Everything You Need to Know About Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)

Specialist disability accommodation (SDA) is a form of housing made available in Australia for some people with high support needs. Such housing might have unique features or designs in order to cater to the needs of residents.

SDA isn’t for everyone, but some people covered under the NDIS may be eligible to receive funding for it.

What exactly is SDA?

Specialist disability accommodation provides customised housing for people with very high functional impairment, ensuring that their individual needs are catered for. The type of dwelling may vary (i.e. SDA can take the form of a house or apartment, for instance), but what each place has in common is that it provides an appropriate physical environment for people with high needs to live and thrive in. This may include having certain aids and equipment (such as stair lifts), and limiting how many residents can live in a dwelling at any one time.


Who is eligible for it?

To be eligible to live in specialist disability accommodation, applicants must meet strict criteria set by the NDIS. Only a small proportion of people meet these criteria.

View the whole list of criteria online.


Types of SDA categories

The type of housing an eligible person will live in depends on their specific needs. There are a number of different housing design categories, namely:


This type of dwelling does not have any unique design features, but it does have relevant SDA characteristics, including shared supports, location and privacy.

Improved liveability

This type of specialist disability accommodation offers improved physical access to people with sensory, cognitive or intellectual handicaps.

Full accessibility

This type of home is designed to provide exceptional physical access to those with high levels of physical impairment.


This is a dwelling which provides both excellent physical access and great resilience, ideal for residents who exhibit complex and/or potentially harmful behaviours. It may include secure windows and doors, sound proofing and/or laminated glass.

High physical support

This housing solution is designed to suit people with high physical access needs and high levels of support needs. It may include assistive technology, household communications and emergency power solutions.


Types of buildings

Types of dwellings available through specialist disability accommodation include:


An apartment is a self-contained unit which makes up part of a larger building.


A house is a low-rise dwelling which features a front and/or backyard area with a garden.

Villa or townhouse

A villa or townhouse is a separate, semi-attached dwelling located on the same area as other villas/townhouses.

Group home

A group home can consist of any type of specialist disability accommodation building, though it is most commonly a house. However, it will always contain 4-5 residents.


Similar to a group home, a legacy home can be any building (most commonly a house), but it contains more than 6 residents.


How to apply

To begin, if you haven’t already, make an access request to the NDIS. You will need to provide proof of identity and answer several questions to see if you meet the eligibility requirements.

If you are eligible you will then be supported to create a plan, which will help you determine your goals and needs. A representative will discuss specialist disability accommodation with you and help you apply for it if you are eligible. Your family can assist you throughout this process if you like.

SDA is an excellent housing option for a small number of Australians with very high support needs. Check with your NDIS representative to find out if you are eligible to apply.

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