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A guide to NDIS support purposes and support categories

Last updated 9 June 2022

For hundreds of thousands of Australians, the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) is key to providing support that can help individuals to live independently and control their support. For many, it’s also a complex system with many functions, benefits and updates. Whether you’re hoping to be eligible to receive an NDIS plan or you simply want to learn more about the NDIS, learning about the support purposes, categories and items are a good place to start.

To differentiate the support an NDIS plan can offer, the NDIA (National Disability Insurance Agency) has identified three different support purposes within the NDIS: core supports, capital supports and capacity building supports.

Multiple support categories fall beneath each support purpose. Within these categories are support items and these items have unique amounts of funding allocated which an individual can use to access, receive and pay for supports.

To ensure individuals with NDIS plans receive valuable, affordable support, many support items have price controls which are set by the NDIA. This is also known as a price limit.

Be aware that price controls and NDIS categories differ between states, so it’s important to refer to your state’s guide on the NDIS site.

What are NDIS Core supports?

Core NDIS supports are a wide-ranging aspect of many NDIS plans. It encompasses the support necessary for NDIS participants to complete daily activities as well as any support that is required for an individual to participate in social and community events. 

There are four unique categories that can be allocated to NDIS plans:

Assistance with Daily Life: Includes support items such as assistance with daily activities, household tasks and Supported Independent Living (SIL).

Transport: Transport support is extremely important for most NDIS participants as it allows them to access disability supports outside their home and become active participants in their community. Most transport supports currently don’t have price controls, and this funding can be used for either private or public transport services.

Consumables: A consumable is an everyday item a person living with a disability may require, such as equipment for eating and continence products.

Assistance with Social & Community Participation: This includes support items that can enable an individual to engage with community, social or recreational activities. This category can help NDIS participants reach their lifestyle and social goals.

For many of the support items within each of the above support categories, price controls apply and these limits can differ depending on the time of day the support is given, the day of the week the support is given, where in the household the support is given or the nature of the NDIS participants’ disability. For information on pricing limits, visit the Pricing arrangements page on the NDIS website.

What are NDIS Capital supports?

Capital supports include support categories that are also known as ‘investments’ that can enable NDIS participants to optimise their living arrangements to achieve independence and freedom. Within capital supports, there are two key support categories:

Assistive technology (AT): AT can include a wide variety of technologies that can cater for a range of individuals, such as memory aids, assistive devices in bathrooms and kitchens and environmental control systems. This category will also include funding for the installation and changes to vehicle modifications. You can learn more about funding for AT and consumables in the NDIA Assistive Technology & Consumables Code Guide.

Home: This category includes funding for home modifications and Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) supports.

What are NDIS Capacity building supports?

Capacity building supports can allow individuals to experience choice and control while receiving support to help them reach their goals. This category focuses on enabling a participant to build their independence and skills.

Support Coordination: this category includes giving participants the tools for support connection, support coordination and specialist support coordination.

Improved living arrangements: this may involve support that is required to help an individual find appropriate accommodation, such as a home or rental property.

Increased social and community participation: this category involves supports that can enable participants to attend social events such as classes, sport coaching or camps.

Finding and keeping a job: seeking employment is an important part of many NDIS plans, and this category can help participants to successfully become employed through Australian Disability Enterprises.

Improved relationships: if a participant has difficulty forming or maintaining relationships and connections, NDIS funding can help them to receive behaviour support from health professionals.

Improved health and wellbeing: involving both physical wellbeing activities and dietetics, this category can help individuals to receive support to help improve physical mobility and wellbeing.

Improved learning: this can include support for skills training, advice and assistance for when an NDIS participant transitions from school to tertiary education.

Improved life choices: this is an important part of an NDIS participants’ journey to experience independence and freedom of choice. ‘Improved life choices’ includes giving an individual the tools to build financial and organisational skills, as well as develop their self-management capabilities and ability to direct supports and take part in their NDIS plan management.

Improved Daily Living: this includes a variety of services which are provided by health professionals such as therapy services, maintenance therapy, massage therapy, multidisciplinary team intervention, therapy reports, early childhood intervention supports and group supports for therapy. 

Price controls for the support categories within capacity building supports can vary anywhere between $28.66 and $222.85.

To learn more about the price controls that apply to support items, visit the NDIS site.

Want to be in control of your supports? If you’re Plan Managing or Self Managing your NDIS plan, you can directly connect with Independent Support Workers on Mable in your local community, organise upcoming support sessions and maintain your support history. 


  • Assistive technology
  • NDIS Capacity building supports
  • NDIS capital supports
  • NDIS core supports
  • NDIS plan
  • NDIS plan management
  • NDIS self management
  • NDIS transport
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