Your NDIS Application

Man with short bleached hair and a check shirt sitting in front of a dressing table mirror.

Applying for the NDIS can seem like a daunting task. The NDIS has recently made changes to the way you apply to the NDIS – you can now receive support to help you apply.  

The NDIS Application Process

You need to apply to the NDIS to receive NDIS supports. Since early 2024, changes to the NDIS application process have made it easier to apply for the NDIS. You can apply to the NDIS by contacting your local NDIS partner organisation (also known as a local area coordinator, or LAC). Your local NDIS partner organisation can explain the eligibility rules for the NDIS and support you through the application process. You can contact the National Contact Centre on 1800 800 110  to be referred to your local NDIS partner organisation, or contact your local NDIS partner organisation directly.

The NDIS has produced a range of factsheets on applying to the NDIS, which you can find here.

When you begin working with your NDIS partner, they will work with you to determine if you’re eligible for the NDIS. NDIS eligibility criteria can be found here. You will need to provide:

  • Proof of age, such as your birth certificate, passport, driver’s license, or proof of age card.
  • Proof of residency, such as your Australian birth certificate, Australian citizenship or naturalisation certificate, or a passport or travel document including a valid visa.

Your NDIS partner will also talk with you about your needs, your current situation, what’s important to you and how NDIS support could help you.

Information for trans & gender diverse people

Trans and gender diverse people may have concerns that the NDIS will not respect your name, pronouns or gender identity. You may have experienced this discrimination before. 

The NDIS endeavours to use your chosen name and pronouns when speaking with you. You can list your chosen name, gender and pronouns on the NDIS access request form. 

You can update your legal and chosen names, pronouns, information about your gender by completing the form linked in this page. You can also contact the NDIS by phone or in person.  

The NDIS has produced a Fact Sheet on Updating your name, pronouns and information about your gender.

You can find more information on affirming your gender, and a range of other resources for trans people, at Transhub.  

Gathering Supporting Evidence

“Documentation, documentation, documentation. Keep as much of a paper trail as possible, get as many letters from as many doctors as you can” – Sarah, she/her,lives with ADHD, Dyspraxia and CPTSD and a child with ADHD & Dyspraxia 

You will need to provide the NDIS with evidence of your disability, the impact your disability has on your daily life, and your likely needs for support. Your NDIS partner will help you understand the type of evidence you need to provide, and how you can get that evidence. This is the most important part of your NDIS application.

The best evidence of disability is a report by a treating professional whose area of expertise relates to your primary disability. The report needs to state that the functional impacts of your disability are significant and permanent, and details of management and support for your disability. The treating professional writing the report should use wording such as 'There are no available, evidence based treatments/interventions that are likely to substantially relieve’ your 'impairment'’.

The NDIS lists the types of assessments considered the best evidence of disability and its impact on functioning. This is known as “best practice” evidence. You can find the list here.

It can sometimes be difficult to get an assessment. There can be long waiting times to see specialists, and the cost of seeing specialists can be expensive. If you are unable to access a treating specialist, an alternative is to have your GP complete a World Health Organisation Disability Assessment Schedule (WHODAS) report. You can find a link to the WHODAS assessment schedule here. 

If you see your GP, they will need to write a detailed report on your assessed disability, how they made the assessments, and the impact of your disability on your daily life.  

If you don’t currently have a GP, or are worried about finding a practitioner that is LGBTQ+ affirming, there are a number of ways you can find an affirming doctor. There are online directories like TransHub’s Gender Affirming Doctor List (currently NSW only) or DocDir- an Australia-wide directory of LGBTQ+ inclusive clinicians and services. You can also search online for LGBTQ+ friendly doctors in your specific area. Practitioners will often list their experience working with LGBTQ+ people on their website.  

Two of the most common reasons for people to have their NDIS application rejected are  

  1. Not providing sufficient evidence that their disability is permanent; and 
  2. Not showing the functional impact of their disability on their daily life and functioning. 

So the supporting evidence for your application – both reports from treating professionals and impact letters included in your application – needs to stress that your disability/s are permanent, and show the impact of your disability on your daily life in at least one of the following six areas: 

Impact Letter

“When you’re applying and collecting all the documents, make sure you put everything. If you think it’s too much, don’t! The more you put, the easier it is for them to assess you. I wrote a four page personal account about how disability affects me daily, because the NDIS people aren’t necessarily medical professionals… this will help them understand” – Anthony (he/them/she), lives with Tourette’s 

Along with evidence from treating professionals, you may also choose to provide letters from friends, family or carers, and to write a statement yourself, describing your current living situation, any employment, the impact of disability on your daily life and any informal supports you have.  These letters are known as impact statements.

  • An impact letter/statement/carer statement is a document that you can use along with documents from health professionals and providers when applying for the NDIS or when you are having your NDIS review.  
  • It can be written by yourself, or by anyone impacted by your disability such as your family, friends or carers.  
  • An impact statement is not required but it is worth writing as it can have an effect on the outcome. You can never have too much evidence, you can only ever have too little. 
  • When writing an impact letter, community members have told us that it is often useful to refer to your “worst day” as this is what the NDIS will use to make your plan up with. Your worst day is when your disability and its symptoms and impacts are at their worst. This is important for those whose conditions vary day by day. It is helpful to write it as if you’re having one of those worst days – what would you need to make those worst days more bearable? 

Writing or reading an impact letter which focuses on functional impact and impairments can be difficult. Focusing on deficits is at odds with how hard many of us have fought for disability and LGBTQ+ Pride.   

It can be helpful to think of writing from a deficit or functional impact perspective as another strategic form of advocacy to get what you need. You can also think about the letter as describing the impact of the lack of supports which has led you to apply for the NDIS, even as you use language that’s about your disability. 

When writing your letter, think about the six areas of impact: Social Interaction, Mobility, Learning, Self-care, self-management and communication.  

For example, if you experience chronic pain, the primary impact that might come to mind might be mobility – if on some days, the pain is so bad you can’t get out of bed. But if on those days you’re also not able to attend events, work or education, or communicate effectively, you should clearly name those impacts on the other domains of your life as well.  

Be specific about the impacts of your disability (or the lack of supports you have access to.  

For example, instead of writing “My diagnosis of an acquired brain injury impacts my independence”, Write in detail about how your disability affects your daily life:  

“The impact of my acquired brain injury has meant I have a number of difficulties in the self management domain. I have trouble remembering appointments that I’ve made, which means it’s harder for me to get the support that I need. I often forget to pay bills, and this has the impact of meaning I now have debt and need help managing my money. My ability to communicate is also impacted by the dyspraxia I experience, and this makes it more difficult for me to attend events without a support person.” 

Submitting Your Application and Waiting for a Response

Submitting your NDIS application can trigger a range of emotions - you may feel proud, relieved, or annoyed at having to jump through hoops to access support. 

Once you submit your NDIS application, the NDIS will let you know the outcome of your application within 21 days. This waiting period can be stressful as you continue to navigate daily life without disability supports and you may worry that you haven’t included enough information in your NDIS application. 

Remember that you can stay in contact with your NDIS partner for support during this time.

“Once my application to the NDIS was submitted, I had a lot of stress and anxiety around what was happening. Things just seemed to move very slowly. In terms of coping with that stress, I think it’s really important to have a good support network. I have close friends I talked to a lot as I was going through the process and vented anxieties and frustrations around that” – Finn, he/him, lives with Cerebral Palsy. 

If you are struggling or need someone to talk to, please see our Self Care Section and Useful Links. 

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 | 

Click here to view / download the NDIS Journey Map.

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