives and guiding principles of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 and what is the best approach for providing hearing services, particularly for children. This includes how participants access the NDIS; how they are provided with information to inform their decision making about the types of support required, who is best placed to provide those supports, and how these supports are accessed.

The final report’s recommendations relate to the contracting arrangements for the national Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) partners, quoting arrangements for specialist service providers, and the need for a child-first approach in the delivery of services for children with hearing loss.

The Government remains firmly committed to supporting people with hearing impairment, including through the NDIS where it is appropriate. This includes a commitment to ensuring people with hearing impairment, particularly young children, continue to be provided with high quality and timely supports.

The Government partially supports all recommendations made in the final report, noting that Government is continuing to work with key stakeholders, including Australian Hearing, to improve the way people with hearing impairment are supported by the NDIS.

View the Australian Government response to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme final report June 2018.

Australian Government Response to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) report: Provision of Assistive Technology under the NDIS

The Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (the Committee) released a report into the provision of Assistive Technology (AT) under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in December 2018.

The Australian Government welcomes the Committee’s report and recognises the ongoing work of the Committee on the NDIS in reviewing the implementation and administration of the Scheme.

The report made eight recommendations to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and the Department of Social Services (DSS). The recommendations cover a number of issues relating to AT, including:

The Australian Government recognises the transformative power of appropriate AT and has been working to ensure participants have access to individualised AT solutions that enhance their economic and community participation. The NDIA also recognises the importance of listening to and understanding participant circumstances, preferences and goals in the planning and provision of AT under the NDIS.

The Government supports, partially supports, or supports in principle all of the eight recommendations made in the Committee’s report.

View the Australian Government response to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme report: Provision of Assistive Technology under the NDIS.

  • Consistency of information of all aspects of the AT process
  • Funding for the cost associated with trialing AT
  • The length and complexity of the AT application process
  • Outcomes based funding for AT
  • The adoption of a credentialing model for prescribing AT
  • Utilisation of state and territory government capabilities in the AT landscape
  • The NDIA AT delivery model.

The Australian Government recognises the transformative power of appropriate AT and has been working to ensure participants have access to individualised AT solutions that enhance their economic and community participation. The NDIA also recognises the importance of listening to and understanding participant circumstances, preferences and goals in the planning and provision of AT under the NDIS.

The Government supports, partially supports, or supports in principle all of the eight recommendations made in the Committee’s report.

View the Australian Government response to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme report: Provision of Assistive Technology under the NDIS.

Younger people in residential aged care –Action plan

On 22 March 2019, the Government announced a national action plan to take concrete actions to reduce the number of younger people living in residential aged care and to help them access more age appropriate housing and supported living options.

The action plan has the following goals:

  • support those already living in aged care aged under 45 to find alternative, age-appropriate housing and supports by 2022, if this is their goal
  • support those already living in aged care aged under 65 to find alternative, age appropriate housing and supports by 2025, if this is their goal
  • halve the number of younger people aged under 65 years of age entering aged care by 2025.

Read the Younger People in Residential Aged Care National Action Plan.

The action plan builds on a number of important initiatives already announced to reduce the need for younger people to live in aged care facilities.

  • On 16 November 2018, the Government announced the NDIS Complex Support Needs Pathway. This new pathway will support all NDIS participants in aged care, or in hospital settings who are at risk of entering aged care given their need for significant supports and a lack of other accommodation options.
  • On 8 February 2019, the Government announced significant reforms in the Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) space to improve choice and control for eligible NDIS participants, build market confidence and drive stronger investment. This will enable eligible people to have SDA included in their NDIS plans up front.

The action plan acknowledges the rights of people to decide where they live. Under the action plan younger people who are currently living in aged care will only be assisted to move where that is their goal and preference. The action plan also recognises that in limited circumstances aged care may remain the safest and most suitable housing option for younger people.

Independent review of the NDIS Act

In July 2015, the Department of Social Services commissioned Ernst & Young to conduct an independent review of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (Cth). It is a requirement under section 208 of the NDIS Act 2013 that such a review be undertaken two years after the commencement of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The purpose of the review was to assess the operation of the NDIS Act 2013, as well as to consider whether any amendments can be made to better enable the Government to further the objects and principles of the NDIS Act 2013. As part of undertaking the review, Ernst & Young released a discussion paper and conducted public consultations with relevant stakeholders.

The Independent Review of the NDIS Act found that there are opportunities to provide greater clarity to the legislative framework and provided recommendations for consideration. Recommendations included strengthening the Objects and Principles of the Act, providing a more detailed definition of Information, Linkages, and Capacity Building (ILC) within the Act, addressing technical inadequacies of the legislation, and conducting another review in two to three years. Ernst and Young delivered their report in December 2015.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) considered the review’s recommendations and developed a response, which was agreed in December 2016.

View the COAG response to the independent Review of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013.

Supported School Transport

Supported school transport is provided to some children and young people with disability so they can travel to and from school. Currently, supported school transport is delivered by state and territory governments, with different arrangements in place across each jurisdiction.

The Australian Government and state and territory governments have been working together to understand how supported school transport could be provided through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in the future.

National Consultation

The Department of Social Services conducted the Supported School Transport and transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme public consultation between 31 May and 18 July 2018. The purpose of this process was to engage with individuals, families, transport providers, schools, peak bodies and industry groups about whether the current arrangements for supported school transport should continue or whether a potential model for supported school transport could work under the NDIS.

The consultation included face-to-face and written submissions on the discussion paper Supported School Transport and the National Disability Insurance Scheme. This discussion paper asked for feedback on how to make sure that if supported school transport was in the NDIS, it is safe, flexible, affordable and reliable and explored how supported school transport could work in the NDIS in a nationally consistent way.

Outcomes from the Consultation

The consultation received mixed views about the proposed model for supported school transport being delivered under the NDIS, which has indicated that more work is needed to understand these views further.

The Australian and state and territory governments extend their sincere thanks to everyone who participated in the consultation and shared their views about supported school transport and how it could work under the NDIS. All submissions were carefully considered and they will continue to inform the Australian, state and territory governments’ understanding of how supported school transport could be delivered into the future.

Continuity of Supported Transport Services until December 2023

On 10 December 2018, the Disability Reform Council (the Council) committed to involving participants, parents, providers and schools in further development work to identify how supported school transport can be provided to students with disability, either within the NDIS or alongside the scheme. Disability ministers noted the importance of incorporating the expertise of the existing sector in the work ahead and there will be opportunities for future engagement in this work.

While development work is undertaken, supported school transport will continue to be delivered by state and territory governments until 31 December 2023.

Further information on the decision made by the Council on 10 December 2018.

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