I’m an adult with autism: am I eligible for NDIS funding?

Two women having a conversation.

Autism, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a neuro-developmental condition. No two people are affected by autism in exactly the same way, and this is why it’s described as a ‘spectrum’.

As an adult with autism, you experience differences to others in the way you think, communicate, feel, behave and interact with people and your environment. It’s estimated that one in 100 people in Australia have autism, so you’re not alone.

In Australia, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), provides funding for services and support to people with disability, like NDIS funding for adults with autism.

NDIS funding for adults with autism

Not everyone with disability may be eligible for NDIS funding, but the NDIS helps people with disability to find and use other services too. So, how do you know if you’re eligible to access the NDIS?

If you are assessed as having ASD with Level 2 severity (requiring substantial support) or Level 3 severity (requiring very substantial support), you may qualify for NDIS funding. Learn more about levels of ASD.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) 2018 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC), defines disability as ‘any limitation, restriction or impairment which restricts a person’s everyday activities, and has lasted, or is likely to last, for at least six months’.

Understanding this definition and meeting the following requirements, will assist in knowing whether you are eligible to access the NDIS:

  • You’re under 65 years old
  • You’re an Australian citizen, or a permanent resident, or a holder of a Protected Special Category visa
  • You live in Australia
  • You have a disability that’s permanent – it won’t go away
  • You have a disability that’s significant – it affects the way you live your day-to-day life
  • You need support now for you or your family

You can complete the NDIS eligibility checklist to confirm if you’re eligible to receive funding. Once you’ve confirmed eligibility, the next steps to take are:

Step 1: Apply for the NDIS

Step 2: Provide evidence to the NDIS

Step 3: Send your information so you can receive your NDIS outcome

If you need help with these steps, ask a family member, friend or other support person. You can also contact an NDIS office near you to get some assistance.

If your application is successful, you will be connected to a Local Area Coordinator who will work with you to build a personalised plan to meet your support needs. they will also provide you with support that is available in your area. You will then be able to use funds from your plan to engage the services that suit you best. Through Mable, you can also use your funding to start building a team of support workers around your goals.

Learn more about the autism support you can receive through Mable or how to prepare for employment using support.

If you’re waiting to receive the outcome of your application or haven’t received funding from NDIS yet, you can still pay privately to find Independent Support Workers through Mable. Signing up on Mable is free, which means you can start searching for support right away.


As an adult with ASD, it’s helpful to have strategies to develop routines in everyday situations. Every person with ASD is also unique, so remember to ask for help from a family member/s, carer or a professional to decide what strategies will work best for you, and practise them so they become familiar and are part of your daily routine. Some strategies may include:

  • Planning ahead and being prepared. For example, write upcoming appointments and activities on a calendar/planner/diary or on your smartphone/device that you will see everyday. If you take medication, you could also add this to your planner or use a pill organiser to sort your tablets and have them organised for the week ahead.
  • Breaking tasks down into simple step-by-step routines. For example, ask someone to help you record a short video or take a series of photos on your smartphone/device on how to complete tasks and refer to these as needed (i.e. using a dishwasher/washing machine or making a meal/snack).
  • Having prompts to remind you of tasks. For example, set silent/vibrating alarms on your smartphone/watch to remind you when you need to do particular tasks (i.e. bedtime and getting up, having a shower, putting the bin out for rubbish collection).

NDIS will cover autism assessments, as long as you have sufficient NDIS funds available, and the need for an assessment aligns with the goals that have been agreed upon in your NDIS plan. If you need to check on this, contact your Local Area Coordinator (LAC) who worked with you on your NDIS plan, or contact your local NDIS office.

ASD is a lifelong neurological condition, but the early years in a child’s life are also a time of rapid brain development. As such, this is an optimal time in the child’s life to support them with early intervention therapies that can have a positive lifelong impact.

A young child with ASD will also respond differently to the world around them and so, having parents, teachers and support workers who understand this and who can guide them in positive ways, will make their childhood a happy one that is full of growth.