Housing and accommodation for those living with a disability is a significant concern for our current society and presents an ever increasing challenge for the future. Research has shown that the cost of housing needs and adjustments resulting from disabilities can eat into income by up to 40%. There is currently thousands of Australian’s living in aged care homes, and thousands of parents who worry about what will happen to their children after they die. The government NDIS SDA is a program that deals with the accommodation and housing needs of a small percentage of disabled individuals in Australia. There have been recent reforms made to the NDIS SDA, if you’re wondering what they are and whether the changes will affect you then read on below.
Long term certainty
One of the key reforms to the framework is that it has been reformed to try and give people living with disabilities and their families more long term security and certainty about the nature of their accommodation. This is good for participants, families and investors.
One of the other important reforms being made to the NDIS SDA is that funding will be envisaged to be over the lifespan of participants – once someone is found eligible it is likely they will remain eligible for their lifetime.
More choice and control
NDIS SDA reforms aim to give participants more choice and control over where they live. A big change that has been made is that participants now no longer need an NDIS SDA offer to look across the market for housing. This means that providers can better anticipate the NDIS SDA housing needs and supply requirements, allowing them to better meet the demand.
Remove barriers preventing families from living together in specialist disability accommodation
The previous pricing model for NDIS SDA meant that it was very difficult for participants to live with those without funding, meaning that families often could not live together.
Common barriers in the rules and framework have included;
- The requirement that everyone living in a dwelling have their own separate bedroom, for example requiring couples to live in a two person dwelling, or people with children to live in a three bedroom dwelling
- Requirements that most of the bedrooms meet the design category requirement
- The framework makes the assumption that everyone has funding, so payments drop by up to 40-60% if living with a spouse or children without funding
Recent reforms include allowing couples to share a bedroom and remove the requirements that the majority of bedrooms meet the design category requirement.
One reform that will make a big difference is removing the rule that require participants to document and prove that they have exhausted all other possible housing options. This will lead to faster decisions on funding.
Dedicated planning team
A dedicated planning team will streamline the process and make planning decisions much faster for the program, meaning that participants will have an outcome much faster.
Standardized and transparent pricing reviews
The NDIS SDA pricing will be reviewed every five years, the pricing model and decisions will be made transparent. Reviews will aim to provide investors and participants will certainty on pricing and reassurance about what to expect.
The pricing formula has been created o be as fair as possible, and so will not assume that providers are not-for-profits with access to tax breaks or concessions. Taking into account that there are providers out there without access to these concessions is important.
The reforms will hopefully provide important stakeholders with more certainty going into the future.