1. What is the purpose of this operational guideline?
This Operational Guideline is to be used in conjunction with the Operational Guideline on Planning and provides additional guidance in relation to the preparation and review of a participant’s plan when Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) is under consideration.
In particular, this Operational Guideline provides guidance in relation to making a decision to approve a statement of participant supports which includes SDA, and where a plan includes SDA, how the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) will describe the SDA type and location.
2. What is the relevant legislation?
Currently, there is no SDA specific legislation.
Therefore, decisions which involve including SDA in plans are made applying the same legislation which applies for all plan decisions.
For decisions involving SDA, the following legislation is particularly relevant:
- Sections 33, 34 , 36, 42, 43 and 44 of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (NDIS Act);
- Rules 3.1 to 3.7 and 5.1 to 5.3 of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Supports for Participants) Rules 2013 (Supports for Participants Rules); and
- Rules 6.1 to 6.8 of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Plan Management) Rules 2013 (Plan Management Rules).
SDA refers to accommodation for participants who require specialist housing solutions to assist with the delivery of their supports and which cater for their significant functional impairment or very high support needs. SDA does not refer to the support services themselves, but the homes in which these services are delivered.
SDA may include special designs for participants with very high support needs, or may have a location or feature which makes it feasible to provide complex or costly supports.
SDA is intended to be a specialist solution for participants with a very high need for constant or immediately available supports, and/or those participants with extreme or complete functional impairment in a core area (self-care, mobility or self-management) where key activity limitations remain even following the use of assistive technologies, home modifications or capacity building supports.
Once a person becomes a participant in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), they develop a personal goal-based plan with the NDIA.
The statement of participant supports specifies, amongst other matters, the general supports (if any) that will be provided, and the reasonable and necessary supports (if any) that will be funded under the NDIS (section 33(2)).
SDA is one type of reasonable and necessary support that may be funded for a participant under the NDIS. For other support types, please refer to the Operational Guideline on including specific types of supports in plans.
The decision to approve a statement of participant supports should consider the inclusion of SDA as a support in the context of the other supports to be funded or provided for a participant and the overall plan cost, not just the cost of SDA.
When deciding to include any support in a participant’s plan, the NDIA must have regard to a range of matters set out in the NDIS Act, including the participant’s statement of goals and aspirations.
Specifically, before including any support in a participant’s plan, the NDIA must:
- be satisfied that each support meets each of the criteria outlined in section 34(1)(a)-(f) of the NDIS Act and the Supports for Participants Rules (see deciding to include supports in a participant’s plan);
- have regard to the specific principles relating to plans;
- have regard to the other considerations which may apply when including supports in a participant’s plan; and
- depending on the specific type of support being considered, refer to the additional guidance available for specific support types, including the additional guidance in this operational guideline relating to SDA (see deciding to include SDA in a participant’s plan).