SDA, SIL, STA, MTA, ILO… these are all housing options that may be available to NDIS participants, depending on whether it is reasonable and necessary, what the support needs are, and other criteria laid out by the NDIS around housing funding and assistance. With all the acronyms, NDIS jargon and strict criteria associated with NDIS housing options, finding a housing option that may suit your needs does require some research. Luckily, we’ve done the research for you.
Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)
Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) are homes designed for those who would struggle to live in a mainstream home due to their disability. SDA homes are equipped with special building features like ramps or sensor-led lights that allow people in wheelchairs and others to move around with ease.
SDA is available for NDIS participants with very high support needs or extreme functional impairment, which means this type of accommodation is only approved for a small percentage of all participants (an estimate of 6% by the NDIA).
To apply for SDA funding, you should have a housing goal included in your plan which you can discuss with your Local Area Coordinator (LAC) or NDIA planner during your planning meeting or plan review meeting. If you have a Support Coordinator or Specialist Support Coordinator, they can help you to explore housing solutions and to assist you in writing a housing plan outlining why it would be reasonable and necessary for you to have SDA funding.
If you are approved for SDA, you will receive an SDA payment under your Capital Supports budget in your NDIS plan. These payments cover the property cost of the home you live in. It’s important to note that SDA only covers property costs, it doesn’t cover assistance you may need to live in the home. You are also expected to pay a rent contribution to your landlord, however the rent you pay is capped.
An SDA property is typically shared with other people who also receive SDA funding in their NDIS plans. However, participants can also receive funding to live alone in an SDA home.
Supported Independent Living (SIL)
Supported Independent Living (SIL) is funding for participants whose disability significantly impacts their ability to live independently. For participants who are heavily reliant on a support person to live everyday life, needing frequent or around-the-clock support, SIL may be a housing option to explore.
There are three levels of SIL funding:
Lower needs - provides regular supervision of living arrangements.
Standard needs - provides 24/7 active assistance for most daily tasks.
Higher needs - provides continual and more complex active assistance.
All NDIS participants over the age of 18 may be eligible for SIL funding, whether they rent privately, own their own home, live with others, or live in Specialist Disability Accommodation (Yes! You can receive funding for both SDA and SIL). If a participant is younger than 18 years of age, the NDIA generally expects the parents or the child protection system to provide support.
To apply for SIL, your current support worker or service provider will need to complete a so-called Provider SIL Pack, which contains a summary of how much personal assistance you need every day/night during a typical week. The NDIA will use this information to determine whether SIL is the best option for you and whether it’s reasonable and necessary to fund it.
Individualised Living Options (ILO)
Individualised Living Options (ILO) funding can help you to receive tailored personal support in a home of your choosing. The funding is to help you create a structure of formal and informal supports (paid and unpaid) around you to help you live more independently and achieve your goals.
The NDIA classifies two phases of ILO funding:
ILO Exploration and Design which provides funding per hour for a housing expert or your Support Coordinator to help you better understand what your options are and what type of living arrangement could work best for you
ILO Support Model which is a funding package to cover your paid supports in the living arrangement of your choice.
If you are eligible for ILO, the actual funding amount you receive will depend on your individual situation and your specific proposal. When it comes to the proposal, you can explore any potential living arrangement you think might work for you – from sharing a flat with a non-disabled friend who could become your part-time carer to living alone with a paid support worker providing daily assistance. The NDIA will assess whether the individual living option you put forward is reasonable and necessary, and good value for money. If the NDIA do approve your proposal, they will determine your funding based on the quote you provided.
ILO can be an empowering option for participants by giving you more choice and control over where you live, who you live with and what additional supports you may need.
Short-Term Accommodation (STA)
Short Term Accommodation (STA) offers a temporary place to live and the necessary support for NDIS participants, whose primary carer needs a break, is sick or may suddenly be unavailable for other reasons.
Every NDIS participant can use their Core Support budget to fund STA (also known as respite care) for a period of a few days to a few weeks in a specialist respite centre (shared with other participants) or in an Airbnb rental shared with your support worker. However, if you think you may need funding for STA, it is a good idea to discuss this with your LAC or NDIA planner as STA accommodation is not cheap and you don’t want to use too much of your Core Support budget paying for that when it may be needed for other supports.
If you have a crisis or an emergency that requires urgent respite care, you need to request an unscheduled plan review due to a change in circumstances and get STA included in your plan. Any STA and Assistance you may receive will cover the entire stay in a respite centre or camp, including the support you receive there and the food.
It is important to note that STA cannot be used to fund a holiday.
Medium Term Accommodation (MTA) offers a temporary place to live for NDIS participants while they’re waiting to move into a more permanent home. The NDIA offers this type of funding for up to 90 days. It only covers the costs of the accommodation, not the personal supports you may need while living there.