There are many different types of support and services for people living with disability in Australia. Whether you need help finding a job, paying for medication or accessing aids and equipment – or just need to talk to someone about where to start, you’re not alone.
The list below provides an overview of different disability supports and services in Australia. You can also contact the Disability Gateway or an NDIS Local Area Coordinator to speak to someone about your situation.
The Disability Gateway provides information and services for people with disability, their family and carers. It is a good starting point if you want to find out what services are available and how to go about accessing them.
You will find information from different areas of life, including transport, aids and equipment, health and wellbeing, legal rights and jobs for people with injury, illness or disability. There is also a search feature where you can type in queries and keywords.
National Disability Insurance Scheme
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provides support for people living with a lifelong disability.
Participants can choose what supports and services they want funded through the NDIS based on their personal goals. Goals could include things like improving communication skills, finding a job, becoming more independent or participating in the community.
The NDIS is delivered by Local Area Coordinators. A Local Area Coordinator (LAC) can help you find supports and services where you live, even if you’re not eligible for the NDIS.
To meet the NDIS eligibility rules, you will need to provide medical evidence about your condition and how it affects your day to day life. Part 2 of the application should be filled out by your treating health professional.
Disability Employment Services
Disability Employment Services helps people living with injury, illness or disability find and keep a job. Disability Employment Services providers can assist participants with overcoming barriers to finding work and accessing ongoing workplace support.
The particular support provided is tailored to the individual’s needs. This may include things like writing resumes, preparing for interviews, accessing mental health services, accessing funding for uniforms and transport and workplace assessments.
Disability Support Pension
The Disability Support Pension is a payment for people living with a disability that stops them from working or impacts the number of hours they can work.
The amount you are eligible for depends on your situation. Factors like how much income you or your partner earns, what assets you have and whether you have children can affect how much you’re eligible for.
You may need to participate in a Program of Support such as Disability Employment Services before you can get the pension.
There are many different government payments that you may be eligible for. These include:
- Mobility allowance – support for travel costs to work or study if you can’t use public transport without a lot of help.
- Pensioner education supplement – an extra payment for education fees if you already receive a payment from Centrelink.
- Youth Disability supplement – an extra payment for young people with disability who receive an income support payment.
- Pharmaceutical allowance – a payment to help cover medication costs.
- Telephone allowance – a payment to help cover telephone and internet costs for people already receiving a Centrelink payment.
- Child disability assistance payment – an extra payment if you’re looking after a child with a disability or serious illness and already get Carer Allowance.
Medicare is Australia’s publicly funded health scheme. It’s available to all Australian residents and may help cover some of the costs associated with medical appointments and medication.
There are a range of programs which can help you access aids, equipment and home modifications. Most of these are state-specific and can be found on the Disability Gateway.
If you are an NDIS participant, you may be able to get funding for special equipment, house modifications or vehicle modifications to help you do day to day tasks.
Other services include:
- National Relay Service – helps people who are deaf, hard of hearing or have difficulties with speech communicate over the phone.
- National Auslan Interpreter Booking and Payment Service – a service for booking Auslan interpreters for private healthcare appointments.
- National Equipment Database – connects you with assistive technologies and equipment.
My Aged Care
Australian seniors can access a range of aged care supports and services through My Aged Care. For example, the Commonwealth Home Support Programme helps seniors access entry level supports to keep on living at home independently.
Mental health support
If you feel like something’s not right with your mental health, you can speak to your GP about it. They can help you get in touch with the right mental health professionals like psychologists, counsellors and therapists.
There are also a number of crisis hotlines and mental health organisations in Australia which can support people living with disability. These include:
- Head to Health
- Beyond Blue
- Suicide Call Back Service
- Family Mental Health Support Services
- Kids Helpline
- Mensline Australia
- Veteran and Families Counselling
National Disability Advocacy Program
The National Disability Advocacy Program (NDAP) provides people with disability access to disability advocacy.This may include speaking, writing or acting on your behalf to protect your welfare and rights.
Agencies around Australia are funded to provide disability advocacy for people with disability in their area. Some agencies specialise in certain types of advocacy. For example, advocacy for a particular disability, advocacy about a particular issue or advocacy for people with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Whatever your situation, support is available to help you thrive at home, in the workplace and in your community.