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Can the NDIS help me with housing? Housing aid explained

Apr.14.2023 By Orla Garrigan

Does the NDIS provide support for housing?

When it comes to funding provided by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), we often get asked whether the NDIS provides support for housing, either through rent or mortgage subsidies. It’s a good question, and one definitely worth asking, but the short answer for most participants is generally no.

While the NDIS is designed to support the extra costs that people living with disabilities face, everyone in the community generally has to pay for their own housing, both in terms of rent and mortgage payments. Because everyone in the community has to pay for their own housing, and this isn’t an extra cost incurred by people living with disability, the NDIS doesn’t cover it.

If you are in need of specialist funding, there are some options available. That said, only around 6% of NDIS participants are found eligible for this type of funding, so it’s important to manage your expectations if you’re looking into additional financial support.

Also keep in mind that this funding only contributes to a portion of housing costs – not the entire amount – so you will still be expected to pay a reasonable amount of the cost of housing.

While it may be discouraging to not be eligible, keep in mind that you have a range of other housing and living supports available through your NDIS plan, and we can help you navigate these.

Which accommodation costs are covered by the NDIS?

In most cases, you are expected to cover standard living costs, which include accommodation, food, electricity, and internet. However, there are some circumstances where the NDIS will cover accommodation costs directly. This is usually temporary accommodation unless you are eligible for Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA), which we’ll explore later on.

Short term accommodation

The NDIS will provide Short Term Accommodation or Respite for up to 14 days consecutively and a maximum of 28 days in a year, based on your plan start date. This type of accommodation is included in your core funding and is generally to allow you to temporarily receive support outside of your primary accommodation, in such cases as a holiday.

Medium term accommodation

Medium-term accommodation is funded for up to 90 days. Medium-term accommodation is required when you have permanent accommodation organised, such as SDA, but are waiting on availability.

Long term accommodation via SDA

Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) is specially designed and built to accommodate NDIS participants with extreme impairments. These dwellings are built from the ground up to support you in achieving greater independence and mobility. Only a minority (6%) of NDIS participants are approved for this type of accommodation.

Specialist Disability Accommodation – am I eligible?

If you are living with extreme functional impairment in your everyday life, you may be eligible for the Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) program. SDA allows those who require a very high level of support to live more independently and access other supports in a safe way. This is generally through specially made accommodations, with modifications to assist with your unique circumstances.

Eligibility for SDA is often on a case-by-case basis. The decision to grant SDA support depends on a range of factors, and takes into account any other disability support services you are accessing. Generally speaking, SDA will only provide funded accommodation if it is a better option for you over any existing support you are already receiving.

You may be eligible for SDA support if you: 

  • Experience extreme functional impairment. This means you have trouble with everyday mobility, self-care, and self-management tasks such as bathing, walking, or doing housework
  • Have high support needs. This may mean that your family or community support are unable to provide the level of care you need, and SDA will reduce risks to your safety

To discuss SDA eligibility or determine if you have any other home and living supports available, you can speak to an NDIS planner, your Local Area Coordinator or your Support Coordinator. For most NDIS participants, non-financial supports may be available, including support in living independently and gaining necessary social and life skills. You may also apply for home modifications if and when your disability requires it.

I am not eligible for SDA – what housing support can I receive from the NDIS?

If you are one of 94% of NDIS participants who is not eligible for SDA support, you are not alone, and there are other types of support you can access through the NDIS.

NDIS participants can access support through the three support budgets in their NDIS plan. You may receive consumables (such as everyday essential items or low-cost equipment to aid mobility) or household task assistance through your Core Supports budget. 

You can also access support through Improved Living Arrangements, where you’ll receive help to find and maintain a place to live.

You may also access the support of Assistive Technology or Home Modifications through your Capital Supports Budget.

Supported Independent Living (SIL)

While SDA provides housing specifically designed for those with higher needs (i.e. specialised and accessible living spaces with modifications), Supported Independent Living (SIL) focuses on support services that help you with daily living activities in your home. This can include things like:

  • Support in gaining the necessary skills to live more independently. These skills can include things like money management, social and communication skills, and behavioural management.
  • Support with daily tasks such as showering and dressing.
  • General help around the home that you aren’t able to complete due to your impairments.
  • Home modifications to provide support for your unique needs. This funding is provided on a case-by-case basis and based on evidence provided.

The goal of SIL is to promote independence and skill development for those living with disabilities and enable them to live as independently as possible within their communities.

Improved Living Arrangements

Improved Living Arrangements fall within your Capacity Building budget and can help you to:

  • Find and apply to rental properties
  • Meet tenancy rules and obligations
  • Understand and help navigate rental agreements
  • Connect you with shared accommodation providers (including SIL providers)

Keep in mind that Improved Living Arrangements are simply to support you and help coordinate housing – housing is not provided by the NDIS itself.

Home modifications

Home modifications are changes to your existing home to aid in accessibility and independent living. These modifications can range from minor to complex, and have different categories within them. These fall within your Capital Support budget. 

For example, if you needed a doorway in your home widened, and it wasn’t a key part of your home’s structural integrity, that would be considered a Category A minor home modification (under $10,000). Anything over that and up to $20,000 is considered a Category B home modification.

Complex home modification refers to significant changes to your home. This may mean something like restructuring your bathroom to make it wheelchair accessible. These modifications are much more complex than minor modifications, and require adherence to all of the rules and regulations that come with any construction work.

In the event that you need to leave your home while these modifications are taking place, the NDIS will provide funding for short-term accommodation.

Assistive technology

In some circumstances, you may be eligible for assistive technology support. As with home modifications, there are different tiers depending on your needs and the level of risk the assistive technology presents – for example, small low-risk technologies vs larger, complex technologies like power wheelchairs.

To access funding for assistive technology, you will have to provide information on your need for it and why it is the appropriate choice for your situation.

Like Home Modifications, Assistive Technology falls within your Capital Supports budget. 

How do I access additional housing and living support?

If you’re unsure of what level of home and living funding you need, or if you meet requirements, you can work with a support coordinator for up to 75 hours to develop an appropriate housing plan. This includes up to 20 hours to get any necessary health assessments. Once you have developed a housing plan, you can apply for funding.

How can the NDIS and MyIntegra help me find additional housing support?

In addition to housing and living support under your NDIS plan, you may also find some assistance through other systems. Through Support Coordination, the NDIS and MyIntegra can work alongside these systems to help provide additional support and to find affordable housing.

You may find support through:

  • Government and social housing services.
  • Emergency accommodation services for at-risk people.
  • Commonwealth rent assistance.
  • National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS)

MyIntegra can help!

MyIntegra is a registered NDIS provider. We offer high-quality Plan Management and Support Coordination for people with disabilities, their families and carers. Self-management can often be a hassle – by handing over the time-consuming aspects of managing your plan to us (like the dreaded paperwork), you’re able to experience the freedom of more time, allowing for more planning and, more importantly, living the life you want.

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