The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is Australia’s first nation-wide scheme designed to provide comprehensive services to over 460 000 Australians in need. The scheme is still in its relative infancy, having only commenced its national roll-out in July 2016. Devised by the Gilliard Government in 2012, the NDIS passed Federal Parliament in early 2013 and is steadily growing in scope and efficiency. However, a lot of people may be unaware of the eligibility criteria or who to get in touch with regarding various support services. If this resonates with you, make sure you read on.
How old are you?
If you are aged between 7 and 65, you are eligible for occupational therapy for children Sydney – if you have a disability or handicap. If you are over the age of 65, you can still access other support services, like the National Advocacy Network Australia or the National Disability Advocacy Program. There are also other services, external to the federal scheme, which can assist disabled people with housing and home modifications, like Home Modification Australia. My Aged Care is another service that is widely used by older Australians with disabilities.
Children under the age of 7 with disabilities are offered personalised services in accordance with the NDIS platform. Known as the “Early Childhood Early Intervention”, the ECEI model supports families with young disadvantaged children, helping them develop personal skills, autonomy and independence in daily activities.
Do you live in Australia?
Because the scheme is a nationalised program, the services provided are only available to those born in Australia, Australian citizens or those with an Australian residency (including Permanent or Special Category Visas).
Do you require consistent support from an individual?
If you require consistent help from a social worker, occupational therapist, a guardian or a carer, then you are likely eligible for NDIS-related services. However, even if you don’t require consistent attention, you may still be eligible for the scheme. This part of the criteria is largely determined by National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), which is the primary statutory body that evaluates a person’s eligibility in accordance to several standards. For example, the support provided to the person needs to be considered as “reasonable and necessary”, which is generally achieved if the following is met:
- the support must be directly related to the person’s handicap
- there must be a high degree of likelihood that the support provided will be successful
- unnecessary costs (like travel and grocery costs) cannot be subsidised financially by the services
- the scope of the service provided needs to be predicated on what other services are available to the individual (family, social workers, guardians, carers)
Do you use or require special equipment?
Assessing this point is very similar to the previous step. It is very much up to the discretion of the NDIA when coming to a decision. If you require a wheelchair or some form of physical supports when in your home or driving, then you are likely eligible for the NDIS. This could be anything from support rails, ramps (instead of stairs) or any other form of home modifications. However, just because you may not require equipment doesn’t mean you are ineligible. It just means that you are likely entitled to a smaller, reduced set of support services included in the NDIS framework.
Do you need support now to minimize your future needs?
Finally, if you believe that receiving support now will minimize your needs in the future, then you may be eligible for the NDIS. However, if the answer is no, there may be better, more effective ways to support you with your disability. Be sure to check out other support services available to you online.