Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Introduction to disability services and the NDIS

3-minute read

If you are a person living with disability, or if you are caring for someone with disability, you may be able to find publicly-funded services that provide support for you. Depending on where you live, disability services may be available through government agencies, or through a new programme called the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). This page outlines how the NDIS works and where you can find out more.

What is disability?

The word ‘disability’ can mean many different things. To access services through the NDIS or other government-funded schemes, however, you will have to meet some requirements. To be eligible for NDIS services, you will need to:

  • have a permanent or significant disability or developmental delay
  • be a certain age when you apply
  • live in a part of Australia where the NDIS is available
  • be an Australian citizen or hold a permanent visa or a Protected Special Category visa

You can read more about these requirements and how you can provide evidence of disability on the NDIS website.

What is a participant?

People who meet these requirements are called ‘participants’. Carers and family members may also be brought into the NDIS planning process as participants.

The NDIS aims to provide each participant with their own funding for reasonable and necessary supports. Reasonable and necessary supports are defined as those supports that will help you:

  • pursue your goals
  • become more independent
  • participate in social activities and work
  • actively play a role in the community — for example, through having access to sports clubs and libraries
  • enjoy a normal life

As a participant, you will be able to choose your service providers, and how you receive your support. See more here about controlling your own funding through your participant plan. The NDIS website also defines the types of supports funded.

What does transition to NDIS mean?

Because the NDIS is currently being rolled out across the country, the scheme is not yet available everywhere. If you are already receiving support from a state or territory government disability program, your support will continue as usual until you are contacted to move across to the NDIS.

People with disability who are not eligible for the NDIS will continue to receive support services that are consistent with what they are already receiving from the Commonwealth, state or territory government.

You can apply to access the NDIS 6 months before the scheme is rolled out in your area.

How disability services are funded by the NDIS

The NDIS is jointly funded and governed by the Australian Government and the states and territories. The scheme replaces current and former disability support services provided by state and territory governments. The NDIS is run by the Australian Government’s National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

Because the NDIS is replacing state and territory government schemes, and the rollout is taking place at different times across the country, there are some differences between states in the services that are available. To find out more about how the NDIS and disability services work in your state or territory look at the relevant page below.

Last reviewed: July 2018

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Getting ready for the NDIS

The NDIS is a new way of providing support for people with disability, their families and carers. About 460,000 Australians will be supported through the NDIS by 2019.

Read more on Carers TAS website

NDIS - Carers Association of WA

WA to join the nationally-delivered NDIS

Read more on Carers WA website

Carers Tasmania - NDIS & Carers

The NDIS is a new national system supporting people with disability, their family and carers.

Read more on Carers TAS website

Learn more about the NDIS

The National Disability Scheme (NDIS) provides support for people with disability, their families and carers in Australia.

Read more on WA Health website

NDIS and Carers - Carers ACT

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

Read more on Carers ACT website

Carers Victoria - NDIS

The national roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme started on the 1 July 2016

Read more on Carers Victoria website

NDIS Fact Sheet - Carers SA

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was developed to assist people with significant and permanent disability under the age of 65 years, including their families and carers.

Read more on Carers SA website

NDIS Support Coordination - Carers ACT

Many people find it challenging to implement the funded support and services included in their NDIS plan. At Carers ACT, we work to assist you get the most out of your plan and choose the services best able to meet your needs.

Read more on Carers ACT website

National Disability Insurance Scheme: NDIS - NT.GOV.AU

About the National Disability Insurance Scheme, eligibility, NDIS supports and service provider information.

Read more on NT Health website

What is NDIS in WA? - Carers Association of WA

Read more on Carers WA website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo