Home Of Choice & Care

The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Specialist Disability Accommodation 

Specialist Disability Accommodation

Imagine a home designed specifically for you, one that caters to your unique needs and empowers you to live a more independent and fulfilling life! This is possible with the assistance of Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA). Funded through the NDIS, SDA offers a ray of hope for individuals with significant disabilities who require specialised housing solutions. 

This ultimate guide unravels the world of Specialist Disability Accommodation, making it easier for you to understand its purpose, eligibility criteria, and the many ways it can transform your life. 

What Is Specialist Disability Accommodation?  

Specialist Disability Accommodation is a purpose-built housing for people with extreme functional impairment or specialised support requirements. These needs can span from physical disabilities to cognitive impairments, covering a wide spectrum of conditions. 

From cozy houses to modern apartments, Specialist Disability Accommodation properties come in various forms, each meeting stringent design standards set by the NDIA. These standards ensure that individuals with extreme functional impairments or very high support needs have provisions for assistive technologies such as wheelchair accessibility, grab rails, automation systems that enhance accessibility and safety. 

The goal of Specialist Disability Accommodation NDIS is to provide a safe, comfortable, and empowering environment where individuals can live with dignity and autonomy. 

Understanding Specialist Disability Accommodation Eligibility Criteria 

To qualify for SDA funding through the NDIS, you’ll need to meet specific criteria related to the severity and permanence of your disability. This means: 

  • Your disability significantly impacts your ability to perform daily activities such as dressing, bathing, cooking, or getting around safely. 
  • A standard home just won’t work for you. Even with modifications, a regular dwelling poses a significant risk to your safety or well-being. 
  • Your disability is expected to be long-term. While some conditions may improve, the core challenges of your disability are expected to last for the long term. 

The NDIS will conduct an individual assessment to determine if your needs align with these criteria. They’ll consider the level of support you require, the potential risks of a standard home, and how SDA could improve your independence and safety. They may also ask allied health professionals to provide documentation regarding your situation before approving funding. 

If you were already living in SDA housing when you became a NDIS participant, you will remain eligible. However, if your circumstances change and your current plan no longer meets your SDA support needs, you may need to request an update to your plan by applying for a change in circumstances.  

Specialist Disability Accommodation NDIS Funding 

When you are deemed eligible for SDA, the funding for SDA is added to your NDIS plan as an SDA payment. This NDIS Specialist Disability Accommodation pricing covers the cost of the SDA dwelling, including the construction and built-in accessibility features. The funding amount is determined by factors such as: 

  • Your Needs: This includes the type of housing you require, the level of accessibility features needed based on your specific disability, and any shared support needs you might have. 
  • Location:Funding benchmarks differ across regions due to varying land and construction costs. The NDIS considers your desired location when determining the funding amount. 
  • The SDA payment goes directly to the SDA provider you choose, following a service agreement signed by you.  
  • A NDIS provider cannot receive SDA funding unless the property is enrolled as SDA. 
  • This funding does not cover ongoing expenses like rent and utilities. 

Specialist Disability Accommodation Design Categories 

The NDIS outlines four design categories for Specialist Disability Accommodation. If SDA is approved in a participant’s plan, it will be specified in the Capital budget section. This section will state the approved design category, building type, and the number of other residents the participant can live with. These variations impact the amount of funding that can be claimed for SDA support.  

Specialist Disability Accommodation

The four distinct design categories are: 

Improved Liveability 

This category is ideal if you’d benefit from some helpful features that enhance daily activities. Think of it as a standard home with a touch of accessible features including: 

  • Tactile switches: Easier to locate and operate light switches or other controls. 
  • Handrails: Providing extra support for navigating hallways and bathrooms. 
  • Sensory spaces: Calming areas with light and sound adjustments to create a relaxing environment. 
  • Improved wayfinding: Clear signage and design elements that make it easier to move around the home. 

Fully Accessible 

This category prioritises physical accessibility for individuals who rely on wheelchairs or other mobility aids such as: 

  • Wider doorways: Allowing for smooth passage of wheelchairs and other mobility equipment. 
  • Adjustable surfaces: Countertops and sinks that can be raised or lowered for comfortable use. 
  • Step-free access: Eliminating stairs and creating a seamless flow throughout the living space. 


This category prioritises structural reinforcement for individuals who exhibit challenging behaviours, and the features include: 

  • Reactive maintenance reduction: Features that minimise the need for repairs due to potential damage. 
  • Impact resistance: Walls and doors constructed to be more resistant to impact. 
  • Soundproofing: Enhanced noise insulation for a calmer and more peaceful environment. 

High Physical Support 

This category offers the most extensive modifications for individuals with very high support needs to handle specialised equipment and ensure maximum comfort: 

  • Reinforced structure: Designed to accommodate ceiling hoists and other assistive technology. 
  • Backup power supply: Ensuring essential equipment like power wheelchairs continues to function even during power outages. 

Specialist Disability Accommodation Building Types 

Now that you’ve explored the four design categories of SDA, let’s delve into another crucial aspect: the building type! The NDIS recognises several options, each with its own suitability for different needs.  

Shared living 

Ideal for those who desire some independence but require assistance with daily tasks like cooking and cleaning. You’ll have your own private room and share spaces like kitchens and living areas. 

Group homes (limited availability) 

These typically house 6-8 residents and may offer 24/7 support services.  

Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACF)  

While NDIS participants over 65 can access RACFs, they are designed primarily for seniors who require a higher level of care, including nursing and dementia support. 

What To Look for With SDA Housing 

Now that you are aware of the available SDA design categories and building types, choosing the right Specialist Disability Accommodation can feel overwhelming. Here are some key pointers to make the process easier for you: 

Choosing a Reputable Provider 

  • Look for the NDIS Tick of Approval: Ensure your chosen SDA provider is registered with the NDIS. This guarantees they meet strict quality standards. 

The Right Dwelling for Your Needs 

  • Registered and Compliant: The property itself must be registered with the NDIS as an SDA dwelling and meet the appropriate design category criteria. 
  • Matching Your NDIS Plan: The chosen accommodation should align with the type, design features, and location specified in your NDIS plan. There is some flexibility, however, meaning you could choose a Fully Accessible option if funded for High Physical Support, and vice versa. 


  • Convenience is Crucial: Choose a location that provides easy access to your support network, both formal (e.g., healthcare professionals) and informal (friends and family). 

Clear Communication and Agreements 

  • Your Contract is Your Guide: Your SDA provider will work with you to create a tenancy or occupancy agreement. This document outlines the type, quality, and price of the housing support, including any terms and conditions. Additionally, it will detail the NDIS specialist disability accommodation pricing that go towards the accommodation. 

What to Look for in an SDA Provider? 

When searching for a reliable SDA provider, there are several key factors to consider: 

NDIS Registration and Property Ownership: Ensure the provider is fully registered with the NDIS and owns the property. However, it’s not just about being registered with the NDIS; ensure the provider also owns the property.  

Clear Contractual Agreement: The provider’s contract should clearly define the support services offered, including pricing, quality, and the agreed-upon rules. 

Understanding of Individual Needs: Look for a provider that demonstrates a clear understanding of your individual needs and preferences. They should be willing to work closely with you to tailor their services to meet your specific requirements, ensuring that you receive the support and assistance you need to thrive in your new home. 

Commitment to Quality and Standards: A reputable SDA provider will demonstrate a strong commitment to quality and adhere to the relevant standards and regulations. This includes ensuring that the accommodation meets all necessary safety and accessibility requirements, providing a comfortable and supportive living environment for residents. 

Engagement and Communication: Effective communication is essential in any provider-participant relationship. Look for a provider that prioritises open and transparent communication, keeping you informed about any changes or developments related to your accommodation or support services. They should also be readily available to address any questions or concerns you may have, providing ongoing support and guidance as needed. 

Home of Choice & Care: Your Partner Through Your SDA Journey 

As NDIS registered providers, our dedicated team is here to guide you through your SDA journey. With our expertise and commitment to quality, we ensure that you receive personalised support every step of the way. Rely on us for reliable and compassionate service, tailored to meet your individual needs and preferences. Let us be your trusted partner in finding the perfect Specialist Disability Accommodation for you.