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.
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 My Aged Care program, which is targeted at senior 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.
My Aged Care versus NDIS
The purpose of My 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 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 under My Aged Care include:
Home modifications to help your safety and mobility around your home
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 My Aged Care is the age of participants and the fact that My Aged Care is means tested and may involve fees or charges. The NDIS is not means tested.
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 of 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 My Aged Care.
If your needs do change after you turn 65
When you need a higher level of support than what you were receiving on the NDIS you will likely need to transfer to aged care services and can apply through My Aged Care.
If your NDIS funding helped you to live in your own home but you need more support to continue to live there, My Aged Care may be able to provide that increased level of support instead of NDIS.
The Government has set targets to stop people under 65 from entering residential aged care by next year 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 My Aged Care.
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 My 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 team 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.
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