Question and answer - 16 July 2018

What is SDA?

Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) is funding for specialised housing designed to support people with extreme functional impairment or very high support needs.

SDA is not housing for all people with a disability, it only caters for those that need a specialist housing solution. SDA funding may cover specialist designs for people with very high needs or a specific location or features that make it feasible to provide complex or costly supports for more independent living. SDA homes may range from a purpose built apartment in a mixed development through to a modified free standing house.

How do I know if SDA can be part of my NDIS plan?

There are legal rules on SDA eligibility that must be met in order for SDA to be included in a participant’s plan.

During the planning process you will have a conversation with an NDIS representative about your current situation and supports. If required, this conversation will include discussions about your housing goals. Exploration of all other possible housing solutions and supports will be undertaken before SDA eligibility can be determined and included in your plan.

How do I find SDA to live in?

If your plan includes funding for SDA, the NDIS can provide support hours to help you find a suitable SDA home. Providers of SDA are strongly encouraged to advertise any vacancies, just like in the general housing market. This might be through other disability support organisations, advertisements in the media including on the internet.

I have heard there aren't enough SDA houses currently available. What is the NDIA doing about it?

There is a long standing undersupply of SDA in the Australian marketplace. The SDA pricing framework aims to increase the number of new homes being built for use as SDA. As with any housing, building new SDA houses takes time but we are already seeing new SDA homes become available. The NDIA will continue to monitor the need for SDA and availability, and provide reliable data to help the market to grow.

What are SDA service agreements and why are they important?

Providers and participants must have a SDA service agreement. This agreement provides clarity to both parties on what is being provided and the terms under which these are provided.

SDA funding is for the provision of the specialised house. Person-to-person supports such a therapy are funded separately.

The SDA service agreement is separate to other supports service agreements that are provided to a person within their home, for example, Supported Independent Living (SIL) must be a separate agreement from SDA. This is to increase participant choice and control over who provides their house and who provides the supports inside the home, and the ability to change these separately if required.

Why are there defined SDA types and design categories?

The type and design categories set the criteria so that SDA is high quality and fit-for-purpose. Providers of SDA are required to declare that the dwelling meets the NDIA’s specialist requirements and the relevant state legislation and standards. These individual dwellings must also be enrolled with the NDIA.

What if I don’t have SDA funding in my plan?

There is a significant number of people with disability in Australia who need some form of housing assistance but do not need SDA. It is currently estimated only 6% of NDIS participants will need SDA.

NDIS participants may be able to access other NDIS housing related supports to help them achieve their housing goals.

State and Territory Governments are still responsible for the provision of social and affordable housing to the community, including people with disability.

What are the other NDIS housing related supports?

There are a number of housing related supports that may be covered under the three budgets in a participant’s plan; Core supports, Capacity Building supports and Capital supports.

  1. Core supports: Supported Independent Living (SIL) can provide assistance with daily tasks in the home to develop the skills of individuals, and support to access the community.
  2. Capacity Building supports: There are the range of supports for participants to build their independence and skills. One type of capacity building support that is used by participants is Support Coordination. Support Coordinators can help participants to explore all of their housing options, such as shared equity solutions, pooling supports with participants and non-participants to enable shared living arrangements, and sourcing an affordable rental property.

    Capacity Building in a participant’s plan might also assist the participant to develop skills for things such as:
  • Performing daily life tasks to live as autonomously as possible.
  • Employment support, assessments and counselling which could assist with housing affordability.
  • Assistance with managing accommodation and tenancy obligations, and
  • Social skills development to make possible or improve shared living arrangements.
  • Capital supports: The NDIS can also provide funding for home modifications or assistive technology to sustain or obtain accommodation. These supports are called ‘capital’ because they involve a one-off cost to purchase or upgrade an asset, such as wheelchair or the installation of a ramp at the participant’s house. The NDIA funds these supports because they are investments that are likely to have a long useful life for participants, improving their quality of life and reducing their reliance on other support types.
  • Funding for home modifications might include non-portable ramps, modification of bathroom and kitchen areas and fittings, stair lifts, repositioning switches and power outlets, application of slip resistant coatings and activity monitoring solutions.
  • Funding for assistive technology covers devices that allow individuals to perform tasks they would otherwise be unable to do or increases the ease and safety with which these tasks can be performed. This could include equipment items for mobility, personal care, such as pressure mattresses and bathing and toileting equipment and communication and recreational inclusion items.