What is the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme)

The NDIS is Australia’s first national Scheme for people with disability. It provides funding directly to individuals. 

There are around 4.3 million Australians who have a disability. Within the next five years, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will provide more than $22 billion in funding a year to an estimated 500,000 Australians who have permanent and significant disability. For many people, it will be the first time they receive the disability support they need.

The NDIS can provide all people with disability with information and connections to services in their communities such as doctors, sporting clubs, support groups, libraries and schools, as well as information about what support is provided by each state and territory government.

Click here for more information about the NDIS.

History of NDIS

Productivity Commission

In 2010, the Australian Government asked the Productivity Commission to carry out a public inquiry into a long-term disability care and support scheme.

The Productivity Commission received more than 1000 submissions from people with disability and the disability sector. The messages were clear, the existing system didn’t work.

The Prime Minister released the Productivity Commission’s report on 10 August 2011.

You can read the inquiry report here

Establishing a National Disability Insurance Scheme

This discussion picked up pace in 2011 when the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to the need for a reform to disability services through a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

At a meeting of the Select Council on Disability Reform in October 2011, it was agreed to lay the foundations for the NDIS by mid-2013 – a year ahead of the timetable set out by the Productivity Commission. This allowed people with disabilities and their carers to access the support they needed sooner.

In March 2013 the NDIS legislation was passed and the NDIS Act 2013 was created, along with the Scheme and the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

The NDIS began on 1 July 2013 with trial sites in:

  • Tasmania for young people aged 15-24;
  • South Australia for children aged under 14 (on 1 July 2015);
  • the Barwon area of Victoria and
  • the Hunter area in New South Wales for people up to age 65.

The trial period finished in July 2016 and full Scheme began rolling out across Australia.

The ACT was the first state or territory to complete roll out.

Name change

For a time in 2013 the NDIS was named ‘DisabilityCare Australia’. After the federal election on 7 September 2013, the incoming Government changed the name back to the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The agency responsible for delivering the scheme is known as the National Disability Insurance Agency.

Eligibility and Access to the NDIS

To verify your eligibility for the NDIS to through the checklist located here.

Once you are eligible for the NDIS, the next step will be to apply for access to the Scheme. This process is called Access Request. Click here for a step by step guide.

The NDIS works with suitably experienced and qualified partner organisations to deliver Local Area Coordination (LAC) and Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) services to Australians with disability. They are the face of the NDIS in the community. They can assist you in applying for Access to the Scheme and all the way through to getting a NDIS Plan and funding for supports. Click here to find the partner office providing services in your local government area.

It is also useful to know what support are funded through the NDIS. Click here for more information on Funded Supports.

Understanding your Current NDIS Supports.

Your NDIS Plan

Once you are eligible for the NDIS, the next step is to get Your NDIS Plan. The first stage of this process is to attend a Planning Meeting. Click here for a step by step process on how to prepare and attend a planning meeting.

 Transcript for ‘Your NDIS Plan’

Once your plan is approved, you need to understand different budgets, who can help you start using your plan, and how your plan is managed. Learn more about using Your NDIS Plan here.

Finding and working with a Provider

The final stage, it to identify a provider or providers that can provide you with the supports detailed in Your NDIS Plan. Providers are critical to the success of the NDIS. As you have total control of your plan (Choice and Control), you can choose the provider you feel that will best meet your needs.

What is a service provider?

A service provider is a person, business or organisation who delivers funded services. Service providers have different areas of experience and expertise.

Providers who are registered with the NDIS are called “NDIS registered providers”. They meet strict government quality and safety requirements. No Limits Community services (NLCS) is an NDIS registered provider that supports people of all ages with a disability, providing support and services tailored to your goals and needs.

If your NDIS funding is NDIA-managed, you can only use NDIS registered providers to deliver your services. Participants who self-manage or have a Plan Manager to manage their NDIS plan, can use NDIS registered providers and non-registered providers.

What is a service agreement?

When you agree to use your NDIS budget to pay for supports, you are entering into a contract with your provider.

A service agreement is an agreement between you and your provider that makes it clear to what you have both agreed to. It is covered by Australian Consumer Law.

The NDIA recommends having a written service agreement so participants and providers are clear about what each party has agreed to. For example, what supports will be delivered and how they will be delivered.

Making a service agreement is a negotiation between you and your provider. You can involve another person, such as a family member or friend. At No Limits Community Services (NLCS) we will discuss the following and assist you through this process:

  • the supports that are being provided
  • the cost of the supports
  • our responsibilities in providing the supports
  • your responsibilities
  • how long the agreement goes for and how it can be changed

dispute resolution process.


Three participant booklets are available to support people with disability and participants throughout their NDIS journey. The booklets are a practical tool to help people with disability, participants, their families, carers and the wider community to learn more about the NDIS, prepare for a planning meeting and to implement their plan.

The booklets are intended for use throughout a person’s NDIS journey and can be used to record key information, write questions and collect thoughts.

Download all these booklets here.

Booklet 1 – Understanding the NDIS

Booklet 1 covers:

  • Learning about the NDIS
  • Deciding whether to apply for the NDIS
  • Accessing the NDIS

Booklet 2 – Planning

Booklet 2 covers:

  • Understanding your current supports
  • Creating an NDIS plan to achieve your goals
  • Receiving an approved NDIS plan

Booklet 3 – Using your NDIS Plan

Booklet 3 covers:

  • Understanding what’s in your plan
  • Learning how to use your plan
  • Choosing and managing supports and services

Reviewing your plan and progress


In the spirit of Reconciliation, No Limits Community Services acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this country, and their connection to land, water and community. We pay our respect to them, their cultures and customs, and to Elders past, present and emerging.

Contact Us

Melbourne: The Greenhouse, Level 1, 797 Plenty Road South Morang, Victoria 3752. (T) 03 9422 5470

Darwin: 16/9 Charlton Court, Woolner NT 0820. (T) 08 8927 1914