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  • Writer's pictureKate Bradshaw

Specialist Disability Housing (SDA)

Some people with very high needs will require special accommodation that enables them to receive the supports they need. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) refers to this as Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA).

Participants who are assessed as needing SDA as part of their reasonable and necessary supports will receive funding to cover the costs of SDA.

There are several different housing solutions and/or supports a participant must consider alongside their individual circumstances and disability support needs when determining the best housing solution for their situation.

SDA does not refer to the support services, but the homes in which these are delivered. SDA may include special designs for people with very high needs or may include fixtures, technology or features that make it feasible to provide complex or costly supports for independent living.

SDA refers only to specialist solutions and is not intended to encompass the housing needs of all people with disability. The National Disability Insurance Agency will continue to work with other providers and departments with housing responsibilities to stimulate accessible and affordable housing options for people with disability, including the promotion of universal housing designs and shared-living models.

SDA funding under the NDIS is intended to stimulate investment in the development of new high-quality dwellings for use by eligible NDIS participants. It does not refer to the support services, but instead to the homes in which these services are delivered.


The NDIS acknowledges that those with disabilities have the same right as everyone else to determine their best interests, and to have choice and control over their lives. To this end, funding for SDA is made directly to eligible participants, and is based on what is reasonable and necessary for each participant.

As a result, eligible participants can make their own decisions regarding entering into agreements with appropriate NDIS registered providers. Payments for SDA will be provided whether the eligible participant decides to construct, purchase or rent a dwelling, or already owns and lives in an SDA-eligible dwelling. This reflects the policy position that the market should ultimately determine the number and type of SDA to be made available.


Given the significant unmet demand for SDA, and that private individuals and not-for-profit organisations may well need help from developers to finance and build the required number of dwellings within a reasonable time frame, developers can tap a potential source of additional funding and/or a broader target market by accommodating eligible SDA units in residential developments. This will help meet pre-sale commitments and get projects off the ground.

For example, developers may construct SDA units within a residential development as part of arrangements with investors who may pre-purchase the SDA units and rent them to NDIS participants.

Developers will need to ensure that their projects meet the requirements of the NDIS, such as registering as an SDA provider and enrolling the SDA dwelling (including obtaining written certification against SDA design standards.) SDA Rules also limit the number of residents living within an SDA dwelling, or the number of SDA participants on a parcel of land. This is to prevent the development of large residential centres or sites providing disability accommodation, as these have been shown to provide poorer quality outcomes and to contribute to community isolation.


The SDA Rules provide descriptions of five applicable Building Types, and the Price Guide contains further details on accommodation types and pricing. The number of residents impacts on the SDA price and for the purpose of claims the number of residents in a dwelling includes both participants (whether they have SDA included in their plans or not) plus any other residents who are being accommodated at the dwelling. The five categories are;

  1. Basic

  2. Improved Liveability

  3. Fully Accessible

  4. Robust

  5. High Physical Support

You can read more about each category here and learn more about universal design by visiting the Liveable Housing Australia site here

All of Quality Health Care’s properties are SDA approved and if you would like to see what is available in which location please visit here

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