A Guide to Submitting Your NDIS Application

Everything you need to know about how to apply for NDIS funding

As of September 2023, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was supporting 631,529 people with disability.

This is a tremendous achievement. However, when we consider that 4.4 million Australians are living with disability (1.4 million described as “severe or profound disability”), it’s clear the number of NDIS participants will continue to grow in the future.

Unfortunately, for many people who require support or assistance on an ongoing basis due to disability, filling in the NDIS application form can be a barrier to getting the support they need.

In this guide, we’ll explain how to determine whether you (or someone you are supporting) could be eligible for the NDIS. Then, we cover how to apply for NDIS funding by submitting an NDIS application.

If you already have NDIS funding and are looking for a care provider, SeenCare is a specialist registered NDIS provider in Melbourne for people living with disability and high medical needs. Find out more about our services or contact us to see how we can help today.

Step 1: Consider NDIS Eligibility

The NDIS isn’t the only way people with disability can access supports in Australia. So, before submitting an application, it’s a good idea to first consider your eligibility for NDIS services.

Who is eligible for NDIS funding?

There is no simple list explaining who qualifies for NDIS supports. However, the NDIS gives a thorough overview of NDIS requirements on its website.

You may have success applying for NDIS funding if you meet the five “disability requirements” outlined by the NDIS below (adapted from the NDIS website, linked above):

  1. Your disability is caused by an impairment (defined as “a loss or significant change in your body’s function, structure, or in how you think and learn”)
  2. Your impairment is likely to be permanent
  3. Your permanent impairment substantially reduces your functional capacity. In other words, there are important things you have difficulty doing (or can’t do at all), because of disability
  4. Your permanent impairment affects your ability to work, study or take part in social life
  5. You will likely need support under the NDIS for your whole life

As you can see from the list above, the main NDIS requirements for funding are that your disability is permanent and significant.

If you think you might be eligible and want to know how to get NDIS funding, the next step is completing the relevant NDIS forms.

Step 2. Filling in the NDIS Application Form

One thing that confuses some people about how to apply for NDIS supports is the process for submitting all the required details.

Fortunately, there are several ways to make an application for NDIS funding. However, this flexibility can make it a little difficult to know exactly which process might be right for you.

Where do I find the NDIS form?

The first thing to know is that while there is an NDIS application form—called the NDIS Access Request Form—you might not actually have to use it.

For most people, the best first step is to contact your local NDIS office online or call the NDIS on 1800 800 110.

Then, after getting some initial advice, you can decide whether you need to fill out NDIS forms or not.

What questions will I be asked?

When you contact the NDIS, the person you connect with will ask some questions about you personally, like name, date of birth, where you were born and where you live. This is to check your basic eligibility (such as being an Australian citizen and under 65 years of age), to ensure you don’t complete the NDIS full form if that isn’t your best way of accessing support.

If you meet the basic NDIS eligibility criteria, you will then be asked to provide some information about your disability and how it impacts your life.

Questions will include things like:

Can I get help with an NDIS application?

Soon after you contact the NDIS, a representative should ask if you need support to make an NDIS access request.

Please don’t be shy about asking for help at any stage, as there are many options for NDIS application support, such as:

  • An ‘NDIS partner’, such as a Local Area Coordinator or National Disability Agency representative gathering information by phone to complete an NDIS access form on your behalf
  • Scheduling an appointment at a partner’s office (or your home if required) to meet with you and assist in the completion of an access request form NDIS
  • You being given the option of submitting information by email to a support person who will help complete the relevant NDIS application forms
  • An NDIS representative contacting a support person or treating health professional (with your consent) to gather further information

Can I do the NDIS application form myself?

If you prefer, you can get the NDIS application form online and complete it yourself.

The NDIS application form is called an Access Request Form. You can download the latest version from the NDIS website.

When looking at the NDIS application form PDF, you will notice that Section 1 is completed by the applicant (you), while Section 2 is for “Your Treating Professional”.

The treating professional’s section is sometimes described as ‘supporting evidence.’ We’ll explain a little more about what that means in the following section.

Step 3. NDIS Supporting Evidence Form

Whether you submit your NDIS application yourself or get help to complete it, an important step is including information from your treating professionals.

Ideally, a treating professional is someone who can provide evidence of your disability.

This might include your:

  • GP
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Social Worker
  • Psychologist
  • Neurologist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Other Specialist or Health Professional

If you aren’t currently being managed by a doctor or specialist from the above list, some other professionals may be able to assist, such as a:

  • Peer Support Worker
  • Case Manager
  • Counsellor
  • Teacher/Educator
  • Disability Support Worker
  • Other Professional Support Person

If you have no one available to fill in Section 2 of the NDIS access request form, we suggest contacting the NDIS for advice. You may be able to access some form of NDIS application support, like assistance with arranging an appointment with a professional to fill in your NDIS supporting evidence form.

Step 4. Submitting Your NDIS Forms

Depending on what happened during steps 1 – 3, you may or may not have NDIS application forms that need submitting.

If you were working with an NDIS partner (like a Local Area Coordinator), they may have gathered all the required information and submitted the application on your behalf. If this is the case, it’s a good idea to ask for written confirmation that this is what’s happening, such as an email or letter.

If you completed the access request form yourself, you can return the completed form (and supporting evidence by:

If a carer, friend, family member or professional is helping with your application, check with them what the plan is. In some cases, for example, a Social Worker from hospital or Case Manager from a community support service may agree to submit an application on your behalf. However, this should always be done with your knowledge and consent, along with regular updates on the progress.

How long until I get an outcome?

After submitting your NDIS application form, the NDIS will decide if you are eligible or ask for more information within 21 days.

If you are eligible, the next step is a planning meeting where you will discuss your goals and support needs with an NDIS planner.

If you are not eligible, you’ll get an explanation as to why. Your rights for requesting a review of the decision on your NDIS application will also be explained.

If more information is requested, details will be provided about what further supporting evidence might be required.

While it can be frustrating, it’s not unusual when you apply for NDIS to not be approved right away.

Often, there is a simple piece of information missing from the NDIS Access Request Form. Or, in other cases, more information might be required from a treating professional to determine your NDIS eligibility.

To minimise the chance of any delays, check out the tips below for how to apply for the NDIS in the most efficient way possible.

5 Tips When Applying for NDIS Funding

If you’re wondering, how do I apply for the NDIS and give myself the best chance of success? The following 5 tips are worth keeping in mind.

1. Keep copies of everything

Whether you’re submitting your NDIS forms online or in person, it’s always a good idea to keep copies of everything.

Unfortunately, paper forms do get lost (and emails misplaced). So, before you send anything off, get a photocopy or take pictures with your phone.

Also, keep copies of all the letters you receive from the NDIS. If you are appealing a decision or getting ready for a plan review, having the relevant information easily accessible will help you put your case for accessing NDIS supports as clearly as possible.

2. Focus on functional limitations

It’s important to include information about your specific diagnoses and potentially NDIS eligible conditions. But when applying for the NDIS, you should mainly focus on functional limitations and impairments.

A functional limitation can be any specific activity that you are limited in because of your disability.

Some examples might be:

  • Not being able to use public transport due to mobility issues
  • Having trouble planning your day and attending appointments because of difficulty with thinking
  • Needing overnight support to manage a medical condition

Remember, NDIS eligibility is determined by the extent of functional impairment, not the presence of a diagnosis.

3. More supporting evidence is better

Perhaps the most common reason for an NDIS application being delayed or denied is a lack of sufficient supporting evidence.

If you are thinking about NDIS applying, make a list of all the doctors, healthcare workers and support professionals you have seen over the past 12 months. If possible, ask each of them if they would be willing to complete an NDIS Supporting Evidence Form.

In most cases, the easiest way to go about this is to book an appointment with the professional and take a printed copy of the evidence form with you. They may be willing to fill it in during the session, or complete it afterward and forward it to you and/or the NDIS.

4. Ask for support

Most people get help with their NDIS application in some shape or form, so don’t be shy about asking for support.

Asking the NDIS directly is a great option. However, you might also ask for support from a friend, family member, advocate or professional.

In particular, if you have previously worked with a Social Worker or Case Manager (or still are in contact), ask their advice about submitting an application. These professionals often support people through the process of applying for the NDIS and can be a great source of information and support.

5. Be persistent (and patient)

While we would love to say that most people who apply for NDIS funding receive quick approval with minimal back and forth, that’s simply not the case.

Remember, the NDIS application is only the first step. Even if that’s approved, you still have to have a planning meeting and be approved for the right amount of support. Then, you will need to find a reliable NDIS provider who can deliver the disability care and supports you need.

All of this can take time. And it’s not unusual for there to be a few bumps in the road along the way.

However, with a healthy dose of persistence and patience, the majority of people who meet the NDIS eligibility criteria and submit an application with the required supporting evidence, do get a package of funding in the end.

Knowledge and Preparation Are Key

While it can seem like an overwhelming task at first, doing a small amount of research and preparation before you apply for NDIS funding can make all the difference.

When you go in ready, armed with all the information, resources and support you need, you give yourself the best chance of achieving a positive outcome within a reasonable amount of time.

Remember, if you are living with disability that significantly restricts your ability to undertake important aspects of daily living, the NDIS was created just for you.

Getting started on an NDIS application that demonstrates your NDIS eligibility and support needs is the first step in getting the funding you need to live a better life.

Finally, when you’re at the point of choosing a care provider, SeenCare, a leading registered NDIS provider in Melbourne, will be ready to deliver the supports you need to achieve your goals.

03 9110 1014