Do you or someone you care about have ADHD? If so, you're probably wondering if ADHD is covered by the NDIS, a national scheme providing support for Australians with disability.

ADHD rates have been on the rise in recent decades. It currently affects 6-10% of children nationwide, and around 2.8% of Australian adults. This has prompted several discussions about whether the NDIS should cover people with ADHD.

In fact, last September NDIS Minister Bill Shorten considered including ADHD in the NDIS' automatic eligibility conditions. However, nothing concrete has been decided by the Australian Government so far.

In this blog post, we'll talk about everything we currently know about ADHD and the NDIS. We'll take you through its classification as a disability in Australia, how to check if you're eligible for NDIS funding, as well as other supports and services that may be available to you or your loved ones.

Table of Contents

What is ADHD?

ADHD, short for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects both children and adults. It's important to note that ADHD is not simply a matter of being easily distracted or hyperactive from time to time. It's a complex condition that can impact various aspects of a person's life and capacity.

Individuals with ADHD may experience differences in attention, impulse control, and hyperactivity. They may have difficulty focusing, organising tasks, and sustaining attention on specific activities. It's not uncommon to exhibit impulsive behaviours or to struggle with maintaining a calm and still demeanour.

However, it's crucial to remember that ADHD is a spectrum disorder, meaning symptoms can vary greatly from person to person. No two people will experience ADHD in the same way, and there's a lot of variation in individual experiences.

ADHD and creativity

Aside from some of these challenges, ADHD also brings many strengths, such as creativity, high energy levels, and the ability to think outside the box. According to Scientific American, people with ADHD have the capacity to think more creatively. Research indicates that individuals diagnosed with ADHD display exceptional abilities in imagination and tasks involving divergent thinking. These tasks often involve generating creative and innovative uses for ordinary objects.

While ADHD is a prevalent condition, it can sometimes go undiagnosed or misunderstood. That's why raising awareness and understanding is vital to ensure individuals with ADHD receive the support they need to thrive.

How does the NDIS currently view ADHD?

Support Coordinator working with child with ADHD

If you're wondering, "Is ADHD covered by the NDIS?" you've come to the right place. Before we get into specific NDIS funding options, let’s clarify a few things about ADHD in Australia and how the NDIS views this condition.

Presently, the NDIS does not categorise ADHD as a permanent disability or impairment. As medication and psychotherapy can be used for treating and managing ADHD, the classification of this disorder as a disability is not included by the NDIS.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t receive NDIS support, though. While ADHD itself does not guarantee automatic eligibility, there are other ways in which you can secure funding.

ADHD frequently coexists with other conditions such as autism, anxiety, dyslexia, and developmental delays. In situations where comorbid ADHD conditions are present, individuals may become eligible for funding support through the NDIS.

How does NDIS eligibility work?

NDIS eligibility is determined through a comprehensive assessment process that takes into account various factors. There are several key areas that the NDIS will look at when determining your eligibility for funding, and the extent to which your lifestyle challenges affect your capacity and day-to-day life.

Let’s break these down to give you a clear idea of the main points:

  • Age requirement: To be eligible for the NDIS, you must be under the age of 65 at the time of application. The scheme primarily focuses on providing support to individuals during their working-age years. If you or your loved one is outside of these age brackets, don’t worry; there are other government-supported schemes available to provide you with the assistance you need. If you’ve been receiving NDIS support and then turn 65, you can opt to keep your current support (meaning nothing changes and you stay on NDIS funding) OR you can choose to switch to Aged Care support.
  • Residence requirement: You need to be an Australian citizen, hold a permanent visa, or have a Protected Special Category Visa to be eligible for the NDIS. Additionally, you must reside in an area where the NDIS has been rolled out.
  • Disability requirement: The NDIS provides support to individuals who have a permanent and significant disability that affects their ability to participate in everyday activities. The disability can be intellectual, cognitive, neurological, sensory, or physical in nature. It must have a substantial impact on your functional capacity.
  • Early intervention: The NDIS also covers early intervention support for children (0-6 years) who have a developmental delay or disability. The NDIS Early Childhood Approach aims to address developmental challenges early on, promoting better long-term outcomes. While this funding and eligibility look a little different from standard NDIS services, rest assured that there is support available for your child.
  • Functional impact: NDIS eligibility is determined based on the functional impact of your disability. It considers how your disability affects your ability to perform daily activities, participate in community life, and achieve your goals. The assessment takes into account the support you require to overcome limitations and enhance your independence.
  • Accessing the NDIS: To access the NDIS, you need to make an application to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and provide relevant information about your disability, its impact, and the support you require. The NDIA will review your application and may request additional documentation or assessments to determine your eligibility.

It's important to note that eligibility for the NDIS is assessed on an individual basis. Even if you have a specific diagnosis, meeting the eligibility criteria requires demonstrating the functional impact of your disability.

If you’re unsure about your eligibility, or if you need assistance with the application process, don’t hesitate to reach out to the NDIA or seek support from a Local Area Coordinator (LAC) who can guide you through the process and provide further information tailored to your situation.

Check out the NDIS eligibility checklist for a step-by-step guide on whether you meet the eligibility requirements or not.

Family looking at laptop

Is ADHD covered by the NDIS?

We mentioned above that ADHD is not currently covered by the NDIS, but this doesn’t mean you can’t get access to the support you desire.

Provided you or the person you’re enquiring about meets the necessary eligibility requirements outlined above, it is possible for ADHD to be covered by the NDIS.

To secure support for ADHD, you will need to provide evidence of your disability that meets the following conditions:

  • The disorder is permanent or expected to be permanent.
  • It significantly impairs your ability to carry out daily activities.
  • It affects your participation in social or economic aspects of life.
  • Support is likely to be required throughout your lifetime.

NDIS eligibility is evaluated on a case-by-case basis rather than solely based on a specific diagnosis. Having a diagnosis of ADHD alone does not guarantee automatic eligibility; this is why it’s so important to create a thorough, detailed, and specific application that really articulates how your disability affects daily or social activities, and how support could be of great benefit.

Applying for NDIS funding

If you’ve ever applied for NDIS funding before, you’ll likely be aware of the regulations and often extensive application process involved. We’re here to break the process down into easily manageable steps.

People seeking NDIS funding for ADHD must undergo comprehensive assessments to establish an accurate diagnosis. Meeting specific eligibility criteria and fulfilling disability requirements are essential to be considered eligible for NDIS-related benefits.

Here's a checklist to help you apply for NDIS funding for ADHD support:

Are there comorbid conditions alongside your ADHD diagnosis?

Many conditions commonly co-occur with ADHD, and some of them are included on the NDIS list, like autism. Consulting with a GP can confirm any underlying conditions you or your loved one may have, which can benefit eligibility for NDIS support.

Common comorbid conditions with ADHD include:

Have you reviewed the NDIA access list?

Research goes a long way when it comes to NDIS applications, especially for something like ADHD which is not on the NDIS's list of eligible conditions.

The NDIA regularly updates access lists that serve as a reference for determining applicant eligibility. These lists outline conditions with permanent impairments diagnosed within the last seven years, as well as permanent conditions that require further assessment.

Section 24 of the NDIS Act provides a list of defined programs and conditions that meet specific disability requirements. Referencing these lists can guide your application and ensure you are categorised correctly.

Obtain an access request form

It’s incredibly beneficial to get an access request form. This ensures the NDIS has your information on file and can contact you when funding becomes available in your area.

The form requires submission of your own or your guardian's identity and personal details, evidence of the disability, and responses to the NDIS access requirements questionnaire.

Provide substantive evidence

Providing clear, compelling evidence demonstrating how your disability affects your day-to-day life will help the NDIS to get a clear picture of your support needs. For example, if you have extreme difficulty focusing on tasks, you could say that this seriously affects your work performance.

Request letters and reports from medical professionals are extremely beneficial to support your application and substantiate your need for funding. The NDIS also welcomes letters from family and friends as additional evidence.

Read more about how to write an NDIS support letter here.

Have you explored alternative options?

This one might seem obvious, but it’s still important to mention. While support from the NDIS is highly beneficial, ADHD is a treatable and/or manageable condition. This is not to diminish any person’s experiences or challenges with ADHD; it is more to assure you that solutions may be out there that don’t require extensive NDIS applications and funding processes.

In cases where NDIS funding may not be accessible, consider reaching out to organisations like the ADHD Foundation and ADHD Australia, which offer support and resources specific to ADHD.

How to access ADHD support with Like Family

A Like Family Social Carer with a Member

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with ADHD, there is support available. While ADHD may not be directly listed as a standalone condition under the NDIS, understanding the eligibility requirements and providing robust evidence can really enhance your chances of securing support and funding.

At Like Family, we’re committed to helping people with disability increase their independence and build lasting relationships. We can help with a variety of activities, including community access, meal preparation, transportation and a buddy for social events. You can access our disability support services even if you don’t have NDIS funding!

If you or a loved one have ADHD and are interested in hiring a disability support worker, visit our website or contact our friendly team at today!