Frequently asked questions

Updated 4 months ago

NDIS access

Are people who have only recently been diagnosed or started seeking treatment likely to meet the access criteria?

People who have only recently begun to experience difficulties with their mental health will likely need to wait until they have explored treatment options before attempting to access the NDIS in order to demonstrate the permanence of those difficulties.

Are there people within the National Access Team (NAT) that have psychosocial expertise to advise on complex access requests?

Yes, some NAT members have specific experience working in clinical and community based mental health services.

There are also support channels and escalation processes to safeguard decision making. NAT staff can involve the NDIA quality team and/or leadership staff to address complex access requests from people with a primary or secondary psychosocial disability.

Can a person who is employed gain access to the NDIS?

Yes. In fact, a key aim of the NDIS is to support people to increase their social and economic participation. At 31 March 2020, 11.9% of the NDIA's employees were living with disability.

The NDIS Participant Employment Strategy states that the NDIA need to create employment opportunities, with a goal that 30% of NDIS participants of working age are engaged in meaningful employment by 30 June 2023. This might include a range of options depending on individual goals; for example paid work, volunteer work or supported employment.

Can a support worker do the VAR on a person’s behalf?

The applicant must be present to do the verbal access request (VAR) and be willing to speak to the NDIA on the phone. A support worker can be there to support them to do this and may be able to answer some of the questions on their behalf after the NDIA have confirmed the person's identity and consent.

If you are working with someone who is not comfortable talking to the NDIA, the easiest option is to download the access request form (ARF) from the NDIS website instead.

Can NDIA correspondence be sent to more than one address?

No. Correspondence, for example requests for further evidence or access decision letters, are sent to the primary contact and there can only be one primary contact. Where possible the participant should be the primary contact, so correspondence will be sent to their postal address, detailed in section A of the ARF. Where the participant has a legal guardian or has nominated someone else to be the primary contact for access (you can do this in part C of the ARF or during the VAR), correspondence will be sent to the primary contact's address.

In the event that a person would like to be the primary contact for their NDIS journey, but perhaps has difficulty remembering to check their mail, they can choose to detail the postal address of a trusted other in section A of the ARF, as there is an option to have a different postal address to the residential address.

Can you explain how consent works during the access process?

When it comes to privacy and consent, the NDIA must follow various laws, in particular the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (Cth). They are also guided by the NDIS core principle of participant choice and control, so it isn’t surprising they take the privacy and consent of participants very seriously.

During the verbal access request (VAR) - or part A-E of the access request form (ARF) - the NDIA will request the following types of consent:

  • Consent for the NDIA to access the person's Department of Human Services records (i.e. Centrelink and Medicare) - this is to confirm age and residency requirements.
  • Consent for the NDIA to request further information from third parties - this is for the purposes of determining whether a person meets the access criteria. This only enables the NDIA to collect information from third parties, not share information it holds.
  • Consent for someone else to speak on the participant's behalf during the VAR - this can be provided at the beginning of the VAR if the participant feels more comfortable for someone else to navigate the VAR for them. However, the NDIA do need the participant to be present and, listen and consent to certain parts when needed e.g. consent and declaration. This consent only lasts for the duration of the VAR.
  • Consent for the NDIA to share information with a particular person, for example, the status of an access request. This type of consent can be provided over the phone during the verbal access request (VAR) or in writing using the ‘Consent to assist with completing an access request’ form. The person will be listed as a contact on the participant's file, and their access to information will be ongoing or for as long as the participant specifies when providing consent. The participant can update their consent at any time.
  • Consent for another person to speak on the participant's behalf for the duration of the access request.  This can be provided in part C of the access request form (ARF) where it says ‘Do not contact me directly. Instead contact:’. This type of consent is usually for when the form is being completed on behalf of a person under the age of 18, or for a person with a legal guardian. Legal guardians will be required to provide their proof of identity and guardianship status. However, participants can choose another person as a representative, for example a friend, family member or support worker. This consent only applies for the duration of the access process, and the participant will be given the opportunity to provide this consent again if they gain access to the NDIS.

For people without a legal guardian or nominee, it may be more person centred to support that person to be the primary contact, rather than gaining consent to speak on their behalf. There will of course be situations where the person absolutely does not want to be contacted by the NDIA and this type of consent is the most appropriate option.

Carer statements - are they helpful?

Carers statements can be helpful at both for the access and planning stages of a person's NDIS journey. They can provide a valuable insight into the care and support a person receives from their informal support networks. In a carer statement, it is best to focus on what the carer does to support the person in their daily life and what the person's ability to do those tasks without support would be. It is best to avoid emotive language as this can make it difficult for the NDIA to properly assess the person's needs. The Carers Australia website has some further resources and information to help carers through the access and planning stages of the NDIS.

Do all treatments need to be completed?

There is no requirement that treatments or interventions must be completed for an impairment to be considered likely to be permanent. However, they must be explored to the extent that clinical recovery is no longer likely, and that ongoing treatment is centred on personal recovery (e.g. supporting the person to live a contributing life whilst living with impairments related to mental health conditions).

The NDIS requires evidence that provides a history of treatment and the rationale relating to any decisions made by the clinician not to pursue a known treatment/intervention option.

Do staff in the National Access Team (NAT) receive specific mental health training?

Yes, the NDIA introductory training includes a session exploring the mental health sector and the unique needs of people with psychosocial disability and. Staff also have access to ongoing eLearning training which focuses on: mental health awareness, recovery approaches to mental health, using recovery language, and how to use the reimagine.today website to support people with psychosocial disability.

In addition to this, NAT staff receive training on using the NDIA's psychosocial disability specific practice guidance when making access decisions for people with psychosocial disability.

Do you need to have a diagnosed mental health condition to access the NDIS?

No, you do not need a specific diagnosis to access the NDIS, although it is helpful. You do need a treating clinician to confirm that you have a mental health condition that results in an impairment which is likely to be lifelong.

Do you need to pay for specialist reports to access the NDIS e.g. OT reports?

In most cases, the NDIA do not expect applicants to pay for assessments or evidence for their access application. Treating clinicians and health professionals eligible can claim a Medicare benefit for providing evidence for an NDIS application if this is done during a consultation with the applicant. If a person has existing specialist reports that add helpful information to their application, they may choose to include them in their application. The NDIA will only request additional information where it is reasonable and necessary to do so, to allow them to determine whether the person meets the access requirements. If the NDIA specifically requests an assessment or examination from an applicant, the NDIA will cover the cost. The NDIA won't cover the cost for assessments or examinations unless directly requested by the NDIA.

Does the EPD have to be completed in conjunction with the access request form (ARF), or is the EPD form alone enough?

The Evidence of psychosocial disability (EPD) form collects information to address the disability criteria but it does collect age, residency and consent information. To provide this, the applicant will also need to complete the relevant parts of the ARF or call the NDIA and do a verbal access request (VAR). Have a look at the how to apply section on our website which steps through the process.

If someone has two disabilities, you can fill out part F of the ARF or the supporting evidence form for their other disability and use the EPD for their psychosocial disability.

From a consent perspective, what is easier - the ARF or VAR?

Ultimately it is the applicant's decision as to what they would prefer. There are pros and cons to both options, but it always helps to have things written down, so we would recommend the following:

  • If you’re assisting someone submitting an application using a combination of the access request form (ARF), the evidence of psychosocial disability (EPD) form and our consent to assist in completing access form request (if the participant wants the NDIA to share their information with trusted others), the table below outlines which parts of the ARF should be completed, depending on the type of consent the person is providing:

Part A

Demographic details of the applicant
Must be completed in full

Part B

Consent for the NDIA to seek information from third parties
Must be completed in full

Part C

How the person wishes to be contacted by the NDIA.
If the applicant wants someone to be the primary point of contact for any correspondence or phone calls from the NDIA, (for example, a trusted person or support worker), they must tick the box ‘Do not contact me directly. Instead contact:’ and specify who the contact will be. There can only be one primary point of contact.

Part D

Representative details - optional
If the applicant selected ‘Do not contact me directly. Instead contact:’in part C, this section must be completed.

Part E

Information about carers and family
Must be completed if applicable

Part F

Information about the applicant’s disability
This section can be replaced by the Evidence of psychosocial disability form (EPD). The applicant should only complete the first box of 4 questions and write ‘See evidence of psychosocial disability form’

Part G

Information about what to do if there is a change in circumstances for the applicant; there is no need to complete anything for this section

Part H

Signature of the applicant that confirms they wish to apply to the NDIS

  • If you’re supporting someone to do the VAR, the NDIS may or may not prompt consent for someone else to be the primary contact or to share information, so be on the front foot, and make sure the participant’s consent preferences are documented on file.

How current does evidence need to be in an access request?

It's a combination, depending on the person, their history and which access criteria you are trying to satisfy. In terms of demonstrating likely permanence, it's useful to have a history of the types of treatments and interventions a person has accessed. When it comes to functional impact, it is important to detail the person's current day to day functioning.

To learn more about completing access applications and what evidence to include, complete our NDIS access and psychosocial disability or NDIS access and psychosocial disability for clinicians training modules.

How do you manage access requests when multiple services are involved?

It varies with each individual's situation. A good place to start is to think about: the information needed to address the access criteria, the person's formal and informal supports, and who is best placed to provide each piece of information. It is a good idea to have someone who knows the person well lead the application, e.g. a support worker. Ideally, this person should understand the impact of the person's disability on their daily life and also be able to liaise with different health professionals to gather the necessary information for the access application. An important part of this role is to make sure the application addresses all the access criteria and explains any inconsistencies in the evidence. The Evidence of psychosocial disability form has been designed to address the disability requirements for people with a psychosocial disability and will help structure the application. A cover letter is also a really useful way to tie the application together and direct the access assessor to the relevant information.

To learn more about accessing the NDIS and putting together an application, complete our NDIS access and psychosocial disability or NDIS access and psychosocial disability for clinicians training module.

How do you obtain evidence for someone who has moved a lot and doesn't have consistent or obtainable medical records?

This can be difficult but there are things you can do. Firstly, talk to the person you are supporting about their history and any services they have accessed. If someone has been in hospital recently, or in any of the local mental health units, you may be able to access discharge summaries. If there are reports on file at a hospital, you can access them via freedom of information processes. The same goes for Centrelink - they may have documents from a DSP application, which can be included as supporting evidence. It doesn't necessarily mean you send everything you find in to the NDIS, but you can take this evidence to the person's new GP and it will help them make an informed clinical judgement. In situations where there is no obtainable existing evidence, you may need to help the person to link in with services and apply for the NDIS at a later date when there is more information available.

How does likely permanence align with recovery practice?

To access the NDIS people will need to show that they have a likely permanent disability and that they have substantial difficulties in at least one domain of daily life. Some people may find this challenging and feel like it is contradictory to the principles of recovery-oriented practice.

However, it is important to remember that recovery is not about ignoring the impacts of mental health conditions, or the potential for impairments to remain across a person's life. Recovery is about recognising that people can lead contributing lives whilst living with mental illness. Confirming that the person’s impairment is likely to remain across their lifetime has no reflection on whether the person has achieved their best possible version of personal and emotional wellbeing.

If you would like to learn more, see our Recovery and the NDIS training module or factsheet for more information. You can also download the NDIS Access Snapshot 3: Recovery and the NDIS from the mental health page of the NDIS website.

How many times can a person apply to the NDIS?

People can apply to access the NDIS as many times as they like before they turn 65.

Reviewing and re-applying for NDIS access is ultimately the applicant's decision.

There will be people who you work with who are simply not eligible for the NDIS and whose support needs can be met by other systems. Continued applications to the NDIS for someone who is very unlikely to meet criteria can have implications for the person's well-being. In these scenarios you may want to chat about linking them in with other supports.

How much evidence is needed for an access application?

There is no set answer, as each person's situation will be slightly different. However, some recommendations to think about when collecting evidence include:

  • Use the evidence of psychosocial disability (EPD) form and access process for psychosocial disability available on our website. This process was specifically designed to help support people with psychosocial disability to access the NDIS.
  • Think quality over quantity. A lot of the time it's not necessarily the types of evidence, rather, it's what those pieces of evidence say and who said them. Consider the NDIS access criteria and whether your evidence addresses them all.
  • For each person, there will only be a specific range of evidence that you'll be able to gather, based on their circumstances and what's actually available. So perhaps a simpler way of looking at it, is not ‘what is the ideal list of evidence’, but rather, ‘what is the best set of evidence I can put together for this person'.
  • Don't include information unless it adds something new to the application as each piece of additional information increases the chances of conflicting evidence being provided which will make it more challenging for the access assessor to determine if the person meets the access criteria

If someone is a permanent resident but not an Australian citizen, are they eligible for the NDIS?

A person meets the residency requirements of the NDIS access criteria if they live in Australia and they are a citizen, permanent resident or hold a special protected category visa.

If you're not clear on the access criteria, take the time to do our access training module. The evidence of psychosocial disability form may also help you to understand the access criteria, within the context of mental health.

If someone's not accepted into the scheme, how can you minimise the distress for them?

It is important to remember that the NDIS is designed to support people who experience substantial impairments and reduced daily functioning as a result of their mental health condition. Not everyone with mental health conditions will have a psychosocial disability; it is estimated that around 10% of people living with severe and persistent mental health conditions in Australia will be eligible for the NDIS. Therefore, it is really important to manage expectations and ensure people understand what their options are (e.g. other supports that might be more suited to their needs, applying again another time) if they receive an access not met decision. This could help to reduce disappointment if an access not met decision is made.

Suggestions to manage distress when someone is found ineligible include:

  • Listening to the person and how they are feeling, acknowledging their distress, and addressing their concerns
  • Discussing whether the person wants to review the access not met decision. If they do want to review the decision:
    • What additional evidence might they need to provide to the NDIS?
    • Who will support them with the review?
  • If they do not want to review the decision:
    • Discuss the alternative support options available, and the positive qualities of these programs.
    • Come up with an action plan moving forward; for example, does the person need to access some additional treatments before re-applying for the NDIS? How will they do this and who will support them?
    • Talk about the person's goals. How can the person still work towards these goals, using community and mainstream supports?

If you complete a VAR, do you also fill out the ARF?

No. The verbal access request (VAR) and the first sections of the access request form (ARF) collect the same information.

The combination of the VAR and Evidence of psychosocial disability form replaces the ARF for people with psychosocial disability if they choose.

If a person does not want to do the VAR then they will have to complete the relevant sections of an ARF so that the NDIA can ensure that the person meets age and residency criteria, and that they consent to the access process.

Is it necessary to include details of trauma history in access applications?

No, it should not be included. Throughout the access process the NDIA requires evidence regarding a person's impairments and conditions that lead to these impairments. However, a person is not required to share any personal details, particularly regarding trauma or abuse, that led to the development of these conditions.

For example, if someone has a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the NDIA does not need to know about the causes of the PTSD, but rather the support and treatment required as a result.

Is it useful to include a support worker letter in addition to clinician evidence?

Yes, support workers often have valuable insight into a person's day to day functioning, particularly when they spend time with people in their home and community. A good support worker letter can help paint a full picture of the true functional impact of a person's psychosocial disability. It can also provide context for the various pieces of evidence, or the application as a whole. See the how to apply page of our website for more information and resources on writing a support worker letter.

Is likely permanence assumed for people with severe and persistent conditions?

No. There are a number of mental health conditions that are generally known to be severe and persistent; these include but are not limited to schizophrenia, personality disorders and major depression.

For the purposes of gaining access to the NDIS a person needs to show that the impairments resulting from the condition are likely to be permanent. Whilst is it recognised that many mental health conditions will remain with the person over their lifetime, the impact or major symptoms of the conditions may be managed with medications and/or therapies.

It is very important not to assume the likely permanence criteria is automatically met when there is a diagnosis of a severe and persistent condition. The NDIA needs to understand the treatment history and likely outcomes for each person on an individual basis.

People with episodic impairment - how does that work for eligibility?

Every person's experience is different, so it is really important to take an individualised approach when thinking about how each person's mental health condition impacts their daily life. Section 24 of the legislation refers to episodic conditions in the NDIS. There is a general appreciation for the varying degrees of severity, and episodic conditions won't stop a person gaining access. However, the system's not designed for people who largely function well and from time to time need to be hospitalised - that's the domain of the mainstream health service.

The NDIS is for people who are from time to time extremely unwell, but in between are still substantially impaired. These people are likely to meet the access criteria for the NDIS, and then extra support can be built into the plan for when they're acutely unwell, taking into consideration mainstream service responsibilities.

To find out more visit the:

  • NDIS website for information on the supports the NDIS will fund in relation to mental health services.
  • Department of Health Website for information on psychosocial supports available outside of the NDIS.

What address should you use in an access request for someone who is currently homeless?

If a person doesn't have consistent accommodation, ask the applicant if they have an address they can use to have their mail safely delivered e.g. a friend's house. The NDIA will also accept an organisation's address if the person is happy for their mail to be delivered there.

What are functional assessments and are they helpful to include in an access request?

Functional assessments document the impact of a person's health condition on their daily functioning and are usually completed by health professionals who know the person well, for example support workers, clinicians or allied health providers. In the NDIS, functional assessments can be used as part of the supporting evidence for an access request. They are also used during planning and plan review to determine service needs.

A functional assessment alone usually does not provide enough evidence to meet the access criteria; however, they are useful alongside evidence from clinicians and other health professionals.

The NDIA's preferred functional assessments for people with a psychosocial disability are:

  • Life Skills Profile (LSP-16)
  • World Health Organisation Disability Assessment Schedule (WHODAS)
  • Health of the Nation Outcome Scale (HONOS)

The Evidence of psychosocial disability form (EPD) includes the LSP-16 functional assessment tool.

It is important that anyone who uses these assessment tools completes the relevant training and understands the use of the tools in the NDIS context. See our WHODAS and LSP resource for more information, including links to training.

What happens if the NDIA request further evidence before making an access decision?

Sometimes the access assessor will need more information to determine if a person meets the access criteria. This can happen if the person:

  • Didn't provide information about their age, residency or consent
  • Didn't provide enough information about their for the NDIA to make a decision
  • Provided confusing or conflicting evidence of disability that requires further clarification.

In this situation, the NDIA will send a letter (usually to the person who made the request) to ask for more information. It is important to respond to these requests within the timeframe specified in the letter, otherwise the access request may be withdrawn. You can either respond by:

  • providing the NDIA with more information, if possible.
  • letting the NDIA know you can't provide more information, and asking them to make a decision based on what you've already given them

If you need more time to gather additional information, get in touch with the NDIA to extend the request.

What happens once an access application has been reviewed and a decision made?

The NDIA will send the person a letter telling them the outcome of their access application. This letter includes information for next steps depending on the outcome.

If the person is found eligible for the NDIS, an NDIA planner or LAC will contact them to arrange a planning meeting. You can find out more about the planning process on the NDIS website.

If the person doesn't meet the access criteria it means that they cannot receive an individual NDIS funding package at this time. Options from here are:

  1. Access alternate supports
    Talk to an LAC or other support networks for information about other available funded supports and mainstream services.
  2. Review the decision
    If the person disagrees with decision, they can ask the NDIA for an internal review within 90 days of receiving the decision. If the person chooses to review their access decision, they will likely need to provide further information to the review team. This might include new evidence, or further clarity regarding some of the evidence included in the original application. It is a good idea to call the NDIA assessor who made the original decision and ask what information could help at review. There is more information on internal reviews on the NDIS website.
  3. Re-apply
    If a person has new evidence about the impact of their disability on their everyday life, or their situation changes, then they may consider re-applying for the NDIS at a later stage. It is worth noting for people who re-apply, all documentation from previous NDIS applications remains on their file and could be reviewed as part of the access assessment.

What if the person doesn't have insight into their impairment or their functioning? What about when the person and their carer have different views?

This can be common for people with mental health conditions. The main thing to focus on is how to provide an accurate picture to the NDIA and work with the person to ensure they understand why this is required.

A carers statement can be helpful. It can state what the carer does for the person and what the person's day would look like without that support. The carer's statement is a good way to unpack that difference between what the applicant is saying and the reality of their support needs. If there is no carer, a support worker letter can help as well. If the carer statement is vastly different from the person's own statements, the support worker letter could describe why this is the case.

Secondly, functional assessment tools can help to highlight a person's difficulties. The LSP-16 (included in the EPD form) can be completed without the person present if the worker knows the person well. There is also the proxy-rated version of the WHODAS [another functional assessment tool], which has been validated for scenarios like this. You could include the proxy WHODAS in combination with the participant rated WHODAS and then explain in the evidence for access why you did the proxy version and why there is a difference.

What is the access process?

Completing an access application broadly falls into 3 steps:

  • Confirming the applicant's age and residency, and providing consent for the NDIS to seek information from third parties. This information can be provided to the NDIA on the phone (called a Verbal Access Request, VAR) or by completing the relevant sections of an Access Request Form (ARF).
  • Collecting evidence of disability. This can be provided using the Evidence of psychosocial disability form (EPD) or access request form (ARF). The EPD is the preferred evidence form for people with psychosocial disability.
  • Submitting the application by mail or email. The NDIS should make a decision within 21 days, as per the NDIS Act 2013. If the NDIA can't make a decision based on the information provided, they may send a letter requesting more information before making a decision.

To learn about the access process in detail visit the how to apply section of our website, where you will find a wealth resources, including a step by step guide to completing the access process. You can also go to the NDIS's how to apply page.

What language should be avoided in an access application?

Choosing what language to use can be tricky, particularly when you are used to phrasing things in a more positive, recovery focused way. For access, it is important to use language that is clear, concise and doesn't leave any room for misinterpretation. Always keep the access criteria in mind and use language that aligns with the requirements. Avoid language that sounds episodic or not substantial e.g. 'when unwell', 'on bad days', 'lacks motivation'. Focus on describing difficulties the person faces every day as a result of their disability.

You can still use recovery-oriented language though. See our Recovery and the NDIS training module and accompanying factsheet for more information about writing for access in a way that is consistent with recovery practice.

What psychosocial supports are available for people who are not eligible for the NDIS?

People with severe mental illness who are not best funded through the NDIS may be eligible to receive support through a range of Australian Government psychosocial support services. For more information on mental health supports outside the NDIS visit the Department of Health website.

What should be considered when preparing an access request for someone with a co-existing alcohol and other drug use (AOD) use?

Access to the NDIS for people who are currently misusing alcohol or drugs is difficult. The NDIA need to be confident that the functional difficulties result from the mental health condition and are not a result of current AOD misuse. Identifying that the substantially reduced capacity is due to a permanent mental health condition, not substance/alcohol abuse usually occurs through:

  • functional assessments or reports about function from a time when a person was not using AOD (e.g. an inpatient facility, extended hospital stay, rehab clinic)
  • statements from clinicians that confirm the disability exists independently of AOD misuse (e.g. the person was diagnosed with likely permanent mental health conditions prior to AOD misuse)
  • neuropsychology assessments - these can document impaired brain function that is likely to be permanent. Access to these types of assessments will not be feasible for everyone and can be costly. If applicable, consult with a neuropsychologist about the potential use of an assessment for access purposes prior to proceeding down this path.

What should be considered when preparing an access request for someone with both psychosocial disability and co-occurring physical conditions and/or disabilities?

When people have more than one condition, the NDIS needs to be able to separately assess each condition to determine which one(s) result in a disability. A person may therefore gain access on one condition, but not another, or could gain access for both.

Many people who apply to access the NDIS will have multiple health conditions, some of which will be the responsibility of mainstream health services and not the NDIS. You need to make sure the access request focuses only on the conditions that result in disability.

To learn more on completing access applications for people with co-occurring conditions and/or multiple disabilities, see our two access request mock case studies and NDIS access and psychosocial disability and NDIS access and psychosocial disability for clinicians training modules.

Who can provide evidence to support an access application?

This will depend on the person, their situation and support networks. Collecting information for an access application broadly falls into two key areas: clinical evidence and functional evidence.

The clinical evidence, that is, information about the person's mental health condition and the likely permanence of the condition, is normally provided by a treating clinician e.g. psychiatrist or GP, who is qualified to diagnose and treat mental health conditions. The NDIA will also accept evidence of likely permanence from other clinicians e.g. clinical psychologists and/or clinical mental health nurses, where GPs or psychiatrists are not available.

The functional evidence is about how the person's mental health impairments impact their daily life. A description of a person's impairments is best provided by a suitable health professional who knows the person well, for example a community support worker, allied health worker or clinical mental health worker. A GP or other treating mental health clinician can then verify this information.

The NDIA does consider individual circumstances and look at the evidence holistically when assessing an application. For example, people living in rural and remote regions may follow different treatment programs and/or have a different treatment team than people in urban areas. It is helpful to explain this when providing evidence to help the assessor understand the context in which the evidence was gathered.

To learn more on completing access applications and what evidence to include, complete our NDIS access and psychosocial disability or NDIS access and psychosocial disability for clinicians training modules.

The NDIS website provides some useful information on providing evidence of disability, including who can provide it and what is considered good evidence.

Who decides who can access the NDIS?

Decisions about who can and cannot access the NDIS are made by access assessors in the NDIA National Access Team. Access assessors are trained in understanding NDIS legislation and applying it. They are not medical professionals, so they rely on information provided by medical professionals to address the access criteria. Therefore, evidence from clinicians plays such a critical role in access. The access assessor needs to be sure that the person meets each access criterion, so it is important that the evidence provided is clear, concise, addresses the relevant criteria and clarifies any inconsistencies or conflicting information.

Will people who choose not to follow their medication regime or to adhere to the treatment recommendations have difficulty gaining access to the NDIS?

The NDIA understands that, due impairments relating to their psychosocial disability, some people may choose not to follow or not to engage with treatments for various reasons.

If a patient chooses not to take medications prescribed for their mental health they may still be able to access the NDIS if it can be demonstrated that when the applicant is fully treated and stabilised (e.g. when they are taking their medication) they still experience substantial impairments.

Furthermore, there may be times when treatments that have been recommended (pharmacological or therapy) are not suitable (e.g. culturally or otherwise) for the person, or, due to the nature of their mental health condition, they are unable to engage with these therapies. In these instances, it is helpful to document why a treatment or therapy was not suitable, and whether there are further suitable therapies that would remedy the impairments.

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Last updated Jul 11 2024 11:59 PM CST