Independent assessments - access and eligibility

The access process – what is changing:

  • From mid-2021, people over the age of 7 who meet the initial access requirements of the NDIS will be referred for an independent assessment.
  • We’ll replace processes developed during transition with more consistent and fairer approaches to determine whether a person is eligible for the NDIS.
  • Disability access lists will be removed from the access process. Instead, we’ll use independent assessments to help us work out if someone meets the eligibility criteria of the NDIS.

The access process – what is not changing:

  • People applying for the NDIS still need to provide evidence of their age, residency and disability with their access request form. This includes advice from their treating health professional as to whether their impairment or impairments are, or are likely to be, permanent.
  • Decisions about whether a person is eligible for the NDIS are still made by a person at the NDIA.
  • The NDIS review and appeals processes will not change.

What do the changes mean for me?

Accessing the NDIS and independent assessments

If you have a disability, and think you might be eligible for the NDIS, you can start the access process and provide us with details of your age and Australian residency as well as evidence of your disability. This evidence needs to show that your impairment is, or is likely to be, permanent. 

A person at the NDIA will review your application, and if you meet the initial eligibility criteria of age, residency and permanency of disability, we’ll refer you to an assessor for an independent assessment. 

If you don’t meet the age, residency or permanency eligibility rules of the NDIS, we won’t ask you to do an independent assessment.

Referring you for an independent assessment is the main change to the access process, and we’ll start doing this for NDIS applicants from mid-2021.

After it is completed, your assessor will send your independent assessment to the NDIA, and we’ll use this information to help us make a decision about whether you meet the access requirements of the NDIS. We’ll let you know what the decision is.

If you don’t agree with our decision, the same review and appeals process is still available to you.

The disability access lists

During the NDIS trial and transition period we used the disability access lists to manage the large number of people transitioning from state and territory service systems to the NDIS. We used Lists A and B to help us decide whether someone’s condition met the disability requirements for the Scheme. We also used List D to assist in determining whether someone’s condition met the early intervention requirements.

From mid-2021, we won’t rely on these disability access lists to decide if someone is eligible for the NDIS. Instead, we’ll use independent assessments as part of working out whether you meet the eligibility criteria of the NDIS.

Eligibility reassessments

Once you are in the NDIS, you may be asked to complete an independent assessment from time to time to make sure your NDIS plan and budget are right for you. For example, if you have a change in circumstances that means you need more support.

If your independent assessment shows your functional capacity has significantly improved, and you no longer need NDIS funded supports, we’ll help you to transition from the Scheme. We will assist you to make the most of mainstream services like health and education and ensure you have a smooth transition.

If your circumstances change, and you need the NDIS again, you can reapply to access the Scheme. 

What feedback did you give us on the access and eligibility policy for independent assessments?

We heard from you about how we can make these changes in the most straightforward way, that is easiest for you, your family and carers. To help us do this, you gave us your views on:

  • times or circumstances where a person might not be able to complete an independent assessment
  • what information people applying to the NDIS should provide as part of the access process
  • our process for reassessing a participant’s eligibility for the NDIS
  • anything else you would like to say.

Our have your say page will provide a summary of your feedback in March 2021.

This page current as of
24 February 2021
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