What is Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)?
Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) is a type of housing designed for people with disability who have extreme functional impairment or very high support needs. SDA dwellings have accessible features to help residents live more independently and allow other supports to be delivered better or more safely.
Different SDA categories and what they are
There are four SDA design categories:
Basic design category:
This is the most basic level of SDA and is designed for people with less complex support needs. Features may include wider doorways, lever handles, and accessible bathrooms.
Improved liveability category:
This category is designed for people with more complex support needs. Features may include hoists, accessible kitchens, and specialised equipment.
This category is designed for people with very high support needs who require a high level of physical support. Features may include reinforced walls, specialised equipment, and 24-hour support staff.
Fully accessible category:
This category is designed for people with very high support needs who require a fully accessible home. Features may include hoists, accessible kitchens and bathrooms, and specialised equipment.
Eligibility for Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)
To get Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) funding in your NDIS Plan, the NDIS has to decide that you are eligible for SDA. To be eligible for SDA, you must:
- have an extreme functional impairment or very high support needs
- meet the specialist disability accommodation needs requirement and the NDIS funding criteria
Extreme functional impairment means that you have a significant and permanent disability that requires a high level of support to manage your daily activities.
Very high support needs means that you require support from two or more people for most of your daily activities.
Put simply, you must demonstrate that your SDA funding request is both reasonable and essential for enhancing your independence, overall quality of life, and well-being.
Typically, you can achieve this by obtaining an occupational therapy assessment that outlines your NDIS housing objectives. This assessment should demonstrate how the physical structure of the home is crucial in preventing long-term health decline and fostering your capacity for personal development.
How to get SDA funding
To secure Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) funding, you must be an NDIS participant and have SDA included under Capital Supports in your NDIS plan through the NDIA.
Typically, SDA eligibility is assessed during existing plan reviews, where you would submit a change of circumstances application. The application process is extensive and you need to be thorough and address every assessment criteria.
You don’t need to have a specific residence identified to test for SDA eligibility. It can be included in your plan for future use, a critical consideration, especially if the health of the person with a disability or their caregivers is at risk.
Follow these five steps to integrate SDA funding into your NDIS plan:
- Obtain funding and assistance for exploring housing options—leveraging the expertise of a Support Provider and Allied Health worker can be immensely helpful.
- Develop a clear housing goal.
- Create a life vision.
- Undertake a thorough SDA eligibility assessment.
- Submit the SDA summary and evidence (SDA Housing Plan) to the NDIA.
What evidence is required?
When you apply for SDA funding, you will need to provide evidence of your disability and support needs. This evidence may include:
- Medical reports
- Assessments from therapists or other professionals
- A letter from your doctor or specialist
In some cases, the NDIA may require you to have additional assessments before they approve your Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) funding. These assessments may include:
- A home assessment
- A support needs assessment
- A financial assessment
Home and Living Support Evidence Form
The Home and Living Support Evidence Form is a document that you can use to provide evidence of your need for SDA funding. The form includes questions about your disability, support needs, and housing situation.
Finding a home
Once you have been approved for SDA funding, you can start looking for a home. There are a number of ways to find SDA homes, including:
- Searching online
- Contacting SDA providers
- Contacting your local NDIS office
Nextt has a range of disability accommodation homes, including SDA homes. Please visit our SIL and SDA homes page (https://nextt.com.au/sil-properties/) to see our current available vacancies.
Benefits of Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)
There are many benefits to living in Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA), including:
- Increased independence: SDA can help you to live more independently by providing you with the support and features that you need.
- Improved quality of life: SDA can help you to improve your quality of life by providing you with a safe and accessible home.
- Reduced stress: SDA can help to reduce your stress by providing you with a place where you can relax and feel comfortable.
- Increased social interaction: SDA can help you to increase your social interaction by providing you with the opportunity to live with other people with disabilities.
Challenges of Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)
There are also some challenges associated with SDA, including:
- Cost: SDA can be expensive, and you may need to contribute to the cost of your accommodation.
- Availability: SDA is in high demand, and there may not be a suitable home available in your area.
- Waiting times: There may be a waiting list for SDA homes.
Overall, SDA can be a great option for people with disability who have extreme functional impairment or very high support needs. SDA can help you to live more independently, improve your quality of life, reduce your stress, and increase your social interaction.
Here are some additional things to consider about SDA:
- SDA is designed to be a permanent housing solution for people with disability.
- SDA homes are typically located in mainstream communities, close to shops, schools, and other amenities.
- SDA providers are responsible for maintaining the home and providing any necessary support to residents.
- Residents of SDA homes have the same rights and responsibilities as other tenants.
If you are considering SDA, it is important to talk to your NDIS planner to see if it is the right option for you.