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NDIS Eligibility for People With Rare Conditions


Updated 04-01-2024

NDIS Eligibility for People With Rare Conditions

Navigating the eligibility criteria for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can seem overwhelming, especially for individuals with rare conditions. The NDIS is a pivotal social reform in Australia that provides support to individuals with a permanent and significant disability, ensuring their access to personalised care and support. This article aims to give a comprehensive understanding of the eligibility requirements of the NDIS for people with rare conditions, offering clear insights to help them or their carers prepare for a successful application.

Understanding NDIS Eligibility

Eligibility for the NDIS is determined by several factors, including age, location, and the nature of the individual's disability. According to the NDIS Act 2013, a person must:

  • Be under 65 years of age when they apply
  • Be an Australian citizen, hold a Permanent Visa, or a Protected Special Category Visa
  • Reside in Australia in an NDIS area
  • Have a permanent and significant disability that affects their daily life

Rare Conditions and NDIS Eligibility

For those with rare conditions, demonstrating that their condition is permanent and significantly impacts their daily activities is key to gaining NDIS support. Rare conditions, by their very nature, often come with unique challenges, including a lack of general awareness, limited treatment options, and sometimes limited medical evidence regarding long-term progression.

Obtaining Sufficient Medical Evidence

The first crucial step for potential NDIS participants is to collect comprehensive and robust medical evidence. This documentation should detail the diagnosis, the treatments being undertaken, and the condition's impact on functionalities like mobility, communication, social interaction, and self-management. An extensive report from a specialist familiar with the specific rare condition can provide significant support for an application.

Specific Criteria for Rare Conditions

In some cases, rare conditions may be streamlined through the NDIS List of Recognised Disabilities—a list which includes conditions that are generally understood to meet the eligibility requirements. However, not all rare conditions are included on this list, which means applicants must give detailed and substantiated information about how their condition impacts their life.

Demonstrating Significant and Permanent Impact

The NDIS seeks to support disabilities that are permanent, meaning they are likely to persist for the person's lifetime. For those with conditions that are episodic in nature, it is paramount to demonstrate how the episodic manifestations lead to a permanent impact on their life. Furthermore, the significance of the impact is measured against the capacity to participate in daily activities without support or the use of assistive technology.

Preparing for the Application

When going through the application process, it is advisable to:

  • Understand and articulate your goals and aspirations, which the NDIS may help you to fulfil.
  • Keep a detailed record of how your rare condition affects your daily life, including specific examples.
  • Gather written statements from carers, family members, and health providers that corroborate your lived experience.

The NDIS Planning Meeting

Once eligibility is established, the individual will engage in a planning meeting. Preparing for this meeting by having all necessary paperwork and a clear idea of the support needed will make for a smoother process. It is also essential to discuss the impact of the rare condition across various domains like socialisation, employment, and education to ensure the plan fits the individual needs.


The pursuit of NDIS support for people with rare conditions necessitates a thorough presentation of comprehensive evidence that captures the substantial and enduring effects of their disabilities. For Australians living with rare conditions, the NDIS offers a life-changing opportunity to enhance their independence and participation within their communities. By ensuring clear, accurate, and detailed information is provided at every stage of the application and planning processes, individuals with rare conditions can optimise their chances for a successful NDIS experience.

About the Author

Alex is an esteemed expert in assistive technology and disability support services, he holds a unique blend of professional expertise and personal dedication to enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities. With over a decade of experience in research and development, Alex has been at the forefront of integrating cutting-edge assistive technologies into practical support solutions. Renowned for his empathetic approach and strong advocacy for disability rights, Alex’s work extends beyond academic research to hands-on involvement in community initiatives and policy advisory roles. A prolific writer, his articles are widely acclaimed for their insightful analysis, clear communication, and commitment to ethical considerations in technology use.

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