If you have recently joined the NDIS, you’re quite likely trying to make sense of all the bureaucratic language and understand how this scheme actually works. Here it is, in a nutshell.


The abbreviation, NDIS, stands for the National Disability Insurance Scheme and it is the system through which people with disabilities receive support.


In Australia, there are currently around 4.3 million people living with a disability. This scheme, the first of its kind, is designed to give all Australians peace of mind if they, their child or a loved one, is born with, or acquires a permanent and significant disability, will receive the support they need.

People aged seven to sixty-five, who live in Australia and have Australian residency, are eligible to apply for support under the scheme.


Under the scheme, a disability is considered permanent if it is likely to be lifelong and have a substantial impact on your ability to complete everyday activities.

A disability can include a physical, intellectual, sensory, cognitive or psychological deficit. It may also include children with developmental delays who require early intervention support.


Prior to the introduction of the NDIS, many people living with serious disabilities were reliant on ad hoc welfare payments and facing uncertain futures.

This scheme is entirely separate to the Commonwealth welfare system and is designed to give participants and their families the assurance of ongoing financial support so they can access the support and care they need to live independently and with dignity.

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA)

The National Disability Insurance Agency is an independent statutory agency and its role is to implement the goals of the NDIS.

The NDIA makes decisions about whether a person is eligible to become participant under the scheme, and, if so, how much funding they’re entitled to. These decisions are based on the NDIS Act, which sets out what supports, and services are considered reasonable and necessary for the scheme to fund.

As this is a nationally based scheme, all states and territories are involved in decisions relating to the scheme’s policy, funding and governance.

The NDIA is responsible for managing all the funds allocated by the Commonwealth, states and territories. These funds are held in one in one large pool and it is the job of the NDIA to administer access and approve payment of individualised support packages.

The NDIA is managed by a board made up of experts from the health and disability sector, as well as business and finance professionals. The board also receives specialist advice from the National Disability Insurance Scheme Independent Advisory Council.

Under the legislation, the chief executive officer of the NDIA, in consultation with the board, has the power to make decisions in relation to the operation of the scheme.

Those powers are quite broad and include the following:

  • Access decisions relating to whether a person does or does not meet the access criteria to become a participant in the NDIS, including the revocation of a person’s status as a participant.
  • Planning decisions relating to the approval, suspension and review of a participant’s plan, including approving reasonable and necessary support.
  • Decisions relating to the approval or revocation of a care provider’s registration.

Apply for the NDIS

Applying for the NDIS is an easy process – though you often require quite a lot of supporting evidence from medical professionals. It’s best to start the process as soon as you can! If you would like further information, speak to one of our Care Advisers on 1300 036 028.