What Are the SDA Categories?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is being progressively rolled out across Australia, growing to an annual budget of $21 billion per annum in funding for disability support in 2019. This provides an additional $10 billion of funding for disability services compared with Australia’s spending trajectory without the NDIS. 

What is Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)? 

Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) refers to housing for NDIS participants who require specialist

housing solutions to assist with the delivery of supports that cater to their individual care needs. The policy outlined is designed to facilitate the development of new housing for over 12,000 people with disability who require the highest levels of support.

SDA Categories | Paradise and Paradise Care

All young people in aged care, and many of those at risk of entering aged care, will get an NDIS SDA

payment for their housing needs. The NDIS has detailed policies and rules about how this payment

works. SDA payments will be paid by the NDIA directly to the SDA Provider. The payment is included in each participant’s plan and is held by the NDIA in a trust-like arrangement on behalf of the participant.

The value of the payment is calculated based on the particular dwelling they choose to live in. The participant is in control of where they live and is able to choose any dwelling that is registered with the NDIA. 

What Are the SDA Categories? 

Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) is provided within four separate categories: Improved Liveability, Fully Accessible, High Physical Support, and Robust. The NDIS Specialist Disability Accommodation Design Standard details the prescriptive requirements to achieve compliance and then registration within the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Improved Liveability

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. Improved Liveability SDA dwellings must include one or more improved liveability design features suitable for the resident’s needs which may include elements such as luminance contrasts, improved wayfinding, or lines of sight.

Fully Accessible 

Fully Accessible housing incorporates a high level of physical access provisions for people with significant functional impairment. The external doors and outdoor private areas of Fully Accessible facilities must be accessible by wheelchair, and the bathroom vanity and hand basin should be accessible in the proper position depending on the participant. 

High Physical Support 

High Physical Support housing facilities include all the requirements from Fully Accessible facilities and also abide by the regulations for structural provisions for ceiling hoists and 950mm clear opening width doors to all habitable rooms. These facilities also include assistive technology, heating, cooling, household communications technology, and emergency power solutions. 


Robust facilities must make use of resilient and inconspicuous materials that can minimize the risk of injury and disturbances. Secure windows, doors, and external areas, high-impact wall lining, fittings and fixtures such as blinds and door handles, soundproofing, and laminated glasses are some of the fundamental features of Robust facilities.