Changes announced this week by the Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Stuart Robert, allow for greater flexibility and increased choice for participants living in Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA).
The changes made to SDA rules mean couples are now able to share a bedroom where they choose to do so, and children will be able to share a room with their parent or siblings.
SDA is designed for NDIS participants who cannot live in mainstream housing because of extreme functional impairment or very high support needs, but who want to live independently from carers, or whose needs would be best met through SDA.
It is estimated that around six percent of NDIS participants will have SDA included in their plans when the scheme reaches maturity, which is around 28,000 participants.
Minister Robert says the changes are another important step towards helping people with disability reach their goals and live independently.
"The NDIS enables people with disability to live more independently and one of the most fundamental aspects of all our lives is having choice and control over where we live, who we live with and the supports we need,’ Mr Robert said.
"We are improving the range of options available to participants who have SDA in their NDIS plans, while also stimulating growth in the SDA housing market.
"The changes will improve choice for eligible NDIS participants, build market confidence and drive stronger investment in SDA across Australia."
Romola Hollywood, Director of Policy and Advocacy at People With Disability Australia, agrees that the changes made today are an important step for people living with disability.
“We are very pleased to see the announcement today of the long-awaited rule change...This is an important step towards realising the rights of people with disability to be able to choose who they live with.”
PWDA will be a part of monitoring the implementation of the new rules to ensure greater control and choice, says Ms Hollywood.
“PWDA has been a member of the NDIA’s SDA Reference Group which has helped to progress this much-needed change to the NDIS rules.
“We will continue to monitor the implementation of this new provision with the NDIS as it’s vital that people with disability in SDA can have greater choice and control about who we live with and where we live.”
Today’s announcement also builds on other changes being made as part of the Federal Government’s plan to deliver the NDIS, particularly in delivering better long term outcomes.
Previously, the Government has announced a new SDA Design Standard and a SDA Innovation Plan.
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