Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) is for people who require special housing solutions to help them live as independently as possible. It is designed for people who need a lot of support or whose disability has a big effect on how they live and how they do things at home.
Depending on the level of support required, an SDA property might be equipped with larger doorways, wider hallways and open living spaces, easy to access kitchen and laundry cabinetry, bedroom or bathroom aids (such as a hoist) or special technology including independent power solutions.
If you require support quickly, some SDA properties have a 24/7 ‘concierge’ service – usually referred to as a Supported Independent Living, or SIL provider. This support can be used in various ways, for example, if your wheelchair stops working or you need help in a hurry, someone is close by to assist.
If your disability makes it hard to live in housing that most people live in, then SDA may be for you.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) determines who is eligible to live in SDA. It’s important to note that not all people with a disability qualify – you must have an extreme functional impairment or very high support needs.
Extreme functional impairment – this means that even if your home has been set up to suit your requirements, you still need help with everyday activities such as getting out of bed, getting dressed, making meals or going out.
Very high support needs – this means that you need significant support everyday. Perhaps your parents have been providing support but may not be able to keep it up, or you’ve been living in a group or nursing home. In some cases, you may qualify if the way you act is not safe for you or the people around you.
There are five types of Specialist Disability Accommodation: Basic, Improved Liveability, Fully Accessible, High Physical Support and Robust. Each design varies based on the individual needs of the person.
AHA offers High Physical Support SDA, which is fully accessible to wheelchairs with no steps, wide doorways and the bathroom and kitchen are designed to suit someone in both sitting and standing positions. This type of accommodation also includes emergency back-up power and is built to suit a ceiling hoist. It also features an intercom that connects you to a support worker as well as special technology including voice activation which can be used to operate things like doors, lights, air-conditioning and blinds.
The NDIS determines if you qualify for SDA and if you’re eligible, they will cover the costs. SDA payments are included in your NDIS plan and are paid directly to your SDA landlord.
There is an excess cost that you need to pay too. Those living in SDA are required to make a ‘reasonable rent contribution’ or ‘RRC’. This means you pay 25% of the disability support pension to your landlord, plus 100% of the basic rate of Commonwealth rent assistance. You can expect that your ’reasonable rent contribution’ will amount to approximately $770 per month.
You will need to apply to the NDIS for SDA funding. When you apply, it helps to have a good support coordinator. They will assist in showing the NDIS that you qualify – that is, you have an extreme functional impairment or very high support needs.
In order to add SDA to your plan, the NDIS must be sure that the service is a reasonable and necessary way of supporting you to reach your goals. Because of this, ensure that one of your goals in the NDIS plan is to “live as independently as possible.”
It’s also worth considering reaching out to an occupational therapist who will be able to provide you with a report that explains how living in SDA will maximise your quality of life.
AHA can connect you to people who can help you apply and be assessed for SDA to be included in your NDIS plan.
SDA offers you the choice to live with other people within your SDA home, provided such a person or people share a family relationship with you – either your spouse or de-facto partner as well as your or your spouse or de-facto partner’s child or children.
If the person with whom you would like to share your home also has SDA in their NDIS plan, the home you both live in will need to be designed and registered for multiple SDA occupants to be living in the same dwelling and each of you must have your own bedroom.
Under the NDIS, where you live and who supports you should be considered as separate things. SDA refers to your type of housing, whereas Supported Independent Living (SIL) or Individual Living Options (ILO) funding is for the people that support you.
If you like where you live but would like to change how you’re being supported, you can do so. In the same instance, if where you live is no longer meeting your needs but you’re happy with your support, you can change your living arrangements but keep your current support.
Some SDA properties, such as those offered by AHA, have overnight or 24-hour on-site support and each resident pays a portion of the cost from their NDIS support funding. The remainder of your support funding can be used by you to pay for any additional support you need. It’s important to know that in all SDA properties, you have the right to choose who provides your planned support.
AHA can help you understand how your care and supports costs would be provided whilst you are living in an AHA SDA home.
Those with a disability can have a hard time finding somewhere suitable to live. The first step to finding your right home is to think about what you want and need. It’s important to consider who you would want to live with, where you want to live (near family, friends, work or the shops) and what sort of accessibility features you might need. How much support you need will also play a factor in where you live.
Once you’ve answered those questions, you can start looking for the most suitable place to live.
Check out our SDA accessible home locations here. We focus on creating homes in everyday communities that give residents access to local amenity and transport in a desirable location.