SDA (Specialist Disability Accommodation)


SDA is housing for NDIS participants with very complex support and housing needs who require specialist housing solutions.

Funding is provided to a small proportion of NDIS participants with extreme functional impairment or very high support needs who meet specific eligibility criteria.

The NDIS is expected to fund 36,684 Australians with disability to access specialised housing called SDA.

About Specialist Disability Accommodation

Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) is the ‘bricks and mortar’ capital component of disability accommodation supports funded by the NDIS. New build SDA is designed and built for the purpose of meeting the support requirements of NDIS participants with very complex support and housing needs who require specialist housing solutions.

When a person is eligible for SDA, the NDIA will include SDA funding in their NDIS plan. SDA Funding is for the cost of the home or dwelling and does not include the services or support that might be needed by the tenant in the home. Rent and other personal costs to reside in the home will be separate.

Not all people with disability will require specialised housing to meet their accommodation needs, with only 6 per cent of NDIS participants receiving SDA in their NDIS plans. Currently, people with disability who require specialist disability accommodation are residing in Aged Care Facilities, Group Homes, Legacy Homes, Hospitals and in other unsuitable accommodations, including living with aging parents or guardians.

This new generation of NDIS funded SDA housing has growth in house and apartment options and a decline of large group homes. Housing can include apartments /villas /duplexes /townhouses /houses, notable for not looking like specialist housing.


Pricing Arrangements for SDA 2023-24

The NDIA released the results of the Specialist Disability Accommodation Pricing Review 2022-2023  in June 2023 – the first substantial review of SDA prices since its inception 5 years ago.

In the review, the NDIA review panel of independent experts analysed and took on board submissions under consultation from a diverse range of stakeholders including participants, peak bodies, builders and developers of SDA, institutional investors, SDA Providers and governments.

A total review was undertaken of the Pricing methodology which was used in 2016-2017 to determine the initial Annual SDA amounts for New Build SDA dwellings.

Subsequently, the resulting updates to the benchmark SDA amount have change significantly – with some reductions in the prices for HPS apartments, but in most other build and design types, the increase in SDA amount has been increased significantly, in some cases up to 159.6% as can be seen in the chart shown here.

These prices are to be implemented commencing from October 1st 2023 but will be applied retrospectively to 1st July 2023.

Properties constructed and enrolled as a New Build prior to 1st July 2023 will also receive the benefit of the price increases at the level of New Builds where GST input tax credits were claimed.

  • Up to 29,742 SDA places are estimated to be needed by 2032*
  • This is around a 22% increase in SDA- funded participants over the next decade
  • It is estimated that there may be up to 6,500 additional ‘New Build’ SDA dwellings required by 2032 assuming that all Legacy properties and 50% of all Existing (pre-New Build) Enrolled SDA Dwellings will need to be replaced.

* Based on SDA Demand Projections released in June 2023 by the NDIA 

SDA Accommodation Design Categories

Specialist Disability Accommodation has been broken up into 5 separate design categories. Funding for Basic SDA is available on existing stock only and not for new builds. Accommodation that falls under the Basic SDA design category does not include specialized design features inside the home. It does however incorporate other important SDA characteristics within the accommodation which makes it suitable for people with additional needs.

Boy with downs syndrome on couch with phone


Improved Liveability SDA suits people who find it difficult to see or understand things around them.

Dwellings under the SDA design category ‘Improved Liveability’ have been built or updated to incorporate a reasonable level of physical access and enhanced provision for people with sensory, intellectual or cognitive impairment.

The design must include improved liveability design features suitable for the residents needs which may include elements such as luminous contrast, improved wayfinding or lines of sight.

Read more…



Generally, people who are eligible for Fully Accessible SDA use a wheelchair to get around some or all of the time.

Under the SDA design categories ‘Fully Accessible’, housing must incorporate a high level of physical access provisions for people with significant functional impairment.

They must include features for improved accessibility both inside and out.

The external doors and outdoor private areas must be accessible by wheelchair and the bathroom vanity and handbasin should be accessible in either a seated or standing position.

There should be power supplies to doors and windows including blinds for the retrofit of automation, as necessary. Plus you must also consider if the kitchen sink, bench, cooktop and key appliances such as oven, microwave, dishwasher, washing machine and dryer should be accessible from a seated or standing position in order to meet the residents needs.

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For people with disabilities such as autism, mental health conditions and other psycho-social disorders, Robust SDA may suit.

Under the SDA design category requirements ‘Robust’ housing must incorporate a high level of physical access provisions.

It must also be resilient to minimize risk to the participant, to carers and the community and to reduce the likelihood of reactive maintenance. To achieve this, ‘Robust’ dwellings must make use of resilient but inconspicuous materials that can reduce the risk of injury and disturbances and cope with very heavy use. These include secure windows, doors and external areas, high impact wall linings, fittings and fixtures such as blinds and door handles, soundproofing and laminated glass.

The design should also include adequate space and safeguards to support the needs of residents with complex behaviours and provide areas of retreat for other residents and staff to avoid harm.

Read more…



High Physical Support SDA suits those people who use an electric wheelchair to get around, or a hoist to get in and out of bed, or need many hours of support every day.

Dwellings in the ‘High Physical Support’ SDA design category feature a high level of physical access provisions for people with a significant functional impairment who require very high levels of support.

High Physical Support housing includes all of the requirements listed in the ‘Fully Accessible’ design category plus structural provisions for ceiling hoists and a minimum 950mm clear opening width doors to all habitable rooms.

Homes registered under High Physical Support are also assisted technology ready with heating and cooling and household communications and technology and include emergency power solutions to cater for a minimum 2 hour power outage if the welfare of residents is at risk.

Read more…



People living with disabilities face unique challenges and one of the ways they are being met is through home automation or smart home technology. The objective of smart technology for disabled people is to cater to their needs and lifestyles, supporting independence, quality of life and improving the way they live in their home environment.

Every person living with a disability has different needs. Smart Technology may be included in a participant’s plan if it is identified as a reasonable and necessary support that meets their needs and supports them to achieve better outcomes in life.

Smart Technology helps to make the lives of people with disabilities and those who care for them easier and more autonomous, maximising independence and privacy. It makes connecting with others simpler and completing everyday tasks easier. It is technology that is button or voice-operated via an individual’s smartphone, tablet or computer and can be thoroughly tailored to suit individual requirements, as each person’s requirements are unique.

Some examples of Smart Technology that can be installed in a SDA home are:

  • Blinds/Curtains
  • Doors
  • Emergency Calling
  • Heating/Cooling
  • Intercom
  • Lighting

SDA Homes

Whether we work with new homes, villas, townhouses or apartments, they are usually designed to allow easy access and mobility once inside whilst incorporating specific support needs.

All dwellings are built in accordance with the Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) guidelines.

Each dwelling is tailored to meet required levels of accessibility and support across the spectrum of High Physical Support, Fully Accessible, Improved Livability and Robust.

Our paramount focus is to match Participants with accommodation that best supports their lifestyles.


Property types eligible for SDA Funding and OOA

Property types eligible for SDA Funding

Property types that can be NDIS funded for SDA
Houses for up to 3 residents,
Group homes for 4 or 5 residents
Apartments for up to 2 residents
Other property types such as villas, duplexes and townhouses which can be funded for up to 3 residents.

Funding is based on the number of residents and the number of bedrooms in the property (in addition to the building design category such as High Physical Support, Fully Accessible, Improved Livability and Robust).


On-site Overnight Assistance (OOA)

Additional SDA funding can be paid for an OOA when a room or apartment (depending on the property type) is provided for use by support staff providing 24 hour care


Future-proofing your SDA investment property involves ensuring your tenants have access to the equipment and technology that enables them to live more independently and allows care-givers to better provide their services. It means building your SDA property well above minimum standards to be fit-for-purpose.

Häfele offers products and services ideally suited to SDA homes, allowing tenants more freedom and control in their own home. Explore Häfele’s product offerings below.

Assisted Living Brochure

Demand for specialist disability accommodation is expected to increase by almost five times the existing supply within the next eight years.

And that is without even factoring in the need to replace existing and legacy dwellings no longer suitable for the needs of SDA participants.

We recognise the nature of the SDA market – the speed, complexity and immensity of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) roll-out, matched with the intricacies of people with disability in need of specialist housing are influenced and affected by the effective implementation of SDA policy.

More Information:
For more details on the National Disability Insurance Scheme, call 1800 800 110 or visit


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