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NDIS SDA Categories

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) requires that specialist disability accommodation (SDA) be broken up into four categories. These include support for people with significant functional impairment, sensory, intellectual or cognitive impairment, and significant physical impairment who require very high levels of support. The categories are Improved Liveability, Fully Accessible, Robust, and High Physical Support.

Improved Liveability 

Any houses listed under the Improved Liveability SDA property category have the capacity to provide a reasonable level of physical access, and provisions for features to help people with sensory, intellectual or cognitive impairments. 

To be SDA approved and fit the Improved Liveability category, the homes must be designed and built in accordance with the Livable Housing Australia (LHA) Silver Level. LHA exists to ensure new houses are built and designed to respond to changing needs of their occupants over their lifetime. The design guidelines are in place to ensure consistency across new houses around Australia. LHA Silver Level focuses on crucial structural and spatial elements needed to ensure the future adaptability of the home. 

LHA Silver Level must have:

  • A continuous, step-free path from the street entrance or parking area to the entrance of the home. 
  • At least one step-free entrance into the home.
  • Non-restrictive doors and corridors for unimpeded movement around the house. 
  • An easy-access toilet of the entry level.
  • A hobless shower recess.
  • Reinforced bathroom walls to accommodate the installation of rails.
  • Stairways designed for minimal injury risk and future modification. 

In addition to the LHA Silver Level requirements, Improved Livability SDA housing must also include improved liveability features to fit the resident’s needs. For example, disability access features such as luminance contrasts for vision-impaired occupants. 

Fully Accessible 

Fully accessible housing reduces the limitations of people with significant functional impairment by providing a high level of physical access provisions. This type of NDIS property offers a chance to live in a place that they feel totally comfortable.

These houses must meet the LHA Platinum Level and include inside and outside improved accessibility features. The Platinum builds on top of those features required in the Silver Level. The additional components required are:

  • The kitchen and laundry spaces must support ease of movement between benches and must facilitate easy adaptation.
  • Entry-level bedroom.
  • Easy to reach light switches and powerpoints.
  • Easy and safe to use doors and tap hardware.
  • Living areas must have clear space for the occupant to move around freely.
  • Window sills must be low enough to view the outdoor area from a seated position. 
  • Floor coverings must be slip-resistant.

Robust

To fit the Robust SDA homes category, the homes must have a high level of physical access provisions and meet the LHA Silver Level building standards. In addition to meeting the LHA Silver Level requirements, the building must have resilient material that can sustain heavy wear and tear and reduce injury risk. This includes wall lining, fittings and fixtures, all designed to withstand high impact, soundproofing, and laminated glass. 

The home also needs space and safeguards to accommodate the complex behaviours of occupants and provide retreat areas for other residents and carers to avoid physical harm. 

High Physical Support

Homes under this category include a high level of physical access provisions. These houses are designed for people with significant physical impairment who need very high levels of support. These homes have all the features of the Fully Accessible home plus some added extras such as provisions for ceiling hoists, wider door openings, can facilitate assistive technology, and emergency power sources. 

To be eligible for NDIS participants and SDA payments from the federal government, your NDIS investment property will need to fit one of these four categories. Once the property is SDA approved and you’re registered as an SDA provider (or are using someone who is), participants can move into your NDIS property investment, and you can start receiving high rental yields through SDA funding and your tenant’s reasonable rent contribution.

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