Your NDIS Application was Unsuccessful – What Next?

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ACON’s NDIS Guide for LGBTQ+ People was formerly known as Queerability.

In this section: 

The NDIS application process is lengthy and overwhelming. To go through the process, wait for a response, then have your application declined can be frustrating and upsetting – but it’s not the end of the world, and it doesn’t have to mean the end of your NDIS journey.  

It is not unusual for your application to be declined the first time you apply. However, it can be upsetting to spend time (and money) on an application for NDIS access, and to be hoping to use NDIS supports, only for your application to be declined.  

If your NDIS access request is declined, it doesn’t mean that you don’t qualify or wouldn’t benefit from support and remember, it’s not personal.  

If you applied for the NDIS prior to July 2022 and were rejected on the grounds that the nature of your disability is episodic or fluctuating, you may want to reapply – the NDIS has updated its criteria for NDIS participants to recognise that some conditions (including psychosocial disability) may be episodic or fluctuating.  

If your initial application for the NDIS is declined, you may want to talk to a disability advocate or have a support person review your initial application to check it fulfils the NDIS criteria. You can find a disability advocate here. 

Please remember you are entitled to a disability advocate who by law;  

  • is neutral and not a part of the Agency, NDIS providers and other services to the person with a disability  
  • ensures the voice of the person with a disability is centred with their rights to choice and control protected   
  • acts at the discretion of the person with disability's wishes, will preferences and rights

If your application was declined because of insufficient evidence, you can decide to reapply for the NDIS. If you believe you’ve provided evidence to show you fulfil all the NDIS access requirements, you may also wish to appeal the initial NDIA decision.  

Reapplying for the NDIS

“If you get knocked back the first time, try again” – Robin (they/them), is a multiply disabled wheelchair user.  

 You can reapply for the NDIS as many times as you want. It may be that your initial application was declined because you didn’t provide enough evidence of the impact of your disability on your life. You can take a look at the types of evidence the NDIS accepts, with a list of treating health professionals that the NDIS considers most appropriate to deliver the standardised assessments which are considered “best practice” in considering the functional impact of disability.  

It’s important to note that some of the most common reasons for an NDIS applications to be declined include applicants not providing sufficient evidence that their disability is permanent, or that they have tried all available treatments; and failure to demonstrate the functional impact of their disability on their daily lives. You can see our section on applying for the NDIS for more information on how to provide evidence to the NDIS. 

You can re apply as many times as you want but you cannot submit another application while awaiting an outcome on your previous application.  

It’s important to remember that you can never have too much evidence, only too little.   

As well as providing additional reports and evidence, there are other ways you can strengthen your application if it has been rejected for the first time, such as emphasizing the effects of your disability on your functional capacity. 

 “When I decided to reapply for NDIS access, luckily I consulted with a number of organisations and friends who gave me a lot of advice about how to re-orient my application. My second application was a lot more detailed; I put together a rough budget of the therapies I’d need over a year, how many hours and how much it would cost.” – Finn (he/him), lives with Cerebral Palsy.  

Appealing a Decision by the NDIA

Whether you wish to reapply for NDIS access or not, you have the right to appeal any decision the NDIA makes about you. The first step is to lodge an appeal with the NDIA for an internal review. You need to do this within 3 months of receiving notice of the decision.  

You can ask for a review by: 

  • submitting a written request to: 

Chief Executive Officer  
National Disability Insurance Agency  
GPO Box 700  
Canberra ACT 2601  

  • talking to someone at an NDIA office. 
  • calling 1800 800 110. 

In your appeal, you need to tell the NDIA why you think their initial decision was incorrect. Explain the evidence you provided in your initial application and how you believe it meets NDIS requirements.  

The Appeal Process 

  • Once you submit an appeal, a staff member who wasn’t involved in the original decision will review the decision-making process behind your application. 
  • This staff member will then let you know if they have decided to agree with the original decision, vary the original decision, or overturn it and make a new decision. 
  • If you don’t agree with the results of your NDIS appeal, you can lodge an appeal with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). You can find more info on the AAT here. 
  • After you lodge an appeal, the AAT will call you to let you know the next steps. They will ask you for any relevant documents and send you a copy of the documents the NDIS has about you. 
  • Usually, the AAT will then arrange for a case conference. A case conference is an informal meeting between you and a representative from the NDIA, conducted by an AAT Conference Registrar or Member. 
  • The AAT does not make a final decision at the case conference; it is a chance for you and the NDIA to come to an agreement. 
  • If you can’t reach an agreement at the case conference, the AAT will tell you what will happen next. They may ask you or the NDIA for more information, and arrange for you and the NDIA to attend a formal hearing, where the AAT will make a final decision. 

The appeal process can seem stressful or daunting. It’s a good idea to have a support person. This can be someone you know, or an advocate from a disability support organisation – check our resources section for a list of people who can advocate for you.  

In this process it’s very important you are able to:   

  1. Prove what you’re asking for is “reasonable and necessary” for you. Argue that what you are asking for is the best “value for money”. This means explicitly saying what you have tried and why it’s not best value for money long term. 
  1. Most importantly, state the risks to your health and wellbeing if funding is not approved while framed in terms of functional capacity. 
  1. Get a Disability Advocate – see the section at the top of this page for more information on disability advocates.  

Other Avenues of Support

If you don’t qualify for the NDIS or decide not to apply, there are other avenues of support, although these options may be limited. The NDIS Review Interim Report acknowledges that there are limited community supports for all people with disability. This recognition demonstrates how impactful advocacy from people with disability can be.  

The Federal Government runs Disability Gateway, which provides a single point of contact to locate and access services and support in local communities. You can also access information, advice and links to support services via People with Disability Australia’s Information and Referral Service 

Other support options, depending on your needs include:  

If you aren’t already connected to LGBTQ+ disability community support or social groups, they can be a great avenue for finding support and connection. Our communities are often amazing places where we can access and practice mutual aid and radical care. You can read more about mutual aid here.  

Dealing With Rejection

Rejection is hard and can be emotionally taxing. It is important you engage in self-care when it comes to rejection. Here are our three bits of advice:  

  • Acknowledge how you feel Rejection hurts, especially when you put in so much effort. It's important to recognize how you feel and to sit with your feelings.  
  • Shift perspective - Remember you're dealing with a difficult and broken system which isn't accessible. The problem is not you. Remind yourself of your strengths.   
  • Engage in your community and in yourself  - You are part of a very diverse and vibrant community, most of whom know exactly how you are feeling. Engage in hobbies and habits that serve you positively.  
  • Reach out - If you are struggling emotionally, you can contact QLife, which provides dedicated phone and online counselling for LGBTIQ+ people. QLife is available by phone on 1800 184 527 or via Webchat between 3pm and 11pm, 7 days a week.  

ACON also provides free or low-cost counselling for LGBTQ+ people and people living with HIV in NSW; you can find more information and the intake form here 

In an emergency, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or 000. 

Find out more about the NDIS Journey

Is the NDIS right for you?Your NDIS application | Your NDIS application was successful – What next? | Your NDIS application was unsuccessful – What next? | Self Care, Facing Stress and Anxiety | Family, Friends and Allies | Language used | Useful Links


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