Specialist support eligibility

The Disability Service Act 2006 outlines who can be considered for specialist disability support.

Being assessed as eligible for specialist disability services does not mean you will receive funding. You will be linked to specialist support services if and when they are available.

Eligibility criteria

There are 7 criteria that must be met in order to be considered eligible. These are based on the Disability Services Act 2006 and the Disability Services' Eligibility Policy, and are divided into 3 clusters.

Cluster 1—about you

You are:

1. an Australian citizen, the holder of a visa that gives permanent residency rights, or a New Zealand citizen who arrived in Australia before 26 Feb 2001; AND

2. a Queensland resident; AND

3. aged under 65 at the time of application.

Cluster 2—about your disability

Your disability is:

4. Due to an intellectual, psychiatric, cognitive (including both congenital and acquired impairments), neurological, sensory or physical impairment, or combination of impairments; AND

5. Permanent or likely to be permanent (may or may not be of a chronic or episodic nature).

Cluster 3—about your support needs

Your disability results in:

6. A substantial reduction in your capacity (in one or more of the following areas) for communication, social interaction, learning, mobility or self-care/management; AND

7. A need for specialist disability support.

Children aged under 6

Children under 6 are eligible where they meet all criteria in Cluster 1, and have:

  • significant developmental delay, or
  • disability that is attributable to an intellectual, psychiatric, cognitive (including both congenital and acquired impairments), neurological, sensory or physical impairment, or combination of impairments.

When the child turns 6, they must meet the eligibility criteria for all three clusters to remain eligible to receive services.

Eligibility evidence

It is the role of the Disability Services Service Advisor to determine whether you are eligible. A Service Advisor will determine if you need a specialist needs assessment and will discuss with you which supporting documentation from the list below to bring with you to an assessment meeting.

Cluster 1 documentation

The table below lists the documents you can provide to help us confirm your eligibility under cluster 1.

The 'Eligibility type' column indicates which of the three criteria each document can confirm. Some documents can provide evidence of more than 1 criteria.

Documents you can provide to help us confirm your eligibility
Documents you can provide as evidence Eligibility type
Australian citizenship or residency Queensland residency Under 65 years
Australian birth certificate* Yes No Yes
Australian passport Yes No Yes
Letter from the Commonwealth Government confirming citizenship Yes No Yes
Australian citizenship certificate** Yes No Yes
Bank statements (dated within the previous 6 months) No Yes No
Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card or Health Care Card No Yes No
Certificate of Australian citizenship by descent Yes No No
Certificate of permanent residency Yes No No
Council rates notice (Queensland) No Yes No
Department of Child Safety document (for children only) No Yes Yes
Department of Veteran's Affairs (DVA) card No No Yes
Valid visa from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship*** Yes No Yes
Immunisation history statement (from Medicare) showing names, date of birth and address (for children only) No Yes No
Housing rental contract No Yes No
Queensland driver licence No Yes Yes
School registration for a school aged child No Yes Yes
Telephone or utilities bills (showing a Queensland residential address) No Yes No

* If the applicant is a child under 10, at least 1 parent must also meet citizenship/residency requirements.

** A Medicare Card can also be used by Indigenous applicants if they have no other proof of citizenship.

*** Valid visa for migrant applicants

  • Your visa must provide you with the rights of a permanent resident of Australia.
  • Your New Zealand passport must be stamped with date of entry to Australia before 26 February 2001 or you must provide a confirmation letter from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship showing arrival from New Zealand to Australia prior to 26 Feb 2001 and residence in Australia since that time.

Cluster 2 documentation

You will need a formal assessment report or letter from a suitably qualified professional who can tell us more information about your disability and whether it is permanent. Ideally they should have provided treatment, intervention, or support to you in the last six months, except where specified.

Intellectual impairment

The intellectual impairment category includes reports for children 0–5 years who have significant or global developmental delay, or who are at risk of an intellectual impairment.

The following professionals can diagnose intellectual impairment:

  • Paediatrician (where the applicant is a child, or aged 18-21 years and possessing a paediatrician's letter less than 5 years old)
  • Clinical psychologist or suitably qualified psychologist
  • Neurologist
  • Psychiatrist
  • General practitioner, if you live in a rural or regional area or an Indigenous Community where there are no available specialists.

Psychiatric impairment

A psychiatric impairment must be verified by both a psychiatrist AND a mental health professional.


  • Must confirm that the applicant has a diagnosed mental illness; AND
  • That medical interventions have been trialled and interventions are required to sustain the person living in the community.

Mental health professional (such as a mental health nurse)

  • Must confirm that the applicant's mental illness directly and severely impairs their ability to live independently, maintain employment, maintain friendships, and participate meaningfully in the community (both when well and unwell).

Cognitive impairment

The following professionals can diagnose cognitive impairment:

  • Neurologist
  • Neuropsychologist
  • Clinical psychologist or suitably qualified psychologist
  • Paediatrician (where the person is a child)
  • Psychiatrist

Neurological impairment

The following professionals can diagnose neurological impairment:

  • Paediatrician (where the person is a child)
  • Neurologist
  • Neuropsychologist
  • Psychiatrist

Sensory impairment (loss of sight or hearing, or both)

The following professionals can diagnose sensory impairment:

  • General Practitioner
  • Ophthalmologist or optometrist (in the case of sight problems)
  • Audiologist or otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat specialist)
  • Otologist (for hearing problems)

Physical impairment

The following professionals can diagnose physical impairment:

  • General Practitioner
  • Paediatrician (where the person is a child)
  • Physiotherapist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Speech pathologist (where applicable)

Cluster 3 documentation

Eligibility under Cluster 3, regarding the impact of your disability, is determined by the specialist needs assessment.

Further information