Use of program funding to obtain functional assessments for NDIS access requirements | Queensland Alliance for Mental Health

Use of program funding to obtain functional assessments for NDIS access requirements

25th January 2018

This outline is provided by the Department of Social Services (DSS) to assist organisations transitioning to the NDIS.  QAMH has taken the opportunity to add further to the information, with a focus on the needs of community mental health service providers working with

For further reading on Accessing the NDIS, specifically for Commonwealth-funded community mental health service provides, click here.

Multiple organisations across Queensland are funded to support the transition of eligible clients to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Program arrangements for the transition period allow organisations to use ‘reasonable’ funding to support clients in the NDIS access process.

Evidence of a disability

It is important to note that the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) accepts evidence of disability in the chosen format of the potential participant or their representative and does not require the provision of specific documentation.

NDIA access request needs to contain the following information:

  • Information from treating clinician (usually GP or Psychiatrist) confirming that
    • Disability has resulted from a mental health condition (specific diagnosis is not required but helpful if available)
    • The impairment/s resulting from the mental health condition are likely to remain across the person’s lifetime. Details of past, present and future treatment will assist the NDIA to understand whether the impairment/s are likely to be present on an ongoing basis;
  • Information about how the impairment/s affects the person’s everyday life on a day-to-day basis (functional impact)
    • It is important to include details of what a person can do as well as self-care and self-management.
    • Generally, the best way to provide evidence of how an impairment/s impacts on a person’s everyday life is through the provision of a functional assessments such as the LSP16 and WHODAS.
    • Functional assessments provided by an appropriately qualified mental health professional (including an AMHOCN trained support worker), together with qualitative information provided by a mental health professional, family member, carer (and/or the person themselves if they are willing and able to do so) really assists the NDIA to gain a clear picture of how the person’s impairment is impacting their life.

The NDIA also notes other information relevant to NDIS access which can contribute to the provision of evidence of disability:

  • Assessment information provided by the participant and/or the participant’s carer to Australian Government agencies such as Centrelink (e.g. for the purpose of Carer Allowance, Carer Payment or Disability Support Pension);
  • Assessment information provided to state/territory government agencies when applying for support and specialist services;
  • Assessment provided to or prepared by participant’s existing service providers, e.g. PIR assessment or recent (within 6 months) Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMS) Eligibility Screening Tool; and
  • Other assessment-related information in the participant considers is relevant and useful in describing their support needs.

The NDIA does not prefer one type of evidence over another, but is seeking to be provided with the most appropriate evidence possible to build a picture of whether the impairment is attributable to a mental health condition is likely to remain across a person’s lifetime, and the impact of the impairment on the person’s everyday life (between acute episodes of being unwell).

Hard to Reach strategy
The NDIA is also currently developing a Hard to Reach strategy, which will assist in reaching people with psychosocial disability who may have limited engagement with clinicians/MH system, and is committed to assisting people in the group according to the Scheme.

When the strategy and further information becomes available, QAMH will release an overview for our stakeholders.

 Use of program funding to purchase functional assessments – How will this impact you?

  • Given the information above, organisations should not utilise program funding to purchase functional assessments.
  • Instead, organisations should consider accrediting PIR and D2DL staff to use the LSP16 and WHODAS assessment tools to prepare functional assessment if required.
  • Organisations currently using program funding for functional assessments, should transition out of this arrangement as soon as possible and instead, implement LSP16 and WHODAS training/accreditation for program staff.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this advice, please contact Simone Finch, Acting Director – Engagement and Partnerships at or phone 07 3252 9411.