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    Understanding NDIS

    Find out if you're eligible for help from the NDIS.

    What is the NDIS?

    The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provides support to Australians aged under 65, who have permanent and significant disability, their families and carers.

    If you’re eligible for the NDIS, it will pay for all disability supports and services. That means participants aren’t required to pay co-contribution fees. The NDIS is not means tested.

    Through the NDIS, you can source information and connections to services in your local community, as well as information about what support is available to you.

    This web page focuses on the disability requirements related to vision. However, you may have other conditions which will make you eligible for disability support. Contact NDIS directly on 1800 800 110 or online for more information.

    Am I eligible?

    To be eligible for the NDIS, you must be:

    • under the age of 65 when applying
    • an Australian Citizen, Permanent Resident, or hold a Protected Special Category Visa.

    If you are accessing the NDIS due to vision loss, you must also satisfy the following disability eligibility requirements.

    A. Permanent blindness in both eyes, diagnosed and assessed by an ophthalmologist.

    Please note: an optometrist report is not sufficient for NDIS purposes.

    The ophthalmologist report should note the following:

    • corrected visual acuity (i.e. the extent to which an object can be brought into focus) on the Snellen Scale must be less than or equal to 6/60 in both eyes; or
    • constriction to within 10 degrees or less of arc of central fixation in the better eye, irrespective of corrected visual acuity (i.e. visual fields are reduced to a measured arc of 10 degrees or less); or
    • a combination of visual defects resulting in the same degree of visual impairment as that occurring in the above points.1

    B. Disorders of the choroid and retina when the requirement of permanent blindness is not met:

    • Behr’s syndrome
    • Kearns-Sayre syndrome
    • optic atrophy
    • retinitis pigmentosa
    • retinoschisis (degenerative and hereditary types/juvenile retinoschisis)
    • Stargardt disease
    • Usher syndrome.2

    If you’d like further explanation or clarification about these disability requirements, then please contact MDFA’s National Helpline.

    National Helpline

    1800 111 709

    How do I apply?

    You’ll need to contact the NDIS on 1800 800 110 to request access to apply. This can be done verbally or by asking for an Access Request Form to fill in. After that, an NDIS assessment will be scheduled if you are eligible.

    Assessment and planning

    Once your eligibility has been confirmed, you’ll need to contact low vision services providers. They’ll be able to help you with the NDIS assessment and planning process. They will also provide a specialist low vision assessment to identify your low vision needs. That assessment will include recommendations for appropriate supports and services, including low vision technologies.

    For help in accessing a low vision provider, please call our National Helpline on 1800 111 709.

    The assessment and planning process will form the basis of an NDIS Plan. This is a document that outlines your needs, goals and disability supports required. It will also include details on any funding you may receive. Your plan will be tailored to your own needs. And you can expect it to be reviewed periodically.

    What type of support can I receive?

    The support you receive is designed to enable you to connect with your community and live well. But it’s important to note that your support level will depend upon the outcome of your low vision assessment.

    Support must relate to your disability. It must also help you achieve your goals and needs. It may include things such as travel, support around the home and training. Your support may also include orientation and mobility therapy, or occupational therapy. You may also be able to access low vision aids and technologies.

    It’s important that during your assessment, you are clear about the type of support you need. If you’re eligible for the NDIS, you should receive all the services required to support your disability needs.

    What will the NDIS cost me?

    As mentioned above, all NDIS Plans are fully funded. So you won’t need to pay any fees, or make financial contributions towards the care services you may receive.

    What other support is available?

    If you’re not eligible for the NDIS, you may be able to find alternative support. If you’re aged 65 and over, you may be eligible for aged care support. There are also many state/territory or local government programs that provide support.