Carers Australia

The voice for carers across Australia

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is how the Australian Government funds the costs associated with having a disability, so that people with disabilities and their families have the supports they need. The NDIS is overseen by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). 

Who is the NDIS for?

Australians under 65 years old, who have a permanent and significant disability, are able to apply for NDIS funding. Disabilities may include intellectual, physical, sensory, cognitive and psychosocial. NDIS funding and supports are given to help people with these types of disabilities achieve their goals and live to their full potential.

How does the NDIS help?

NDIS funding provides supports and services to people with disability to help them participate in the community and reach their goals. The NDIS is not income tested and participants do not have to pay co-contribution fees. This means that those who care for someone with a disability don’t have to pay for all the necessary supports. It also means that families who care for someone with disability have the peace of mind that their loved one will receive the supports they need.

How does support families with disabilities?

The NDIS pays for disability supports and services to help people participate in the community and reach their goals. Participants do not have to pay co-contribution fees, and the NDIS isn’t  income or assets tested. This is so all people with disabilities and their families can get the support they need.

The NDIS also offers information and connections to services in your local community, and information about what support is available.

What does the NDIS fund?

The NDIS funds ‘reasonable and necessary supports’ to help participants achieve their goals and live a full and independent life. These supports will be based on the participant’s individual needs and are designed to help them take part in everyday activities. 

Support may be related to education, employment, social participation, independence, living arrangements, and health and wellbeing. Funding may help participants to:

  • have assistance with personal care (for example, getting in and out of bed, showering, and household activities)
  • get different kinds of services and therapies (for example, physiotherapy, speech therapy, social therapy, or occupational therapy)
  • receive support for personal care (for example, household chores, or managing money)
  • get aids and equipment they need (for example, wheelchairs or hearing aids)
  • be more independent (for example, live on their own or in a share-house, or learn how to cook, grocery shop, or drive) participate in the community (for example, get a job, or use transport)
Learn more about supports funded by the NDIS

You can find out more about ‘reasonable and necessary supports’ on the NDIS website


It is important for carers to understand and be prepared for the NDIS. Participants of the scheme are now offered choice and control over the way they purchase and receive their support needs through individual packages of support. This is different to the previous block funded model, where service providers tendered for government funding to help groups of people.

The NDIS recognises that carers play an important role in supporting a person with disability, and the wellbeing of the family is taken into account when putting together a plan for participants. Carers can provide support to the person they care for in preparing for the NDIS by ensuring:

  • The person they care for is supported to access the NDIS
  • The person they care for receives support that is reasonable and necessary, and right for their situation
  • You, as the carer of a person with disability who is eligible for the NDIS, receives the appropriate amount of support to continue in your role as someone’s primary carer.

The NDIS does not fund services such as education, income support, housing, employment, public transport or health services because these types of services are referred to as ‘mainstream services.’ However, the NDIS will support people with disability to connect to these types of services.

Learn more about how the NDIS works with other mainstream services

Carers cannot join themselves unless they too meet the NDIS eligibility requirements of having a permanent and significant disability. However, in a caring capacity, they can benefit from the supports the person with disability receives, both directly and indirectly.

Read more about eligibility requirements in the NDIS Access Checklist

Yes, there are a range of supports available to carers including respite support, counselling, education and training, peer support and advocacy. For information call The Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737

Call the Carer Gateway