What is the National Disability Insurance Scheme?

Note: the translated versions of the brochure may contain slightly out-of-date information; we are working on preparing new versions.

The NDIS supports people with a permanent and significant disability that affects their ability to take part in everyday activities.

We will work with you to identify supports you need to live your life. Supports may help you achieve goals in many aspects of your life, including independence, involvement in your community, education, employment and health and wellbeing.

The NDIS gives you more choice and control over how, when and where your supports are provided, and gives you certainty you will receive the support you need over your lifetime.

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

For people who access the NDIS (participants)

If you are able to access the NDIS as a participant, we will look at the supports you currently receive and how well they are working for you. This may include your family, friends, mainstream or other community services.

If required, the NDIS will also fund reasonable and necessary supports that help you achieve your goals such as therapies, equipment, home modifications, mobility equipment, taking part in community activities or assistance with employment.

A plan of supports tailored to your individual needs will be developed to help you achieve your goals. This could include your existing supports if you are happy with your arrangements and if they meet your needs and goals.

Note: NDIS provides disability support. Assistance from the NDIS is not means tested and has no impact on income support such as the disability support pension and carers allowance.

For people who need some assistance

Anyone with or affected by disability can ask us for information and referrals, including families and carers of people with disability.

This can include better access to information about the most effective support options, links to local support groups, clubs and programs, or referrals to relevant community services and supports.

For families and carers

We work with families and carers to make sure the support they give can be sustained.

We consider the carer’s role when developing plans with participants including the support they provide, other responsibilities, and their own life plans.

We also recognise some people with disability may want the support of family and carers to make informed decisions, and we value their views, knowledge and experience.

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 a trial site location (during the trial)

Use the NDIS Access Checklist to find out if you might be able to receive assistance from the NDIS and the next steps.

For people living outside a trial site, existing national and state-based services and supports will continue until the NDIS is introduced in your area or extended to your age group.

Next steps

Once the NDIS has confirmed you can access the scheme, a planner will arrange to meet with you.

Together, you will discuss your needs, goals and aspirations and the supports you currently receive.

This may take more than one meeting and you can bring someone with you for support.

Using this information, your planner will then develop a plan of supports that best meets your needs and your goals.

Where is the NDIS?

The NDIS is being trialled in the following locations because it is a big change to the current system and we want to get it right. The scheme will be rolled out nationally from 2016.

  1. Barwon region, Victoria
  2. Nepean Blue Mountains area, New South Wales (for children and young people aged under 18 on 1 July 2015)
  3. Newcastle and Lake Macquarie areas, New South Wales
  4. South Australia (age 13 and under on 1 July 2014)
  5. Tasmania (for people age 15–24)
  6. Australian Capital Territory
  7. Barkly region, Northern Territory
  8. Perth Hills area, Western Australia

For more information

Contact us


This publication, with the exception of logos, trademarks, third party material and other content as specified, is licensed under Creative Commons CC NC licence, version 3.0. Full details of these licence conditions are available at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/au/.

Note that you may not use or reproduce in any way any logos, trademarks, material provided by parties other than the NDIA without prior written approval from the NDIA or the third party owner of other material.


This document provides general guidance about the operation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) as at the date of publication and is for general purposes only.

The NDIA is not providing professional advice and users should obtain their own advice if proposing to make decisions based on this document. NDIS does not accept any liability caused directly or indirectly by any error or omission in this document or arising from any action taken by any person in reliance upon it.

Published Date: 

15 August 2014