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What We Know About The New SDA Rule

The long awaited new SDA Rule is finally here! And many of the changes are actually pretty great. Brent explores the practical ways these this Rule will change the SDA marketplace.

By Brent Woolgar

Updated 15 Apr 202429 Jun 2020

After many months of waiting, we have a new SDA Rule. Let’s take a look at the significant changes – and there are a few, and they are great!!

The new SDA Rule can be found here.

 

Sharing with non-SDA people

An unintended consequence of past SDA Rule was to limit the ability for people eligible for SDA to share a bedroom with people who were not eligible for SDA. The new rule finally has eliminated this restriction. However, the rule does state that where a person freely chooses to share their bedroom, they must notify the CEO (of the NDIS) and the CEO must be satisfied that “the eligible participant's needs are not adversely impacted by having more than one person residing in the bedroom.”

While this change is applauded, it is also interesting that to achieve an outcome, so many of us take for granted a person eligible for SDA has to ask the CEO for permission.

SDA and the family home

Past SDA rules prohibited the parents of a person with SDA from residing on the same land parcel. The new rule has removed this restriction altogether and is now silent on the subject. This change is also welcome, although there are suggestions this may have been an oversight.

 

Bedroom numbers

The new SDA Rule allows for a dwelling to have more than 5 bedrooms provided they are for family members and the definition of family members includes a spouse or de facto partner, children of the participant or children of the participant’s spouse or de facto partner. Yet another welcome change allowing families to stay together in circumstances where one (or more) family members have a disability.

 

Interim SDA payments

 

In certain circumstances, a person may be able to receive their SDA payments to use for transitional accommodation while they are waiting to find a suitable permanent home. Access to the funding is subject to an approval process. If approved, the funding may be used for the following types of dwellings: 

(a)   a dwelling that the participant occupied before being approved for SDA,

(b)    a dwelling that the participant moved to after being approved for SDA; or

(c)   a dwelling that does not meet the building type, design standard or location matters outlined in the approval

The final major change relates to the information that the CEO must include in a persons plan when SDA is approved. This includes 

  • that the eligible participant is eligible to receive support for SDA
  • appropriate SDA building type, design category and location
  • whether the SDA is to be provided as an in-kind support.

The above has not changed, however, and interestingly the Rule also states that “the plan may specify the SDA provider that is to provide specialist disability accommodation to the eligible participant.”.

The key phrase above is “may” so don’t expect that this will happen in most occasions.

We also understand that a new SDA price guide, reflecting prices related to shared settings may be forthcoming in the next few weeks – keep your eyes out for that.

Authors

Brent Woolgar

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