Australian citizens or residents who are diagnosed with dementia and register for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) before they reach 65 years of age may be eligible for support. Dementia is considered a disability as part of this scheme.
The NDIS does not provide services directly. It provides funds to cover the cost of services and/or supports that are assessed as necessary to enable the person with younger onset dementia live daily life, achieve their life goals and aspirations, and connect with their community.
To access NDIS support, there are a few steps to complete:
- Step 1: There is a process to determine if the person you support is eligible to receive NDIS support – check this short, online eligibility questionnaire.
- Step 2: Once eligibility is determined, there is an Access Request Form or phone 1800 800 110 to have the form posted. Forms can be provided in other languages. A representative can be appointed to provide assistance on behalf of the person making the application. There are other documents that need to be provided with the Access Request Form including a confirmation of diagnosis by your person’s doctor, a form to be completed by the person’s doctor, proof of residency and age, and letters from other health professionals such as an occupational therapist, physiotherapist or psychologist to support the person’s application.
- Step 3: Following submission of the Access Request Form and other documents, NDIS will advise by letter if the application has been successful.
- Step 4: NDIS will then contact the person (or their representative) to arrange a planning meeting to talk about what services are required and funding that can be made available. The person with dementia (and carer) will choose a provider to deliver the services. For people with younger onset dementia who require support with the co-ordination of their services, a support co-ordinator can be appointed.
Terri was diagnosed with dementia at age 56. She had to leave a satisfying senior management role in her company and found retirement lonely and isolating. Eventually Terri found a role as a dementia advocate which helped her come to terms with the disease. Her NDIS support enabled her to have transport to meetings and conferences and provided her with a support person to help write presentations and manage her diary. From feeling useless and depressed, Terri found she had a purpose in life.
Applying for services is not a quick process. Starting early is key to finding a service provider who you both can work with, and can help you both to move forward positively.