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National Disability Insurance Scheme

What is NDIS?

The ‘National Disability Insurance Scheme’ (NDIS) is a new national scheme which enables eligible persons who meet the assessment criteria, to obtain individualised assistance. It is said that about 450,000 people will benefit from the scheme.

The assistance available is generally described as "reasonable and necessary supports". An overview of the NDIS can be found on the official NDIS website.

For more information see the short videos available on the topics of:

  • Overview
  • Access to the Scheme
  • Compensation
  • Plans & Support
  • Appeals Process

Launch phase

The NDIS remains in a launch phase, with a gradual rollout until 2019. Details of the launch sites are available here.

At present the NDIS is available as follows:

  • South Australia for children aged under 6 years;
  • Tasmania for young people aged 15 to 24 years;
  • The Hunter launch site in New South Wales for people aged under 65 years; and
  • The Barwon launch site in Victoria for people aged under 65 years.

Assessment criteria

There are three core assessment criteria for the scheme:

  1. Age (usually under age 65 years),
  2. Residence (usually as an Australian citizen, permanent resident or special category visa holder)
  3. Permanent disability (or a need for early intervention if aged under 6 years) that results in reduced functional capacity, reduced social and economic participation. There must be a likely requirement for support 

Decisions and appeals

Some decisions of the NDIS CEO are identified as reviewable. The first review process is an internal one and sometimes that will be automatic.

An appeal from an NDIS review decision may be made by an application with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. There is no fee payable for the application but costs may be incurred if the  applicant decides to retain legal representation. The AAT has published a practice decision explaining the process of review of an NDIS decision.  

From decisions of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal there is a right of appeal to the Federal Court, at least on questions of law.

More information

Janine McIlwraith, a lawyer from Slater and Gordon, is one of the three authors of a book about the NDIS called "The National Disability Insurance Scheme Handbook". It is published by LexisNexis and is available for order online from the publisher.