What is SDA? Finding specialist disability accommodation that meets your needs

What is SDA? Finding specialist disability accommodation that meets your needs featured image

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is working hard to create more housing options for participants on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). These NDIS housing options include budget allocations for any needed home modification, Individualised Living Options (ILO), Supported Independent Living (SDL), and Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA).

What is SDA?

Specialist Disability Accommodation encompasses a range of housing options that specifically cater for people who live with extreme functional disabilities or have very high care needs.

SDA housing is designed to have accessible features so residents have the freedom to live as independently as possible, while also allowing other support to be delivered safely and more effectively. Different SDA properties will have different design features to accommodate various types of disabilities. For example, an SDA property might have 24/7 support, bathroom hoists, and wide doorways.

Some NDIS participants are eligible to receive funding for SDA through their plan. Support coordinators can provide additional support to help manage the funding, as well as find and apply for a suitable SDA option. SDA funding may be allocated towards housing, but it is not able to be used against the cost of other services and support.

If you or a loved one have really high support requirements that make it difficult to live in regular housing, SDA might be a good housing option for you to consider.

Who is eligible for SDA?

Many NDIS participants won’t require SDA arrangements. SDA is most suitable for people who need to live in very specialised homes that are designed to suit their needs. For people who do not have high intensity disabilities, there are also other NDIS accommodation options such as private rentals and public housing.

In order to be eligible for SDA, there are certain criteria that the participant must satisfy. Firstly, you must be an NDIS participant. When granting SDA options to an NDIS participant, the National Disability insurance Agency will consider three questions:

  • Does the participant have significant functional impairment or require a high level of support?

  • Is SDA funding the correct option for the participant or will they benefit from a different disability accommodation option?

  • Does SDA funding meet the guidelines for the participant’s plan?

The NDIA might classify you as a participant with high support needs if you need assistance with mobility, self-care, and self-management tasks.

SDA is meant to be a long-term option that can help reduce a participant’s overall needs and improve their quality of life. For participants who will not benefit from long-term SDA, there are other accessible accommodation options the NDIA can offer.

What type of SDA housing options are there?

There are only certain building types that are considered for SDA purposes. These buildings must also conform to building laws issued by the state or the Building Code of Australia.

SDA building types include:


This refers to self-contained units that are within a larger residential building.

Villas and Townhouses

These are separate accommodation units that are semi-attached within a single land lot.


Low-rise buildings that are detached. These will also have a garden or courtyard.

Group Home

These will house up to five residents.

What to look for according to your SDA needs

To get the most benefit from SDA, it is important to select a home that is set up to suit the participant’s individual care needs. There are the four design elements that NDIA considers to be important for SDA:

Improved livability

These houses are designed to provide better physical access. They may have specially designed features suitable for people with sensory, intellectual, or cognitive disabilities.

Fully accessible

Suitable for people with physical disabilities who may need accessibility accommodations that can cater to walkers or wheelchairs.


A robust home is strong and built with durability in mind. It might be best for residents who struggle with behavioural issues.

High physical support

These will have features like a ceiling hoist, special automation, and other assistive technology to support people with significant physical incapabilities.

Choosing the right location

The NDIA will work with the participant to identify what is required from an SDA location. This includes properly assigning a participant to a location that satisfies cultural, social and community needs as well as the participant’s personal needs.

Scarlet Homecare is an NDIS approved provider. We have accommodations in multiple locations close to shops and parks so our participants can stay connected with the community at every opportunity. To learn more about our accommodation options, call us on 08 8120 4069 or fill out our online contact form. One of our friendly members of staff will get back to you as soon as possible.

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