Specialized Accommodation for People with Disabilities – An Overview | Dentons


Specialized accommodation for people with disabilities (SDA) is the building block and the driving force behind housing for people with disabilities within NDIS. The demand for this type has grown rapidly over the past decade and represents vast opportunities for disability accommodation providers across the industry.

Specialized Handicap Accommodation (SDA)

Specialized accommodation for people with disabilities (SDA) is a range of housing intended for the National Invalidity Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants with extremely high care and support needs. These specially designed specialized facilities allow these NDIS participants to access appropriate and targeted care, enabling them to live more independently and achieve better health outcomes.

NDIS-eligible participants receive funding to cover the capital costs of the housing they move into. Funding is limited to the brick and mortar capital of the dwelling (i.e. rent) as opposed to any services or supports that are provided in the home. The Australian government estimates that when the program is operating at full capacity, funding is expected to reach A $ 700 million per year.

The SDA is deployed in an individualized, participant-driven funding model, as it brings several benefits:

  • Individual participants have autonomy over their choice of place of residence, as opposed to a government agency dictating and deciding supplier demand;
  • Funding levels will remain stable and will not be based on large sums of money injected into the sector through grants or policy decisions; and
  • Individuals with choice mean that funding can go to a wide range of providers who can offer both scale products and innovative solutions, rather than being limited to selecting established providers who know the process. Grants or established models of accommodation and support – essentially this means that there is more competition in this space through an individual / participant driven marketplace.

Opportunity – Lack of supply and exponential growth

At the start of the SDA program in 2011, the Productivity Commission estimated that when operating at full capacity, 28,000 Australians will need SDA funding. This translated to about 6% of all NDIS participants.

More recent estimates made after the start of the SDA program suggested that 50,700 people would be likely to be eligible for the SDA. This is more than double the initial estimates and indicates how much the demand for this type of housing will only increase. These figures include:

  • 17,500 people already living in adapted accommodation;
  • 27,000 people who are not in supervised accommodation but have very important care needs; and
  • 6,200 people under 64 living in nursing homes for the elderly.

These figures represent a significant opportunity for SDA providers. The Commonwealth Government has decided that a market-driven approach will be used, with estimates that, when operating at full capacity, the SDA program will attract around A $ 5 billion in private sector investment. This market-driven approach has seen a conscious effort to increase data on demand for SDA, increase choice for participants, take young people out of elderly care, provide clearer and more consistent information to investors, and establish a cycle. more refined price revision.

Types of SDA

There are three main categories of SDA housing. The type of category a home is placed in will affect the amount of funding a participant can claim and therefore the amount that an SDA provider can “charge” for. If a home cannot fit into the following categories, then it cannot be enrolled in the program and receive SDA payments.

The three main categories of SDA housing are:

  1. New construction;
  2. Existing stock; and
  3. Legacy stock.

These categories are subdivided into four types of buildings:

  1. Apartments;
  2. Villas, Duplexes and Townhouses;
  3. Houses; and
  4. Group homes.

The final categorization is the design category. The SDA price limit that applies for the accommodation depends on the design categories under which the accommodation is listed. The level of support determines which of the five design categories the dwelling belongs to. Since the introduction of the new design standard on July 1, 2021, all SDA vendors seeking to list new construction must include an SDA design standard certification issued by an SDA assessor.

The types of design categories are:

  1. Basic;
  2. Improved habitability;
  3. Fully accessible;
  4. Robust; and
  5. High physical support.

How the payment works

Previously, SDA payments were made directly by NDIA to the SDA provider. However, currently, payments are made directly to the NDIS participant, which in turn is then provided to the SDA provider. Funding for participants is based on an assessment and consideration of their goals, preferences, reasonable and necessary testing, SDA eligibility criteria and whether the SDA in question represents a good report. price quality.

The terms of payment and pricing for DDS are governed by the NDIS Pricing Terms for Specialty Accommodation for People with Disabilities, which summarizes the limits that DDS providers can charge for services.

The value of the payment received by an SDA provider depends on several factors:

  • Whether the housing is new or existing;
  • The level of accessibility in the property;
  • The type of accommodation; and
  • Location of housing – this can drastically reduce the payment or significantly increase the payment, especially in high-density urban suburbs where the demand for housing is high.


The SDA program has great potential to change the lives of people with disabilities across Australia. It is also a huge opportunity for providers who have been pressured by government and the disability sector to build much larger and more liveable spaces for people with disabilities than ever before.

It is this market-oriented approach that should be of interest to providers as it allows greater flexibility and different and innovative offers to be brought to the disabled housing sector. SDA is an extremely fast growing market with more and more necessary developments which correlate with growing demand. The Commonwealth Government has recognized that there are certain obstacles in convincing developers and vendors to engage in the provision of SDA. However, there appears to be a conscious and sustained effort to advance data collection and market intelligence to reassure vendors and investors that SDA makes good business sense, as well as providing essential hosting. to some of the most vulnerable in the community.


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