What Is SDA & How Does It Work?

Specialist Disability Accommodation

What is Specialist Disability Accommodation and who does it support?

Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) is a form of housing that is designed to enable eligible National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants to receive the support they need to live in the community and improve the delivery of their supports. Participants who are eligible for SDA funding are those with extreme functional impairment or those who have very high support needs.

SDA funding is provided to cover the capital (bricks and mortar) costs of the dwelling and to support investment in high quality SDA dwellings, and is not for person-to-person supports. Providers will need to meet diverse participant needs in new and innovative ways. As the market develops the SDA dwellings will diversify away from group homes with shared in-home supports, which were most commonly constructed under state and territory systems, and towards newer, smaller, dwellings with innovative models of providing support to participants.


Part of the NDIS, the Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) is a type of support that a participant can be funded to receive. The term ‘SDA’ refers to housing and also to the payment the person has in their NDIS plan. The NDIS does not own housing or build housing- that’s what Get Building SDA is all about.

Specialist Disability Housing consists of purpose-built houses, units and townhouses for a portion of participants in the NDIS, who have extreme functional impairment or very high support needs. Participants in the NDIS receive government funding to pay for accommodations as part of their plan - something typically managed by a plan manager. The federal government will be investing $700 million dollars a year towards specialist disability accommodation FOR THE NEXT 20 YEARS.

SDA housing is specially designed to meet the needs of people who have very high support needs resulting from their disabilities. The requirements for an SDA property are described in the SDA Rule and SDA Pricing and Payments documents (see below).

The NDIS makes payments available to a provider of an SDA property when someone who has been approved for SDA funding is living in it.

The SDA policy was initially outlined in the ‘Specialist Disability Accommodation: Decision Paper on Pricing and Payments’, released on 1 June 2016. The more practical application of SDA is defined within the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Specialist Disability Accommodation) Rule (“the SDA Rule”), which was first published in March 2017 and updated July 2018.

Within the NDIS’ budget, an estimated $700 million per annum is to be spent creating and maintaining housing for participants with the highest needs.. The NDIS will provide SDA funding to participants through their individual plans. Participants can then select the housing provider and style of their choice within the budget of the SDA amount.

The NDIA estimates that of the 28,000 participants, around 10,500 participants do not currently have an appropriate home. These may include people living at home with aging informal supports or young people living in residential aged care facilities or hospitals. Many of the 10,500 participants may be on accommodation waiting lists, some for many years, which demonstrates the historical under-supply of housing for people with a disability.

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Looking to invest in specialist disability accommodation? Or are you a participant in the NDIS scheme? Get in touch today.

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