How to access the National Disability Insurance Scheme


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The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) looks like nothing we've seen before.

Also some services currently provided by governments may move to the not-for-profit sector, a change that may cause some distress for people with disabilities.

I have a brother with an intellectual disability and even the smallest change to his routine can be difficult for both him and my elderly parents.

how to access national disability insurance scheme ndis

That said, he's been a client of House with No Steps for 15 years, and I'm confident he's in good hands.

While you're getting your head around how this new scheme works, it may at times feel as if you're trying to nail down jelly, so to cut through some of the confusion, here's a step-by-step breakdown of how to get onto the NDIS:

1. Access request

An access request is made to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) by phone or by submitting a form.

Those who already get support from a state or territory government disability program will be contacted when it's time to transition.

2. Support plan

If the NDIA approves the access request, the person has a meeting to plan their goals and the support they need. In most cases, this will be undertaken by one of NDIA's partner agencies, a local area coordinator (LAC). The LAC then submits the plan to the NDIA for approval.

3. Funding

If it approves the plan, the NDIA makes a decision on how much funding the person will receive.

4. Plan implementation

There is another meeting with the LAC to help the person choose where to purchase the supports the NDIA has funded. The plan stays in place for 12 months, after which it can be reviewed.

5. Administering the funds

A decision must be made about how the money will be handled. There are four main options. People (or their parents or nominees) can choose one option or a combination, selecting different options for different parts of their plan:

- Self-managed - a person receives payments from the NDIA and in turn pays for services. - Plan manager - a person has a provider to handle the finances for them. The LAC can put people in contact with organisations that provide this service. - NDIA-managed - the NDIA can handle all the finances if the person chooses. - Automated payments (for transport only) - funds are deposited into a nominated NDIS bank account weekly, fortnightly or monthly.

Who to contact


Visit, phone 1800 800 110 or go to the website for the addresses of NDIS and the LAC offices around Australia.


Visit, phone 132 717 or go to the website for the addresses of Centrelink offices around Australia.

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Anthony O'Brien is a small business and personal finance writer with 20-plus years' experience in the communication industry. He has a Master of Arts from Macquarie University, and has written for Money since 2001.