What happens to my disability support when I turn 65?

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Getting the support you need is important for your quality of life, but the rules around who provides disability services to older Australians raise a few questions.

Key Points

  • If you’re already on the NDIS when you turn 65 you can still access supports after
  • My Aged Care can provide similar supports to people with a disability who are older than 65
  • The funding program which can provide disability support depends on the individual’s age and situation

One of the eligibility criteria for receiving support from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is that you have to be under 65 years old when applying.

People who are over 65 can’t apply for the NDIS and the Australian Government encourages them to access supports through the Commonwealth-funded aged care system, which is targeted at older Australians.

To answer what happens to your disability support funding when you turn 65, a few different parts of your situation need to be taken into account.

Government-funded aged care versus NDIS

The purpose of Government-funded aged care is to help older people to live independently at home, find temporary supports or help them move into an aged care home.

The Commonwealth aged care program funds some supports that are similar to the NDIS – such as help with cooking and cleaning as well as transport, personal care and certain therapies.

Disability related supports covered within the Government aged care system include:

  • Home modifications to keep you safe around your home and aid your mobility
  • Aids and equipment for everyday tasks
  • Personal care in your home for hygiene and self-care support
  • Physiotherapy, podiatry and other therapies
  • Transport to appointments and for social outings
  • Nursing for medical and healthcare support in your home

The most noticeable difference between the NDIS and Government aged care is the age of participants.

If your needs don't change when you turn 65

If you were accepted for the NDIS before turning 65 years old but have now turned 65, you’ll be able to continue with the same disability supports through the NDIS.

If you were aged 65 years or over when the NDIS was rolled out, you could be receiving the disability support you had through other State or Territory Government programs through the Continuity of Support Programme (CoS).

CoS is only available to people older than 65 who already had disability support funded before the NDIS began, but want to continue with the same supports they were previously receiving.

This program does not accept new clients and service providers completed transferring over eligible clients to the CoS in 2020.

If you were not considered eligible for CoS when it became available in your region and are now older than 65, you may be able to receive support through Government-funded aged care.

If your needs do change after you turn 65

When you need a higher level of support than what you are receiving on the NDIS, you will likely need to transfer over to aged care services and can apply through the My Aged Care portal.

If your NDIS funding helped you to live in your own home but you need more support to continue to live there, the aged care system may be able to provide that increased level of support instead of the NDIS.

The Government has set targets to stop people under 65 from entering residential aged care by 2022 and to have no one under the age of 65 living in residential aged care in Australia from 2025, which links to the focus of having people supported to live at home through the Government-funded aged care system.

But in the case that your needs are best met in a permanent residential care service (such as an aged care home) after you turn 65, you will stop receiving NDIS funding as your care will be provided completely by the residential facility.

If you have received support from the CoS, you can have your services reviewed when your needs change and in some cases you will be able to continue with the CoS funding more supports, but in other cases you will need to transition to aged care services.

What if I acquire my disability later in life?

If you are already older than 65 when you acquire your disability, for example, if you have a car accident and become a paraplegic, you are not eligible for the NDIS or the CoS funding.

You could still be eligible for aged care support and, depending on your disability, that funding may cover the support you need.

It is worth doing an aged care services assessment to see what support you can receive and this can be done online or by calling My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.

There is ongoing advocacy by the disability support industry and some politicians around extending the same supports available under the NDIS to older people who acquire their disability later in life, but changes to the current system are not expected until after the end of 2022.

Where can I find help?

You can read more about aged care options including care at home on our Aged Care Guide website.

For questions about funding or to organise an aged care assessment, contact the My Aged Care Call Centre on 1800 200 422.

The Disability Gateway website and phone line, 1800 643 787, also provide help for people with a disability to find information.

Are you thinking about moving from the NDIS to Government-funded aged care? Tell us in the comments below.

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