A person meets the access criteria of the NDIS if the Agency is satisfied that the person meets:

In deciding whether a person meets the disability or early intervention requirements, the Agency may conduct an assessment using an assessment tool authorised by [Part 7  Rules-Becoming a Participant]. For an overview of the process see these Operational Guidelines.

There is an obligation to notify the CEO if relevant circumstances change or are likely to change. Info


A person meets the age requirements if the person was aged from birth to 65 when the access request was made. [s22]

Additional requirements apply for those residing in the launch sites of:

  • South Australia
  • Tasmania
  • 2015 NDIS launch areas of New South Wales
  • 2016 NDIS early transition areas of Townsville and Charters Towers in Queensland. Info

A person who is in the scheme and turns 65 does not cease to be a participant unless he or she:

  • enters into residential care on a permanent basis;
  • is provided with community care permanently; or
  • asks to be removed from the scheme. [s29]


A person meets the residence requirements if the person resides in Australia and is either:

  • an Australian citizen;
  • the holder of a permanent visa, or
  • a special category visa holder who is a protected SCV holder. [s23(1)]

Factors relevant in deciding whether or not a person resides in Australia include the person’s accommodation, relationships, employment, assets and travel. [s23(2)]


If the prospective participant is under 18, he or she may additionally be eligible if a parent or guardian resides in a launch area. For further detail on the requirements relating to children see [Part 4.8 Rules-Becoming a Participant].


A person meets the disability requirements if:

  1. the person has a disability that is attributable to one or more intellectual, cognitive, neurological, sensory or physical impairments, or to one or more impairments attributable to a psychiatric condition; and
  2. the person’s impairment or impairments are, or are likely to be, permanent; and
  3. the impairment or impairments result in substantially reduced functional capacity to undertake, or psychosocial functioning in undertaking, one or more of the following activities: communication, social interaction, learning, mobility, self-care, self-management; and
  4. the impairment or impairments affect the person’s capacity for social and economic participation; and
  5. the person’s support needs in relation to his or her impairment or impairments are likely to continue for the person’s lifetime. [s24]


There is additional guidance for a prospective participant who is unsure whether an impairment is permanent (or is likely to be so). Medical assessment that determines that the impairment is irreversible or likely to be irreversible may be crucial to demonstrating “disability” for the purposes of the Act. Info

Reduced Functional Capacity

To clarify when an impairment results in substantially reduced functional capacity to undertake one or more of the activities of communication , social interaction, learning, mobility, self-care , self-management see  [Part 5.4 Rules-Becoming a Participant].

Early intervention

A person, who does not meet the disability requirements, but has a disability or is a child with developmental delay, may still access the Scheme by meeting the early intervention requirements.  [s25]. Info

Pre-existing supports

A person may also meet the access criteria without meeting all the disability requirements if  they were receiving certain supports at the times specified by the NDIS rules.  [s21 (2)].

Last Modified: June 28, 2016