The Independent Assessment Process

Key Facts:

  • Independent assessments are free.
  • An independent assessment will take around 3 hours.
  • You can choose to have it at a place that suits you, or by video call.
  • The results of your assessment will help us work out your NDIS supports and budget.

Independent assessments provide you and the NDIS with an understanding of your functional capacity. Things like how well you are able to function at home and in the community, as well as the overall impact your disability has on your life.

When you need an independent assessment, you will be referred to an independent assessor, who will organise a time with you. Some assessments might need input from your parent/guardian or nominee.

You can choose to have your assessment done at a place that suits you, or by video call if you have an appropriate internet connection and device – like a tablet or computer with a camera.

Your assessment will be free. The assessment will take around 3 hours. You can choose to do the assessment in the way that best suits you, like on the same day, or over a number of days. You can have someone with you when you do your assessment, like a family member or support worker.

The assessor will ask you questions about your life and what matters to you and ask to see how you approach some everyday tasks. They will work through some standardised assessment tools with you, based on your age or disability.

The results of your independent assessment will be sent to us when it’s done, and your planner or LAC will talk to you about your results in your planning meeting. Your independent assessment will be used to identify possible supports and your NDIS budget.

You can request a copy of your independent assessment for your records.

If You’re a New Participant

Elderly man looking at a phone

By mid-2021, independent assessments will be part of the access process.

Once you have submitted your access request form, we will review it to see if you meet the age, residency, and permanent criteria to access the NDIS. If you meet the basic access criteria, we’ll refer you to an independent assessor in your area, who will work with you to arrange a time for your assessment.

Not all people with a permanent disability are eligible for the NDIS. Independent assessments will help determine the significance of a person’s disability to help the NDIA make fair and consistent decisions on who is eligible for the Scheme.

If you don’t meet the NDIS access criteria, your details will be provided to a Local Area Coordinator or Early Childhood partner, who will contact you about other supports in your area.

If you Already Have an NDIS Plan


By the end of 2021, independent assessments will be used as part of our normal plan review process with participants.

NDIS will refer you for an independent assessment at important points, such as when you:

  • are approaching a new life stage, for example, starting school, or preparing to enter the workforce
  • have a change of circumstances
  • request a plan review
  • have stable supports and would like a longer plan
  • have supported independent living supports in your plan
  • are having your NDIS access reassessed
  • are preparing to transition out of the NDIS.

The NDIA will pay for your assessment.

Once you have had your assessment, we will contact you to talk about what happens next. In most cases, it will be the beginning of a plan review conversation.

If your independent assessment shows you no longer need the NDIS, the assessment will help show the gains you have made in your functional capacity. Information is already available for participants who are leaving the Scheme.

You can use your assessment as a starting point with your Local Area Coordinator, Early Childhood partner or heath professional when working out what supports you’d like after you leave the NDIS.

What if I Disagree with My Assessment?

If you don’t agree with the decisions we make based on your independent assessment, you can ask for an internal review of a decision.

© National Disability Insurance Scheme Launch Transition Agency 2013

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