Psychology vs Psychiatry? Can they both be claimed from the NDIS?

Psychologists and Psychiatrists may seem similar but whether they can be funded by the NDIS differs. Psychologists may be funded in many situations, but a psychiatrist’s role may be much more limited.


What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?

A Psychologist is identified within the NDIS scheme as “an allied health professional” who specialises in psychology. The scope of their role often involves providing therapy and counselling to help people better manage their psychosocial conditions.  

On the other hand, a Psychiatrist is defined as a medical professional that specialises in the “diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses”. As they are trained medical practitioners, the support they provide is seen as similar to that of a doctor or specialist. As such, they are not considered allied health professionals.

Although both Psychologists and Psychiatrists can provide psychotherapy, the methods they use to support individuals tend to vary. Psychologists primarily rely on talk or behavioural therapy to support their clients whereas treatments by Psychiatrists often involve the prescription of medication.

It is this distinction that underlines the difference between whether they may be claimable from the NDIS.


Can the NDIS fund a Psychologist?

Many Participants who have psychosocial disabilities may need psychological services to help them improve their daily living skills. This may include:

  • Help to develop social skills
  • Support to improve daily living skills for greater independence
  • Help to develop behavioural management techniques
  • Support to build capacity for social and community participation
  • Help to rebuild skills and confidence

Psychologists may be viewed as reasonable and necessary supports for Participants with goals to improve in these areas. The most common way Psychologists would be funded is through budget 15, ‘Capacity Building - Improved Daily Living’ though they also may be claimed through Core.


Can the NDIS fund a Psychiatrist?

Psychiatrists are included among the health professionals that may be used to provide evidence of a psychosocial disability. However, when it comes to service provision, Psychiatrists are not typically funded by the NDIS.

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who provide clinical mental health treatment. Mental health interventions such as prescribing medication and managing treatments are not the types of support funded by the NDIS.

This is because the health system is seen as a more appropriate funding body for these supports and The NDIS does not typically fund supports that are considered the responsibility of another funding body.


Disability-related support vs health-related support?

Therapy supports which are funded by the NDIS, like Psychology, aim to respond to the disability-related health needs of a Participant in cases where:

- the care is not the usual responsibility of the health system

- the maximum medical improvement has been reached but functional capacity building is still expected.

However, there can often be an overlap between what is considered disability-related support and what is considered health-related. Click here to learn more about when the NDIS may fund health supports.


Want to know more?

If you want to find out more about claiming therapies or have questions about how we can help you navigate the NDIS, give our knowledgeable team a call on 1300 800 110 or send an email to