Most people who access the NDIS don’t need to live in SDA. People who do need SDA have extremely high needs. They need to live in very specialised homes, usually with high levels of person-to-person support.

To decide if someone is eligible for SDA funding, we ask three questions:

If you’re eligible, the answers to these questions and the evidence you provide helps us work out what SDA funding you can get. 

We are working to give you more tools to make it easier for you to give us your evidence.

Once we have all of your information and it is correct, we will review it and try to let you know if you can get SDA within 10 days.

Check out the SDA Rules for extra information.

Do you have 'an extreme functional impairment' or 'very high support needs'?

We look at lots of different information to decide if you have these kinds of support needs. This includes:

  • any information from your doctor or allied health professionals
  • any details from your current providers
  • your daily support requirements.

Extreme functional impairment

First, we check if you have 'extreme functional impairment'. This means you have a lot of trouble doing (or can’t do) daily tasks on your own. You might have a very hard time moving around, completing personal care tasks, or looking after yourself.

It also means you need lots of support from someone to do these things. This is on top of any assistive technology or other home modifications.

Very high support needs

You might also be eligible for SDA if you have 'very high support needs'. This also means you need a lot of person-to-person support. Your family or friends might not be able to give you this level of support informally. 

This is because it could be risky for family or friends to help out. Or, it might be dangerous for you. You may need SDA to stay safe or keep others around you safe. 

You might already live in SDA or have lived in a place like SDA for a long while. If living in a non-SDA house isn’t possible, you may have very high support needs.

Do you have an SDA needs requirement?

We also need to make sure SDA is the right option for your care. It should greatly benefit you now and in the long term. 

We think about whether SDA will give you long-term benefits for: 

  • pursuing your goals 
  • improving your functional capacity (help you do more things with less support)
  • reducing your need for person-to-person supports
  • creating better connections with your family, community, health services, education, and employment.

Depending on your needs, other kinds of supports could be a better option for you. This might mean you can keep living in your current home. 

What other support options you can get?

There might be changes we can make to your current home that would make it easier to live in. For example, fixing your bathroom if you can’t use it because of your disability.

Sometimes changes aren’t safe or possible to make to regular houses. This includes things like:

  • structural reinforcements that make hoists and other mobility aids safe
  • making all areas of a house accessible
  • if you don’t own your home and don’t have permission to change it, or don’t know how long you can live there for.

You might need alternative housing if this is the case. SDA is only one of these options.

Learn more about housing and the NDIS.

Is SDA reasonable and necessary for you?

Along with the above points, we need to consider if SDA is reasonable and necessary for you. 

Like all supports, SDA must meet the criteria in section 34 of the NDIS Act and in the SDA Rules .

Learn more about reasonable and necessary criteria.

Does SDA help you pursue your goals better than other options?

One thing we think about when deciding if SDA is reasonable and necessary is if it will help you pursue your goals. 

We need to know SDA is a better option to help you pursue your goals compared to other supports. We also need to understand if other supports could help you pursue your goals, or might even help you more. 

For example, we’ll look at what is stopping you from being able to live in a regular house. We think about if there’s anything we could fund to make that possible for you.

SDA might reduce your need for other supports compared to where you live now. Or, it could help you pursue other goals outlined in your statement of goals and aspirations.

Is SDA value for money?

SDA funding contributes to supporting your needs. Over time, SDA may help reduce the costs of other supports you require. We think about this cost, or whether SDA is “value for money” over the long term.

We think about:

  • if SDA reduces your need for other supports
  • if SDA will reduce the cost of other supports you need 
  • if SDA can give you a greater level of independence for a longer period of time
  • if you can share some supports with others
  • how much informal support you have from family and friends
  • if SDA will help maintain your supports and relationships 
  • how SDA would affect the total cost of all supports in your plan.

For most people, it’s often better value for money to fund other supports and home modifications, rather than SDA funding.

Are there any risks we need to think about? 

Like all funded supports, we must also assess any risks that could apply. We won’t provide funding if a support is likely to cause you or someone else harm. 

We think about how we can help reduce any risks. For SDA, we’ll discuss:

  • any risks to you or others, and whether SDA would help with these 
  • the support model that you and your supporters feel will work best for you
  • any risks if you live with other people.

We might also talk to you about how we can manage these risks in your plan. This might include:

  • how long we wait to review your plan
  • how often we are in contact with you 
  • if we need to fund any other supports to manage risk and make sure you’re safe.
This page current as of
21 September 2020
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