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How to Apply for NDIS: A Step by Step Guide

Embarking on the journey to access the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can be a daunting task. But fear not, we have compiled “How to Apply for NDIS: A Step by Step Guide” to help you navigate the world of NDIS, from understanding eligibility to managing your plan. Let’s dive in and make the complex NDIS process as smooth and successful as possible.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand NDIS eligibility criteria and gather essential documents.

  • Contact the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to initiate an application.

  • Attend a planning meeting, receive your plan, navigate the NDIS marketplace and review/monitor progress through myplace portal or with support coordinator assistance.

Understanding NDIS Eligibility

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a game-changer for eligible people with disabilities in Australia. It provides assistance, including financial aid, for those who meet specific eligibility criteria. Eligibility for the NDIS hinges on meeting the following criteria:

  • Citizenship: Australian citizen, permanent resident, or holder of a protected special category visa

  • Age: Under 65 years old

  • Disability: The disability must be permanent and significantly impact your ability to participate in everyday activities

If you meet these criteria, you have the opportunity to access the NDIS. All you need to do is submit an access request to apply for it!

The NDIS offers various supports for eligible people, such as reasonable and necessary supports like Auslan training and interpreting, as well as assistive technology and devices like flashing alarms. The scheme is based on the principles and objectives outlined in the NDIS Act, which aim to empower participants by giving them choice and control in the pursuit of their goals and support planning. So, if you meet the eligibility criteria, NDIS can open doors to a world of opportunities and support.

Embarking on your NDIS journey begins with a clear understanding of the Australian government’s eligibility criteria. Visit the NDIS website to learn about the citizenship, age, and disability requirements. Once you are confident that you meet these eligibility criteria, you can proceed to the next step of gathering essential documentation.

Gathering Essential Documentation

The NDIS application process requires submission of evidence that verifies your disability and identity, thereby proving your eligibility. Treating professionals, such as doctors, specialists, or allied health service providers, who are recognised by state and territory governments, can furnish evidence of impairments for NDIS eligibility. Children under 6 with developmental delay often require additional support. An early childhood partner can provide evidence to aid in the diagnosis process..

Collecting all pertinent documents supporting your NDIS application, including medical reports, assessments, and proof of identity, is imperative. If you are unable to provide the required identity documents, inform the NDIA, and they will determine an appropriate solution based on your circumstances. You can obtain the Supporting Evidence Form from the NDIS website to be completed by a treating professional, providing additional details regarding your disability or requirement for early intervention during the NDIS planning process.

Submitting your NDIS form and evidence via email is the most efficient way to complete this step, whether you are an Australian citizen or a permanent resident. Once you have gathered all the necessary documents, you can move on to contacting the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to initiate your NDIS application.

Contacting the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA)

Submitting an application for the NDIS involves reaching out to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), either by dialing their hotline at 1800 800 110 or perusing their website. The steps to apply for the NDIS are as follows:

  1. Contact the NDIA through their hotline or website.

  2. The NDIA will ask you some initial questions to determine your eligibility.

  3. If you are eligible, the NDIA will set up a planning meeting.

  4. During the planning meeting, the NDIA will take into account the needs and perspectives of traditional owners and diverse communities.

If you have a significant disability, you may contact your local area coordinator, early childhood partner, or NDIA office for assistance with your NDIS application. In case it is difficult to obtain your treating professional’s completion of the application form in a remote area, the NDIA will be willing to collaborate with you to find a solution.

Setting Up a Planning Meeting

Upon establishing contact with the NDIA, it’s time to arrange a planning meeting with an NDIA planner. This meeting serves as a pivotal platform to discuss your needs, goals, and preferred support mechanisms. To prepare for the meeting, you can use the “Booklet 2 – Creating your NDIS plan”, which is designed to help you articulate your requirements, objectives, and desired support services to the NDIA planner.

A suitable location for the meeting could be your residence, a library, or a community center. Make sure to bring any evidence or documents that can support your requirements, such as medical records, evaluations, or letters from your physician or specialist. With the planning meeting scheduled and prepared for, you are one step closer to obtaining your NDIS plan.

Attending the Planning Meeting

The planning meeting aims to establish a plan detailing the support you necessitate and the funding you’ll receive from the NDIS. If you want, you can have a support person or advocate come with you to the meeting. It’s entirely up to you. At the meeting, be prepared to discuss your support requirements, objectives, and the impact of your disability. You should also provide personal details, information about your community and mainstream supports, and how you manage daily activities.

A checklist of items and documents to bring to the meeting can be beneficial to ensure you have all the necessary information for a successful planning discussion. Remember, this meeting is an opportunity for you to voice your needs and aspirations, so be open and honest about your experiences and challenges.

Following the planning meeting, you will receive a copy of your NDIS plan, outlining the supports and funding you have been approved for. With your plan in hand, you can now decide between self-management or using a registered provider to coordinate your supports and services.

Receiving Your NDIS Plan

An NDIS plan is a document that outlines your requirements, aspirations, and the financial resources you need to achieve your goals. Your NDIS plan will delineate the support services and funding for which you are deemed eligible. It is an individualised document created according to your unique needs. Once you have your plan, it’s time to decide how you want to manage your NDIS funding.

You have two choices for managing your NDIS funding: you can be self-managed, or you can enlist the services of a registered plan management provider. It’s up to you which option you choose. This decision will impact how you access and coordinate your support services and providers.

Self-Management vs Registered Provider

Self-management is an option where NDIS participants have complete control over their funding and can select and engage with any provider, regardless of whether they are registered with the NDIS or not. A registered provider is an entity or individual that has adhered to the requirements and standards established by the NDIS and is recognised by them.

The primary benefit of self-management is that it grants NDIS participants comprehensive oversight of their funding and the ability to select and collaborate with any provider, regardless of NDIS registration. However, self-management can be laborious and require additional effort to manage your NDIS plan. On the other hand, using a registered provider can facilitate the management of your NDIS plan, as the provider will attend to the administrative duties. But, you will be restricted to selecting from providers who are registered with the NDIS.

When deliberating between self-management and a registered provider, consider the following factors:

  • The amount of time and effort you are willing to invest in managing your NDIS plan

  • If you possess the time and resources to manage the plan independently, self-management may be the most suitable option

  • If you lack the necessary time or resources, selecting a registered provider may be the preferable choice.

Navigating the NDIS Marketplace

The NDIS marketplace is an essential aspect of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, encompassing business and employment opportunities, as well as available support services. The Commonwealth Government has identified key priorities to ensure efficient and effective growth of the NDIS market and workforce. These objectives are outlined in the Growing the NDIS Market and Workforce Strategy..

Hearing service providers can register as NDIS providers, expanding the range of available services for participants. The Strategy is organised under four distinct priorities:

  1. NDIS providers

  2. NDIS providers

  3. Expansion of a capable workforce

  4. Cultivation of a capable workforce

Navigating the NDIS marketplace is crucial for accessing the right support services and providers to meet your needs. By understanding the market and workforce strategy, you can make informed decisions about the services you require and the providers you choose to engage with.

Monitoring and Reviewing Your NDIS Plan

With your NDIS plan in place, regular monitoring and review become vital to ensure its continued alignment with your needs and goals. You can contact the NDIS directly or use the myplace portal to do this. A support coordinator can also help you assess your plan budgets and the efficacy of your supports.

Regular scrutiny of your funding on the myplace portal is key to ensuring you’re leveraging the right amount of supports in your plan. By staying on top of your NDIS plan, you can make changes as necessary, ensuring that you receive the best possible support to achieve your goals.

Tips for a Successful NDIS Application

Adherence to these best practices can ensure a successful NDIS application:

  1. Use a recent report as evidence.

  2. Highlight the most relevant information.

  3. Employ standardised tools to validate the levels of support needed, including behaviour support.

  4. Compile pertinent information and documentation.

  5. Cater to your unique support needs.

  6. Familiarise yourself with NDIS funding criteria.

  7. Tackle the application process systematically.

  8. Provide a clear outline of your support and health needs.

By following these tips and seeking assistance from support organisations, you can increase your chances of a smooth and successful NDIS application process. Remember, the key to a successful application is being thorough, organised, and informed.


Navigating the complex world of NDIS can seem overwhelming, but with this step-by-step guide, you are now better equipped to embark on your NDIS journey. By understanding the eligibility criteria, gathering essential documentation, contacting the NDIA, attending planning meetings, and monitoring your NDIS plan, you can unlock the support you need to achieve your goals.

Remember, the key to a successful NDIS application and plan is preparation, organisation, and staying informed. Empower yourself with knowledge, and you will be well on your way to a brighter, more supported future.

Helpful resources to read next


To access the NDIS, it is important to first check your eligibility and then contact the NDIS, complete an Access Request Form, attend a planning meeting, receive your approved NDIS plan, use your plan, and potentially change your plan if necessary.

To qualify for NDIS funding, you must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident aged between 0-65 and have a permanent impairment (physical, intellectual, cognitive, neurological, visual, hearing or psychosocial) that causes a significant disability.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provides reasonable and necessary supports to eligible Australians, offering funding based on individual needs and goals. These may include help with getting out and about, help at home, job support, access to therapies and special equipment, or learning new skills.

You will need to provide evidence of your disability, as well as copies of documents listed in the Evidence of Identity Factsheet provided by the government, medical reports, assessments, and any other relevant documentation in order to support your NDIS application.

The NDIS can make a decision on your Access Request within 21 business days (around one month), once all necessary information has been provided and proof of identity has been supplied.


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