ndis-housing-scheme

NDIS Housing Scheme – Here’s What You Need To Know

The NDIS – National Disability Insurance Scheme – provides support to people with disabilities to help them achieve independence and lead more fulfilling lives. This Federal, state and territory governments fund and govern the NDIS in Australia and launched it in 2016. Recently, the NDIA released another aspect – the NDIS Housing Scheme.

According to the Australian Government, statistics show that 4.3 million Australians are living with a disability. In the course of the next five years, the Government plans to provide over $22 billion in funding yearly through the NDIS. With $22 billion in funding, approximately 500,000 Australians with significant and permanent disabilities will receive the support they need. The NDIS helps disabled individuals interact with the community with the right information and connections.

The NDIS Housing Scheme

One of the crucial components of the NDIS is Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA). 

SDA refers to the accommodation for disabled individuals who need specific housing solutions that cater to their needs. It refers to functional impairment or very high support needs that require assistance. The NDIA has designated the funding to a very small number of the NDIS participants – only if they meet the eligibility criteria.

SDA housing is primarily focused on the needs of disabled individuals with high support needs or functional impairment. The NDIA designed the SDA housing to meet these needs and assist disabled individuals in their everyday lives. The eligible NDIS participants can contact an SDA provider for the SDA payments that support the cost of the housing.

The NDIS housing scheme aims to rehouse disabled individuals into high-quality, privately established specialist accommodation that can cater to their needs (relevant to the disability). This NDIS also covers the cost of the ongoing support and care, as well as the accommodation for the approved NDIS participants. 

Current Challenges of Suitable Accommodation

Currently, the Australian Government has estimated the significant shortage of suitable housing that can accommodate the NDIS participants. According to the recent Australian Government publication, other than the current 17,500 NDIS participants, another 33,000 will require SDA. Out of the 33,000 Australians, over 6000 are above the age of 60 and are currently living in aged care housing. 

Moreover, if that wasn’t enough, at least 4000 participants currently residing in the SDA require modifications or replacements to their existing properties. The current statistics indicate the challenges associated with the accommodation for disabled individuals – or lack thereof. Hence, there is a significant demand for high-quality specialist accommodation that houses and supports the needs of these individuals and helps them lead fulfilling lives. 

The SDA funding is also targeting a market-wide approach, attracting investors to the scheme. As it stimulates investment opportunities, there is a rise in the development of new high-quality dwellings for eligible NDIS participants. 

Current Accommodations

The Australian Government estimates that over 27,000 Australians with high support needs require SDA or similar accommodations but are currently deprived. They are living at home with family members unable to support them sufficiently (ageing parents, etc.). Many of these individuals are NDIS participants and receive NDIS support.

According to the guidelines for the SDA funding, eligible NDIS participant has the right to make their own decisions regarding the agreement with a registered NDIS provider. The scheme allows the participants to take control of important life decisions rather than forcing them. The SDA funding model isn’t the conventional disability funding model. The funding goes directly to the approved NDIS participants without the need to filter through a central grant program. The approved NDIS participants can then move on towards choosing their preferred registered NDIS provider and signing an agreement for the NDIS housing scheme. Due to this funding model, the NDIS participants are able to take control of their decisions.

However, many Australians are concerned regarding the duration of the NDIS housing scheme. The good news is – it’s here to stay. The Australian Commonwealth and the State and Territory Governments have issued a long-term commitment for the SDA funding.

NDIS Housing Arrangements

The funding and other details for each NDIS participant are written in their NDIS plan. Moreover, the plan includes the building type, design category, location, and SDA funding for the NDIS participant. The NDIA allocates a specific amount to each participant after assessing their individual needs. However, there is a detailed Price List that includes the price limits for the funding of each participant. The NDIA is also working towards breaking existing limitations and allowing disabled individuals to take responsibility for their life and make these important decisions – where and whom will they live with. 

Housing arrangements can heavily impact the quality of life for every individual living there. Hence many factors can influence these arrangements, such as – 

  • Choosing to live near friends and family
  • Finding the right neighbourhood, close to your children’s school
  • Choosing the right community
  • Figuring out transportation available
  • Access to community activities, public spaces, and other services.

The optimal option includes a well-designed house in the right location. NDIS participants are trying to regain the independence that they may have lost due to their disability. Hence, it is crucial that they find an accommodation that helps them boost community connection, have access to other supports, and achieve independent living arrangements. 

NDIS Housing

Supports included in the NDIS

The NDIS includes the following support services –

  • Supports that build the individual’s capacity and help them live independently. 
  • Supports that improve the individual’s living skills, household management, social skills, communication skills, and behavioural management. 
  • Any necessary home modifications in the participant’s home or rental property that cater to their disability-related needs.
  • Personal support services – Personal care including dressing and showering, help around the house, and other everyday tasks such as cleaning and laundry. 

Many disabled individuals require living support for a range of reasons including but not limited to – 

  • The current living arrangements are not suitable and don’t cater to the individual’s disability-related needs,
  • The participant has restricted mobility and can’t carry out daily tasks in their current accommodation or access any facilities safely – bathroom, toilet, kitchen, etc.
  • Participants need a specialist home or other living solutions for suitable care for their high support needs.
  • The individual’s quality of life is negatively impacted by their current accommodation. However, a suitable alternative accommodation catering to their needs with additional support can dramatically improve their quality of life.
  • Participants discharged from health care facilities are unable to return to their previous accommodation.
  • Participants are currently living in unsafe or temporary accommodations without any community support.

The NDIS Housing Scheme has various plans and housing arrangements for all eligible participants with specific needs. 

Design Categories of SDA Housing

There are four major categories –

  • Quality of Life – This type of housing improves the individual’s quality of life through different elements and accessibilities. The individual has enhanced physical access that caters to their intellectual, sensory, or cognitive needs.
  • Robust – This housing focuses on a reasonable level of physical access and focuses on making participants resilient. It aims to decrease the need for reactive maintenance, decreasing the risk to the individual.
  • Complete Accessibility – The housing incorporates high levels of physical access for individuals with significant physical impairment and restricted mobility.
  • High Physical Support – This type of housing also focuses on individuals with significant physical impairment but also provides high levels of physical access to other disabled individuals who have high support needs.

Each participant eligible for SDA housing must contact an ADA provider for an advertised vacancy. Hence, the participant will have the chance to decide whether the housing is fit for their situation and caters to their disability-related needs. 

Moreover, the NDIA provides some assistance to participants in the case of additional funding for a support coordinator. Support coordinators can prove to be helpful as they assist in searching and evaluating existing vacancies for the NDIS participants. While the NDIS will provide assistance to the participants wherever needed, their prime focus is to help NDIS participants lead a more independent life. Hence, it is also crucial that they evaluate their personal situations and make the best decisions for themselves regarding the support they need.

Seek help from a United Legal Lawyer today

If you’re trying to apply for NDIS housing through the SDA and are currently looking for suitable accommodations, we’re here to help. While dealing with a disability is already a difficult challenge, the added stress of the complicated application process, the stress of documentation and approval, and other factors can prove to be more complex than needed. Hence, we recommend an experienced lawyer at the United Legal Law Firm to help you navigate the process.

Our lawyers understand the fine print and outline the different stages of your application to ensure that you receive the maximum support you need. We take over the process – the responsibility – and prepare you for the different elements of your application, and iron out any details if needed to ensure that you get the most out of your NDIS plan. Take the first step today, and let us help you form a strong case and get the support you need.

For our legal support services, contact us at (02) 6295 228

United Legal

Canberra Public Liability Lawyers 

Visit us at

54-56 Townsville St, Fyshwick ACT 2609

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