The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is designed to support people with disability to increase their independence and fully participate in community and working life. People who meet the NDIS access criteria are known as NDIS participants. People with long-term disability resulting from a mental health condition may be able to become NDIS participants. Let us help you as we are experienced NDIS service provider who has been helping people to get to NDIS for years.

What is a disability?

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has the following definition of disability: “People with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.” Not everyone with a mental health condition will experience disability. The NDIS is for people who experience severe and long-term disability. This is explained further below.

What is a mental health condition?

A mental health condition refers to symptoms that may be caused by a number of factors including life events and genetics. Symptoms can range from personality issues, psychotic or compulsive disorders, to anxiety and mood swings. A mental health condition can be temporary or lifelong.

What is a psychosocial disability?

A psychosocial disability is a disability arising from a mental health condition. A psychosocial disability can result in difficulties doing everyday things such as banking, shopping and looking after yourself. Not everyone who has a mental health condition will have a disability, but for those who do, it can be severe and longstanding and significantly impact on their life and potential recovery.

What is an impairment?

An impairment as a result of a mental health condition means a person experiences loss or damage to their mental function. Mental functions include the way we understand, think and feel about things.

Do I need to provide a mental health diagnosis to access the NDIS?

A specific mental health diagnosis is preferred but not essential. You must provide evidence of a mental health condition to access the NDIS, but the mental health condition does not have to be named. NDIS support is based on the impairment, or the impact of the mental health condition, rather than the diagnosis itself.

For example, if you have been diagnosed with Schizophrenia, an NDIS access decision will be based on the impact of the condition on your daily life, not the Schizophrenia diagnosis. It is helpful if you share your Schizophrenia diagnosis with the NDIA, but if you prefer not to or don’t identify with your diagnosis, it is ok to apply for the NDIS stating you have a mental health condition.

In terms of mental health, who is eligible for the NDIS?

To become an NDIS participant, you must:

  • be an Australian citizen, or have a permanent or Special Category Visa (SCV) AND
  • be under 65 years old when you apply to join the NDIS AND
  • live in an area where the NDIS is available.

If you have a mental health condition and want to access the NDIS, you must meet the above criteria and provide evidence that:

  • your mental health condition has caused difficulties in your everyday life AND
  • the difficulties you experience as a result of your mental health condition mean you will likely always require NDIS support AND
  • the difficulties you experience as a result of your mental health issue have substantially reduced your ability to do everyday activities.

The NDIS is not designed to replace community mental health services or treatment services provided through the health system. It is designed to fund practical support for day-to-day living and assistance to access community services.

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