If you or your loved ones are living with a disability, choosing where and how you live, as well as having comfortable and appropriate accommodation is important.

Housing and living arrangements can impact our quality of life and there are many factors to consider when it comes to choosing a home.

A well-designed house, in the right location can allow for more independent living arrangements, increased community connection and access to informal supports.

The NDIS was set up to assist participants to live as independently as possible and enjoy the same lifestyle as the rest of the community. As part of this commitment, there are now more accommodation options and support for people living with disability. You can learn more in our free e-Book, Your Guide to the NDIS.

Tailoring your NDIS Plan

When you’re setting up your NDIS plan, it’s important for you and your family to discuss your home and living goals as part of that planning conversation. Your plan will include support funded through the NDIS, as well as other assistance you can  access through the mainstream housing system.

If you are living in your own home and wish to continue to do so, there are also NDIS supports available to enable this.

Finding a suitable home

There are a number of different housing options for you to consider and decide what’s right for you. Through your plan, you may be able to get funding for a support coordinator whose role is to help you look at the various housing options available. There is also a support item called ‘assistance with accommodation and tenancy obligations’ designed to help people obtain and/ or retain suitable accommodation. This can include helping you apply for a rental property and negotiate your obligations under your lease. You will need to ask for this specific type of support to be included in your plan.

What does the NDIS fund?

The NDIS is designed to assist people living with a disability to choose how and where they live and provide the necessary support to live a fulfilling life. 

NDIS supports may include:

  • Home modifications to your own home or a private rental property if necessary and required as a result of your disability. Perhaps your  living arrangements are no longer suitable for your disability-related needs. For example, if you are in a wheelchair and your house needs to be modified to allow wheelchair access so you’re able to carry out day to day activities
  • Providing in-home support for adults with complex behaviour needs who require ongoing supervision and professional support from disability workers
  • Providing additional support to people who want to remain living in their own homes or help moving  them to alternative, suitable accommodation, if this would improve their quality of life
  • Support for people currently in health care facilities who are unable to return home safely when they are discharged
  • Support for people currently living in other accommodation that is temporary, unsafe or unsuitable and mainstream services are unable to provide suitable alternatives due to the participant’s disability related needs

Social and community housing

In Australia, state and territory governments are responsible for social and affordable housing. Subject to waiting periods, they have an obligation to support people to find affordable housing in the general housing rental market. Schemes, such as Commonwealth Rent Assistance, a payment through Services Australia, assists eligible participants with the cost of housing and the National Rental Affordability Scheme creates additional affordable rental properties.

If you have a need for specialised housing as a result of your disability, the NDIS may also contribute to the cost of  your accommodation. To access this funding you may be required to complete a home and living support application if you’re unable to access housing through the normal public or private housing market.

If you are a younger person with a disability, the NDIS may provide support to help you move out of the family home, or a group home, and into mainstream housing. When making housing decisions,  it’s  important to talk to your plan manager about your longer term goals and how and where you would like to live and with whom. This can be factored into your plan with a specific goal to work towards increased independent living.

Although the NDIS does provide some support when it comes to your accommodation, you are responsible for the day-to-day living costs associated with  it, including rent, utilities, groceries, telephone or internet costs. This also applies to general household items, such as furniture, fridge and other cooking utensils.

Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) 

This special type of  accommodation is for people with very high and  complex support needs who require specialist housing and full time, professional care. Usually this accommodation is shared with other people, either in a unit or in a home.

The NDIS does not fund these support services but, rather, the homes in which these services are delivered.

This type of funding is only provided to a small proportion of NDIS participants and these are people with extreme functional impairment and very high support needs. 

Eligible participants requiring access to SDA will have funding included in their plan to cover any disability-related housing costs that are the ordinary costs of housing. This means tenants will still need to pay a ‘reasonable rent contribution’.

SDA does not cover support costs, which are assessed and funded separately by the NDIS and referred to as ‘supported independent living costs.’