Spinal Cord Injury & Accessing the NDIS | MyCareSpace

Spinal Cord Injury & Accessing the NDIS

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Spinal Cord Injury and NDIS

As of June 2023, there are 5,895 active NDIS participants with spinal cord injury as their primary disability. This makes up 1% of participants on the Scheme.

69% of participants with a spinal cord injury are aged 45 years and over.

$860 million of paid supports were provided to participants with a spinal cord injury, compared to $704 million in the previous year. This is an increase of 22% of funded support.

Visual representation of statistics discussed above

$150,600 was the average payment for a participant with a spinal cord injury, an increase of 14% compared to the previous year.

The number of participants with a spinal cord injury has increased by 8% and 6% in the last two years.

Visual representation of statistics discussed above

These trends show that funded support for people with Spinal Cord Injuries are increasing.


Are people with Spinal Cord Injury eligible for NDIS funding?

The NDIA has eligibility criteria for people applying to the NDIS.

You are eligible for NDIS funding if you meet the following NDIS Access Criteria:

  • You are aged between 9 and 65 years
  • You are an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or Protected Special Category Visa holder
  • You live in Australia
  • You have a disability caused by a permanent impairment (lifelong disability)

See Who is eligible for the NDIS? for further information on NDIS eligibility criteria.


NDIS Eligibility Requirements for Spinal Cord Injury

Within the NDIS eligibility requirements, the NDIA have published Condition Lists. On these lists include conditions that are considered likely to meet eligibility criteria for having a disability that results in a permanent and lifelong impairment.

If you have a condition stated in Condition List A, you are likely to meet the disability requirements to access the NDIS.

Spinal Cord Injury is included in Condition List A if the injury, as specified by the NDIA, results in paraplegia, quadriplegia or tetraplegia. Learn more about these classifications here: What is a Spinal Cord Injury?

You may be eligible for the NDIA if you have a complete or incomplete spinal cord injury.


Evidence of Spinal Cord Injury for NDIS Eligibility

The NDIS requires information about your disability when determining whether you are eligible to access the scheme.

When providing evidence to access the NDIS, you will have the best chance for success if you include information specifically about how your impairment is permanent and how your disability/condition substantially reduces your functional capacity or ability to undertake activities in one or more of the following areas:


This involves how you speak, write, or use sign language and gestures to express yourself. Communication can involve face to face interactions and electronic communication, such as use of phone and computer for SMS, emails etc.

The NDIA considers how well you communicate with others and how your communication is impacted by your spinal cord injury.


This involves how you make and keep friends, or interact with others in the community. The NDIA considers how you socialise with others and what barriers may be present with socialising directly related to your spinal cord injury.

Are there any conditions secondary to your spinal cord injury related to your mental health that impacts your ability to regulate your emotions and feelings in social situations?


This involves how you learn, understand and remember new things, and practice and use new skills. At the time of your spinal cord injury, was there any impact to your brain? If your cognitive abilities have been affected, this may impact how you learn and interact with the world.


This involves how you move around your home, transfer in and out of bed, transfer on and off the toilet, in and out of the shower etc. This also involves how you move around your community and transportation. NDIA will consider whether you require use of a mobility aid or home environment modifications to promote your independence with mobility.

Self Care

How do you manage your personal care needs? Maintain hygiene? Eat and drink? Get dressed? Go to the toilet? You will need to provide information about how you complete your self-care tasks, and how much help you need from others for these routines.


This involves how you organise your life - How do you plan? Make decisions? Look after yourself? The NDIS considers your capacity to manage your life, involving your ability to problem solve and make your own decisions.

For further information regarding eligibility criteria, please review the NDIS Guidelines in Becoming a Participant


How do I know if I meet the NDIS eligibility criteria?

Of the activities listed above, you must be able to demonstrate impairment across one or more of these requirements.

When you submit an application to the NDIS, it will be reviewed and you will be provided with an outcome if you have been successful or not in meeting the eligibility criteria to access the NDIS.


What do I need to include in my NDIS application?

To apply to the NDIS, you will need to complete an Access Request Form

As part of the access request process, you will be asked:

  • to confirm your identity and/or a person's authority to act on your behalf
  • questions to see if you meet the NDIS access requirements (age, residence and disability)
  • questions about providing consent to enter the NDIS and about seeking information from third parties.

It is helpful to provide letters and reports from your treating health professionals with information regarding your spinal cord injury and the impact it has in your everyday life.


Do I need an Occupational Therapy (OT) report to access the NDIS?

While an OT report is not a requirement for an NDIS application, it is helpful to submit an OT report with your application as this will provide important information as to how your spinal cord injury impacts your functional capacity across the eligibility categories listed above.

The report will link any impairment you experience across the eligibility criteria to your spinal cord injury. 

The report may not provide specific recommendations for supports you require, but rather it should provide a broader recommendation as to whether NDIS-funded supports are considered necessary for you.

Learn more about Occupational Therapy here: Decoding Allied Health


How do I get an OT report?

An OT report is completed following an OT assessment. Any assessments and reports completed prior to accessing the NDIS cannot be funded by the NDIS.

If you are currently in hospital, you will likely have access to an in-patient Occupational Therapist to complete this assessment and prepare a report

If you are not linked in with spinal service, you may have to pay for the OT assessment and report privately. In some cases, you may be able to claim some of the cost through Medicare.


Does an OT assessment and report guarantee acceptance onto the NDIS?

No, as ultimately the decision is made by the NDIA. However, an OT assessment and report will be helpful in clearly demonstrating the link between your spinal cord injury and the functional impairment experienced. This is what the NDIA considers when making their decision.

Other treating health professionals can also provide complete a letter or report to assist with your application if they can provide relevant recommendations. If you have support from a social worker at hospital, they may assist you with completing the paperwork to access the NDIS.


How do I find an Occupational Therapist for an assessment to access the NDIS?

The MyCareSpace Connections Team can help you to find an Occupational Therapist with capacity in your area or via online.

Find an OT


More information on how to access the NDIS

How to Apply for the NDIS

Writing an NDIS Carer Statement for NDIS Access and Reviews

Writing Reports for NDIS Access and Plan Reviews (Reassessments)


Our Connections Team at MyCareSpace are linked in with a range of providers offering telehealth services with availability. Let our team help you navigate the NDIS and find the right service for you.
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