Applying to the NDIS

The NDIS is designed to support people with permanent disabilities for their whole life. To gain an NDIS plan, a person must first apply to the NDIS (known as "making an access request"), demonstrating that they meet the entry criteria which are set out by the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013, and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Becoming a Participant) Rules 2016.

Simply put, this means a person needs to be able to demonstrate:

  • they are an Australian citizen or permanent resident aged under 65
  • they have a disability attributed to a medical condition and it is likely to be permanent
  • their disability substantially reduces their capacity to communicate, interact with others, learn, move around or look after themselves
  • their disability affects their capacity to participate in society or the workforce
  • they are likely to need NDIS support for their lifetime.

You can read about the entry criteria in more detail in our guide,

 (check out Part A on pages 2-5).

You can also learn more about accessing the NDIS by taking our Accessing the NDIS training module.

Applying to the NDIS with a mental health condition

Usually, people apply to the NDIS via the NDIS's "Access request form" or ARF; however, this is more appropriate for people with physical and intellectual disabilities.

People with a mental health condition may find it simpler to initiate a "Verbal access request" or VAR, and use the Evidence of psychosocial disability form.

Before using this form you should read

Streamlined access for people with psychosocial disability

which describes the steps required to complete an access request for someone with a psychosocial disability, includes links to a related suite of tools and resources, and includes a handy check list for to use when completing an application.

Resources for applying to the NDIS