What Is SDA Accommodation, And How Does It Work?

As part of its national inclusivity strategy, Australia provides specialist housing to individuals with disabilities. The accommodation offers facilities with a higher level of support than conventional or social housing options.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) calls this type of housing Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA). It is available to eligible NDIS participants with higher support needs.

The SDA Design Standard

Housing must meet the SDA Design Standard to qualify as SDA. However, the definition is flexible and refers to multiple housing types designed for various disabilities.

Some SDA falls under the “improved livability” category. These properties have better physical access and features for individuals with intellectual or sensory impairments. Designers minimise stairs and create large open spaces where support workers can perform their duties more easily.

Other SDA falls under the “robust” category. This housing type is for individuals requiring properties that need minimal maintenance and repairs. The NDIS may recommend this category for participants with challenging and complex behaviours.

“High physical support” accommodation is for individuals needing around-the-clock care and mobility aids built into the housing. Add-ons can include hoists, home automation systems, and backup power supplies for medical devices.

Finally, fully accessible SDA calls for properties with a high level of physical access for individuals with profound physical disabilities. These might integrate wheelchair access and single-story floorplans. Wheelchair-accessible lifts to upper floors might also be available in apartments.

The NDIS continually reviews the SDA Design Standard, updating it as technologies advance. Therefore, future accommodation may offer additional support features to improve individuals’ quality of life.

Which Type Of SDA Accommodation Is Right For You?

The NDIS looks at your individual needs when determining which accommodation type suits you. Officials work with health professionals and your medical reports to identify a suitable level of care.

For instance, the scheme will explore which features will make your home straightforward to access or use. It will also explore how it will enable your separately funded in-home support and care.

According to the NDIS, SDA Design Standard categories must:

  • Not make it more challenging for support services to provide care
  • Align with needs outlined in health reports from medical professionals
  • Offer additional space in the bedroom, kitchen or living room, depending on your care needs
  • Have features required for mobility (if possible) and personal care

Who Provides Funding For SDA? 

The NDIS provides funding for SDA houses through the participant’s plan, with money coming from general tax revenues. However, while the NDIS coordinates costs, the individual controls spending. That means participants can choose the SDA option best suited to their needs.

The NDIS publishes various pricing arrangements for SDA on its website, updated annually. These give individuals more information on price limits and how the agency calculates costs. It also provides insights into SDA rules and how they apply to residents and service users.

What Does SDA Funding Cover?

According to the NDIS, “SDA funding includes the cost of the home or building you live in.” It does not include support or services inside the home, such as home care.

Participants must direct any allocated funding towards approved SDA-related projects. Money does not cover rent or general living expenses in most costs.

Steps To Apply For SDA 

Applying for SDA in Australia requires going through several steps. However, NDIS support providers can help with many of these stages, reducing admin.

Step 1: Assessment 

The first step is to undergo an assessment to establish your eligibility for accommodation. The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) will determine whether your disability warrants inclusion in the scheme.

Step 2: Plan Development

Once you are an NDIS participant, the agency will consider your application for SDA housing. This second assessment will evaluate your support needs and determine if you require more housing support.

Step 3: Approval 

The third step is approval. The NDIA will decide on whether to accept or deny your application.

Step 4: Find An SDA Provider

If the NDIA approves you, you can go ahead and choose an SDA provider in your location. Multiple options are available online.

Once you find one you like, contact them and register your interest. The provider may offer opportunities to visit the property to determine its suitability.

If you like the property, you can submit an “expression of interest.” This document tells the provider you are serious about the property.

Step 5: NDIA Review

The final step is to wait for the NDIA to review your property choice. Officials will check it meets your care needs before signing off.

Wrapping Up

Ultimately, SDA helps individuals achieve a higher quality of life. It is for NDIS participants with profound support needs, enabling support to offer a more holistic approach to care.