Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) Guide

Living independently is a goal of many people who are participating in the NDIS program. Having the ability to be more self-sufficient and live more independently is beneficial to overall health and happiness and can also be a step towards even greater independence.

Specialist Disability Accommodation is part of the NDIS that can help individuals achieve greater independence. This program is often confused with other programs like Supported Independent Living (SIL) but is actually a different type of funding altogether.

To better understand this beneficial program, we have answered some of the most commonly asked questions.

What is Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)?

Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) is type of housing that provides NDIS participants with the support they need. The NDIS provides funding for people who need high levels of support and housing modifications to meet their disability needs.

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

SDA support is funding used to enhance your living area to make it more suitable for your needs. Funding is very individualized and can be used to transform a home or apartment.

The NDIS participant can either live alone or with someone that provides care to qualify for the program.

SDA funding is provided through Capital Funding Support Category 6. It can only be used for making physical changes to a home or apartment to make it more accommodating for a disability.

This funding can’t be used for any other program or purposes, such as rent for the accommodated living space.

What’s the difference between SDA and Supported Independent Living (SIL)?

Supported Independent Living (SIL) and Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) are both designed to help those with a disability live more independently.

However, the programs are designed for different reasons. SDA is concerned with changing the structure of a home or apartment to make it more accommodating for those with a disability.

SIL is designed to help those with a disability with 24/7 support for personal needs such as personal care, shopping, cooking, and cleaning services.

Does the NDIS Provide Funding for Specialist Disability Accommodation?

NDIS does provide funding for SDA through Capital Funding Support Category 6. This is a separate program and is not automatically granted once you have been approved for NDIS benefits. You must apply for this service in a separate application process.

How to Get SDA Included in Your NDIS Plan

It is a complex process to be approved for SDA funding. In fact, only a small percent of all applicants are successful in getting approved for SDA funding at this time.

Under the NDIS guidelines, you must have “extreme functional impairment and/or very high support needs” to qualify for this program.

It is up to the NDIS participant to prove that they meet this criterion for receiving the support; the NDIS will not automatically award this support to anyone.

While there are no specific points that must be shown to qualify for this support, if you fall into any of the following categories, you are more qualified to receive this type of benefit:

  • Your behaviors could harm yourself or others without the proper modifications in place.
  • Informal support systems are not enough to accommodate your disability.
  • Modifications to your current home are not enough to accommodate your disability.

To increase your chances for funding, it is recommended that you work with an Occupational Therapist (OT). An OT can perform many assessments about your current situation and create a detailed report showing the necessity for special accommodations.

If you do not have funding for an occupational therapist, you can request a review of your NDIS plan and seek funding under Improved Daily Living (Category 15) to cover the funding for an occupational therapist.

Make sure to request enough funding so that the therapist can complete all the necessary evaluations to help you qualify for the SDA program.

As an additional benefit, your OT may be able to find additional programs that can help you enhance your living standards under the NDIS program.

Once your occupational therapist provides you with your completed report, you will need to contact the NDIA again for a review.

When you go to your appointment with your Local Area Coordinator, inform them that you are interested in Specialist Disability Accommodation funding so that you can live more independently.

This is very important. You must stress that you want to be more independent and that you require SDA funding to make that happen.

Where to Find SDA Accommodations

Finding the right accommodations is as important as getting the funding that you need for your accommodations. You should look for a place that is close to transportation services, near friends and family, and if you are currently employed, close to where you work.

You also want to make sure that the housing has the accommodations that you need to help you live an independent lifestyle.

To find Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) vacancies, a good place to start is to speak with your Support Coordinator or Local Area Coordinator.

To find a list of NDIS Support Coordinators in your local area, check out our NDIS Support Coordination category page here.


Related article: Looking for more information on Supported Independent Living (SIL)? Check out NDIS Supported Independent Living (SIL) Guide here.

Related article: For more information on Respite Care/Short Term Accommodation under the NDIS, check out NDIS Respite Care/Short Term Accommodation Guide here.

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