The NDIS, Housing and the SDA

This was the first session at the Advocacy Sector Conversations forum held at the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre on 28 June 2018.


The Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) Framework has changed the way people with disabilities access housing. The focus should be on choice and control, however it seems that only people with “extreme” disabilities are receiving funded support for housing. Dr George Taleporos and Penny Paul from the Summer Foundation, present the pathway to SDA under the NDIS, some useful housing resources, and a discussion of the emerging systemic advocacy issues related to the implementation of the SDA framework.






I would like to introduce Dr George Taleporos and Penny Paul from The Summer Foundation to talk to us about a number of things relating to the NDIS and the SDA. Specialist Disability Accommodation and the framework for the SDA has changed the way people with disabilities can access housing.  With a focus on choice and control and an emphasis on people with only the most extreme disabilities receiving funded support for housing, there was a role for advocacy to ensure people with disabilities can access the most suitable housing for their needs.

This presentation will cover the pathway to the SDA under the NDIS, some useful housing resources and a discussion of the emerging systemic housing issues relating to the implementation of the SDA framework.

Welcome George and Penny.

Good morning, I’m Penny Paul I’m from The Summer Foundation.  I’m going to do the first bit about SDA and how that works and then George is going to talk about the systemic issues the policy issues relating to this.

The Summer Foundation’s mission is to resolve the issue of young people in nursing homes and we believe all people with disability are valuable members of society.  Created by Di Winkler in 2006, the mission of The Summer Foundation is to lead demonstrate long term sustainable changes, stop young people being forced to live in nursing homes because there is nowhere else for them.  I think while there is young people in nursing homes there is an existential threat to all people with disabilities.  Currently there is about 6,225 young people in nursing homes across Australia.

How do we do our work:  Our research underpins work that provides evidence base for policy change and practice, enabling young people with disability and their families to tell their stories is a powerful and effective tool for influencing the general public and decision makers and politicians.  We prototype potential solutions.  This is an iterative process involving designing, building, evaluating and learning.  We capture document and disseminate knowledge generated from our research and prototypes and encourage others to replicate the work we’re doing.

Over the last year, I’ve been writing a lot of resources on housing and the NDIS.  The source of my material has been basically the legislation, the NDIS Act 2013, SDA Rules 2016, NDIS Operational Guidelines and working with participants to go through the process and learning that way.  We’re also in constant contact with advocates so if you’ve got information that you would like to share with me please email me or come up and see me after this presentation.  I’m really always keen to learn and I’m sure there’s so much knowledge in this room and I don’t get out of the office enough I can tell you.  I’m too busy writing.

That’s what we’ve agreed to talk about today.  So I just want to explain something about specialist disability and about housing in the NDIS generally.  At full roll out the scheme is meant to be have 460,000 people in it.  They are imagining that about 160,000 of those participants will be under 18 and living with their families.  This shows where the other 300,000 are expected to live.  88,000 living by private means, 57,000 in existing affordable housing, 28,000 will have NDIS in their plans and there’s unmet need for 127,000.

People with disabilities are not escaping the affordable housing crisis in Australia.  It’s going to be really critical, there’s going to be a lot of people testing their eligibility for SDA.  My presentation is really going to take you through the process of what that involves, testing your eligibility for SDA.

Before you can test your eligibility for SDA, you actually have to search for a mainstream housing option.  There’s just no way around this and you have to provide the agency with evidence that you’ve done this.  Can I just have a show of hands how many people here are pretty confident about housing generally, done advocacy around housing?

Traditionally disability workers haven’t thought a lot about housing because the only housing options were you lived at home with your family, lived on your own or if you really needed it and had a crisis and you met the definition of disability under the Victorian Disability Act you might find yourself in shared supported accommodation.

The NDIS is a really new ball game.  That link between a crisis and getting a place in shared supported accommodation has been broken.  The NDIA does not own any housing, it doesn’t operate any housing and it employs no direct support staff.  If there is a crisis, in the life of someone that you work with, there’s not an obvious agency or Government department who feels it’s their responsibility to find a place for that person with disability or for yourself.

It’s really important that you act early and think about housing before there’s a crisis and know where you stand and how the scheme can help you and how it’s going to work.  To do this the first resource that I suggest people work through is My Housing Preferences.  It’s really long.  You can use it soft copy or hard copy, I think soft copy would be better.  It just takes you through, gets people to think about their housing history, their support history, what works for them, where they would like to live why they would like to live there, do you want to live inner city, middle ring, rural regional outer suburbs.  What’s important to you what do you need to be close to, how does this make your support network better, do you need to be near family, employment or various other employment opportunities.

I really recommend this document.  The utility of it has been proven over and over again, as more people have put in SDA applications.  One of the good things that it provides the opportunity to do is for people to get to know the person they’re working with or the person to do it themselves and really put their own voice in there.  The voice of the person with disability is going to be really critical in conversations with the NDIA.

I’ve read lots of applications for the DSR and I’ve really never seen much content that is the voice of the person with disability.  The NDIS is not really interested in what support coordinators think should happen, the NDIS is looking for what the participants need and preferences are.  This is a really good document to capture that.  It also probably if you’re not familiar with housing it probably is going to throw up some new ideas and new living arrangements that people with disability and their families might want to consider.

The other thing that we’ve done is we’ve produced sample NDIS plans because people don’t – they become NDIS participants, they don’t know what a plan looks like, they don’t know how they work and that makes preplanning really hard and it makes setting appropriate goals really hard.  The NDIS plans show the sorts of supports you can get and the different categories that you can get them under whether it’s a core support, capacity building support or a capital item and it gives hints and tips like get plan management if you can’t self-manage.  It demonstrates how funding is linked to goals and has some good goals in there.  If you’re looking for funding to search for housing, you need a housing related goal.  The NDIS will only fund things that directly relate to your goals and I really recommend you make housing either goal one or goal two.

There used to be a thing called The Exploring Housing Options Package.  They don’t sort of fund packages in the NDIS they fund individually related to your need.  Your planner and the delegate will make a call about the amount of support coordination you might need to look for housing.  This is a good amount of support coordination and it includes 55 hours for someone to write a housing plan.  I’m going to talk about what a housing plan might look like a bit further on.

You might also get funding for Allied Health assessments and they’re really critical.  When the NDIS is determining what to fund in relation to housing it’s my guess that they are going to think about what is the opinion of Allied Health assessors what does the participant want and perhaps what their informal support network want and what the support coordinator has to say.

Working with really good Allied Health professionals is really important and it’s a huge shift for them.  They can no longer talk in the language they’ve talked.  They need to understand the logic and language of the NDIS and do not spend people’s money on Allied Health assessments unless they’re really committed to working in this space.

This is a really complicated journey and I’ve tried to break it down.  We’ve got an info graphic on the website that you can download.  I’m currently altering this in relation to sort of more experience that we’ve gathered but essentially the grey part of the journey is the search for mainstream housing option and the blue part of that road map is a search for SDA.  As I said before, you really have to demonstrate that you’ve exhausted any opportunity to live in a mainstream housing with supports before you can contemplate testing your eligibility for SDA.

What are some of the mainstream housing options:   I’m just going to click these up I won’t read them out.  These slides are going to be turned into a Pdf and sent to you or put up on the DARU website so you can come back to them.  Here are some of the ones that we know about and once again if you’re working with people who’ve come up with some pretty innovative housing solutions for themselves, really keen to hear about them and promote them because there just hasn’t been much depth of knowledge in the disability field before about different ways to live given that you can now get support individually through the NDIS.  That’s why we’ve included links to videos and stuff that really deepen your knowledge about how it works and how other people have combined a housing arrangement with appropriate supports.

We’ve also produced a guide Living More Independently so that’s the sort of thing if people and perhaps their families are concerned what living more independently might look like it’s a guide that takes people through that.  We’ve got a mainstream housing guide that’s about to go live with the website as well, it’s currently in design.

There is lots of resources there to do this first part of the journey, to test the availability and whether or not you can live in a mainstream housing option.  Bearing in mind the NDIS will provide the following supports to assist you to live in mainstream housing;  capacity-building supports, assist with daily living, developing or sustaining your formal support network, home modifications and assistive tech.  You have to think about all the possible housing options, could I combine them with any of all of these and make a mainstream housing option work for me.

If you find a mainstream housing option and it’s going to work for you move don’t hang out for SDA.  If you can make it work, do make it work.  There’s some real advantages I guess in that you are an ordinary citizen in lots more ways and your housing is much more determined by your needs and preferences.  When you get into the SDA, you’re kind of in the system and you lose a bit of control over what’s going on.  Take a mainstream housing option if you can.

If you can’t, if you can’t access mainstream housing because of the level of your disability and I want to be really clear here that there is an affordable housing crisis.  The fact you can’t afford a mainstream housing option is not a reason to try and access SDA.  The NDIS is really clear that it is not a part of Government that is here to make up for the fact that the disability support pension is completely inadequate.  That’s not in their remit.

Let’s talk quickly about specialist disability accommodation.  We’re talking about that 28,000, 6% of all scheme participants.  It’s not many people.  I can see a head shaking.  Who are these people?  Well the productivity commission thought we’ve probably got 16,000 currently in shared supported accommodation we’ve got 6,200 people in residential aged care and then they looked at all the states and territories wait lists, although they’re never called wait lists for share supported accommodation and they came up with 28,000.

I believe that’s not a finite number.  I believe if you meet the requirements they’re not going to stop at 28,000.  I think it’s worth bearing in mind it’s for 6% of all scheme participants.  This is an incredibly valuable resource and they’ve published separate rules, which go through what the resource is how it’s managed and who is eligible and the SDA rules 2016.  If you’re going to enter this space, you need to read this rules no question.  They’re quite easy to read.

In terms of the criteria they’ve set out there is basically two pathways that participants would test their eligibility for SDA.  I recommend they have a discussion with their support coordinator and an Allied Health professional to decide which of these pathways is most relevant to them.  In broad terms, we’re looking at do I have an extreme functional impairment and that means that I need assistance in mobility, self-care or self-management and I have a very high need for person-to-person supports.

Alternatively, you might have very high support needs and that group is people who have previously lived in shared supported accommodation, they have very high person-to-person support needs, informal carer is not available or sustainable.  We’re thinking there about ageing parent carers, a risk to themselves or others.  That’s probably the robust design category people with behaviours of concern.  There’s two people that stream off and test their eligibility in one or other of those streams.

What is the SDA that they then would be thinking about; there is a number of design categories and building types but broadly speaking people who are currently in shared supported accommodation or a group home all that housing stock has come into the scheme as basic.  What we’ve found is you can move around shared supported accommodation, existing shared supported accommodation fairly easily under the NDIS but you can’t easily move from an existing group home into a new build without testing your eligibility through this process and against the criteria on the previous slide.

(inaudible to transcriber)

Perhaps while we’re waiting, you can read the slide and then I won’t read the slide later.

I was just wondering if you’re already in accommodation and at that basic level, will they fund capacity building to get to another level.

That’s the previous slide, that’s the funding of support coordination to prepare a housing plan and Allied Health assessments.  Yes, you definitely want to ask for that.  You need something to say I’m currently at risk in my shared supported accommodation and I need to explore suitable housing options, other suitable housing options.

Okay, thank you.

A housing plan, a very complicated piece of work and what we’ve done is developed a tool.  This tool once again people who want to use it should just download it.  It takes you through the legislation the rules, the SDA rules 2006 and it provides suggestions of the type of evidence that you need and where to put it.  What we’re trying to do is take you so that you provide the NDIS decision maker and their in a team called The Technical Advisory Team, with evidence against every single relevant section of the rule.

I think this is really important because as advocates you’ll understand that if you work through this with a participant and they don’t get SDA in their plan and the decision comes back no you don’t have any evidence against 3.4 C, and you go for a review, well the review will be at law.  They won’t bring common sense to bare they will say well you don’t provide the evidence so the original decision stands.

Who are the people in the technical advisory team; they’re people who have been employed to make decisions.  They could’ve come from anywhere; other government agencies that make decisions, Centrelink make decisions.  They have a piece of legislation they gather evidence and they decide if the evidence provided allows them to make a decision to provide a support or not.  It’s just administrative law.  They are not necessarily interested in the back-story, they aren’t reading the material that’s been on your DHHS file, all they have in front of them is the housing plan the document that you provide to them.  That document needs to be absolutely completely to the best of your ability or the best of the support coordinators ability.

If someone comes to you and says I went for SDA and I didn’t get it I think you need to look at what they’ve submitted to the NDIS and compare it to the rule and either suggest that you work together to rewrite a housing plan that does address all the criteria of the rule before you just turn around and do a review, because it is going to be a review at law on the basis of the information provided.

The reason I think this bar is so high is because this is a really high value support it’s potentially for the life of the participant and decisions made need to be consistent fair and transparent.  You just have to present the evidence, they have to have the evidence on file and that’s how it goes.

As I said a vital part of that evidence is going to be Allied Health assessments and we’ve produced a guide to help people think about who to work with and we’ve even included a sample service agreement where you say to the Allied Health assessor, okay you’re going to provide an assessment that covers this part of the rule and that part of the rule and that part of the rule then you know which bits of the rule you still have to find someone else to cover off.

I’m really suggesting that you get really high quality Allied Health assessors who have been in the business for a long time and can really state their credentials and win over a decision maker so the decision maker doesn’t think that they might know better than the Allied Health assessments that they have before them.

We’ve also produced a general overview to the disability accommodation payments that’s just a good starting point to work out how they work.  It should all go well.  Someone might get SDA in their plan.  It would appear as a capital item and this gives you a sense of how high the payments can go annually.  That will give you a sense of why they are being so tightly policed.

The payments actually are with the participant in their plan.  When a participant moves into SDA that’s an SDA house that’s been registered then the provider of the SDA house starts to get those payments through to them.  They’ll never hit the participant’s bank account but they travel with the participant and they should be able to move around with the participant.

The NDIA are entitled to offer people in-kind housing first and that is existing housing stock that’s entered the scheme, generally shared supported accommodation.  They’ve got ten days to find that house or you can go to the market bearing in mind that we have various guarantees that no one has to take an in-kind option.  That’s a lot of the work that you as advocates might do is with people who have been offered in-kind and are not sure whether they have to take it or not, no they don’t.

You will all be familiar with the appeals process.  You do an internal review, an administrative appeals tribunal, federal court and high court.  It’s worth keeping an eye on the AAT website they’ve got a special part of that which is just NDIS decisions.  It gives you a really good flavour about how the legal system views the NDIS Act and the SDA rules.

I don’t think there’s any SDA decisions up there yet and we’re really looking for some.  If you’re working with someone on an SDA decision don’t hesitate to contact us and have a chat about that because we’re really keen to develop some case law around SDA decision making.

There’s an overview of the resources on our website.  If you just google Summer Foundation NDIS Housing you will get a page that has them all on one page.  We’ve also developed a website to help participants find SDA.  It’s called the Housing Hub and that’s just a photo of some of the new build SDA that’s coming on stream.  That’s the title page of the Housing Hub and it just lists vacancies.  The states are generally coming on board and starting to list their housing on that website.  It’s a good place.  If you are working with people looking for housing I would do it every Monday morning, check it out.  There is also Go Nest, which is a competitor website because this is a market-based system.

Something interesting about this site is that people who are doing new build SDA often listing that and looking for tenants so there’s people ready to move in by the time the place is completed.  Don’t feel despondent that there is no housing.  There is SDA being developed and we think there is about nearly a thousand bedrooms in the pipeline at the moment of new build SDA.

I think I’m going to hand over to my colleague George Taleporos to talk about emerging policy issues.

I’m actually a parent of a young adult and I’m just starting to look at this for my young man.  I’m probably asking a very basic question because I don’t understand.  There is SDA and SIL, what’s the difference?  When talking about SDA are you talking about bricks and mortar or talking about the support to live somewhere, is there a difference?

There is a difference.  SDA is very clearly bricks and mortar and SIL is supported independent living and that’s the support that goes into live independently.

Okay, so if my young man is lucky enough that we can buy him an apartment does that – I can then apply for SIL to have somebody look after him in that apartment because he is a complex young man, what’s the difference?

That’s a very good question.  I think that it’s important that we go back to what Penny said earlier and that was that only 6% of people will get this support.  The reason that is is because it’s only reserved for people who have very high complex needs and where they need a particular build, a particular housing option.  Whether that be because they need equipment and that equipment means that they need a larger bathroom or a hoist or the other reason is because it may be more economical for that person to live with other people.

We know that we’ve come from a time when group homes have dominated how people are housed and there’s still partly an emphasis on putting people together if it’s going to save the NDIS money.

But that goes against choice and control George.  Group homes is not what I want for my young man.  It’s supposed to be about choice and control.  Again I go back to my question, am I going to have a fight on my hands if I want him to live independently but I need someone to support him?

This is where we go into the policy issues because that is completely something that is a principle of the NDIS so we have the principle of choice and control we also have the principle of cost effective.  There will be a consideration of choice and control and cost effectiveness.  This is where advocates have a very important role.

Is there anyone here who has had to advocate for a person to live on their own?  Yes, can you tell us about your experience?

It’s been a very difficult long process for this young man and his family.  I’m not working with them at the moment because we’re trying a different avenue.  A house is bought in trust for this young man and supports were put in place but the funding is not matching supports by any means and it’s just been an ongoing battle.  It’s at appeals at the moment so I don’t know whether – REACs managing at the moment.

We really don’t like what’s out there.  Supported accommodation, don’t even go there.  I’m just wondering what battle I’m going to have.  It’s not yet but I’m just trying to think of the best way to go about doing this.  I’m not planning in the next year it’s maybe six or seven years’ time but is the NDIS going to progress?

I think someone at the back was going to add something.

We do have another case actually, where a gentleman before the SDA came out, about a month before, they did his plan without telling him about the SDA.  He’s now battling to get the SDA included in his private house.  That’s another one you have to think about.  If you take a private, you can get SDA for it.


I’m really just not interested probably in the bricks and mortar because I think we might be lucky enough to be able to fund that ourselves.  It’s the maintenance of him being able to live – (inaudible too far from microphone)

I don’t think it is SDA, isn’t that SIL?

Allow me to then clarify some of the policy features and maybe this will help.  With SDA, it’s very much around what the individual wants to choose around a particular level of funding for a build form.  The framework says the funding will be attached to the individual and that individual will be able to take that funding to purchase a particular registered SDA property that they can then live in but at the same time if they don’t want to stay in there they can take that funding and move it somewhere else.

The vision, the view for the future for the market is that there will be a range of options for people.  Those options might include apartments for housing as well as possibly the traditional brick home, residence.  The whole idea is that over time based on people making choices that slowly the market will develop to reflect what people with disabilities want.

Sorry, everyone if we can hold the questions until the end of George’s session and we will make sure we have enough time for questions before we break for lunch.  Can we please make sure we ask questions through the microphone because the people on the live streaming can’t hear you.

I actually don’t mind questions, that’s fine.  The other thing that’s important to notice is that even though the policy itself talks about choice and control in the early days of implementation, they’ve seen lots of problems.  One of the problems is we’re seeing the favouring of shared housing or group homes over people who want to live on their own.

The other thing that we’re seeing is that decisions are being made, which results in the person having to live in a particular type of housing  and out of these well the person should be able to move according to what suits them and they might want to try out one form of housing and not be necessarily dictated by the NDIA that that is what they have to have.

The other policy that’s coming up is around families that want to live together.  We know that over half of people living in residence or aged care have a partner who if they could find housing they could live with their partner and with their children or the person that they want to live with.  SDA does not currently enable people to live with their families because of the way that pricing is set up.  If I live in SDA and then I have a family member live with me the amount of SDA that I’m entitled to would go down.  In the open market how does that work, it doesn’t work.  It means that you can’t get the type of housing that you need.

The other thing that we’re seeing is that decisions are incredibly slow.  Six months is like [ inaudible] and people have to wait even longer.  There’s not a lot of transparency in how decisions are made around the SDA.  The other problem that we’re seeing is that the language in the pricing is making it very hard for people to be able to get the kind of housing that enables innovation and for them to have the housing that they might want.

There are lots of problems that we’re currently seeing but as we all know, the NDIS is relatively new and hopefully there will be some improvements over time.

Has anyone been involved in the current review of the framework that’s currently happening?  So there’s currently a review of the SDA framework, yes someone at the back.  Are you happy to tell us a little bit Margaret about what you are having to see in the review?

Yes.  Hi, I’m Margaret Boulos from Carers Victoria.  We have looked at the framework in the context of the review and we’ve just been suggesting and recommending that it emphasise choice and control for participants, families and carers over and above what looks like an emphasis and a preference for the group home model.  I think that comes out really strongly because I think the framework is more of a kind of agreement between how the Governments were trying to deal with the SDA stock rather than being quite a forward thinking document.

Yeah, and what I often avert to is what you said earlier is that the promise of the NDIS was about choice and control.  It’s about people making their own decisions about where they live and who they live with.  We also know there is Article 19 of the UN Charter of a Person with Disabilities that says people with disability should have full choice around who they live with.  We really want the NDIS to fulfil the charter.  We want people to have the same choices as other people might have in the community.

What we need to do I think is make sure that we document people’s experiences.  If you have an experience with someone that you’re advocating for where they’re being forced to live in a situation, the [ inaudible] ones, document it.  We would like to hear about it, send it to us but also share it amongst yourselves.  If we can talk, talk together some really strong evidence that people are not being supported in accordance with their own choice we will have a lot more power to influence policy and I think that’s really important.

Are there any questions?

Hi, Megan.  Just go back to, I know it already happens when you have a crisis and parents relinquishing their children and I believe it actually did happen earlier this year in the Geelong region.  Nobody wants to take responsibility.  It always used to be the responsibility of the State and they want to get out of it.  The NDIA just think they are a banker and they don’t want to do anything either.  What’s happening in this space?  It won’t be – I believe it’s happened once at the NDIA and it won’t be the last time.  Does anyone know what’s happening in this space?

Are you talking about provider of last resort?

Provider of last resort.  When you have a crisis and you want to relinquish someone because you know you can’t cope anymore and we know that it happens George unfortunately so what’s actually been put in place, does anyone know?

I think that the current situation is that there is no provider of last resort officially.  However, we know that young people in residential aged care end up in nursing homes because there’s no one else to provide the sort of support that they need.  We also know that people end up in hospitals longer than they necessarily should, people even end up in prison and there’s all sorts of de-facto providers of last resort.

It’s not good enough.  We know that it’s not where people should be.  I think that is a very key advocacy need and I think that it’s important that we put that on the radar.   The NDIA doesn’t see itself necessarily as a provider, well it doesn’t at all.

There’s a question at the back.

Hi, my name is Bronwyn; I’m an advocate at AMIDA.  We currently have a situation, a person with disabilities in a supported residential service.  Very similar set up I suppose with the restriction for how that person can use their NDIS plan.  The SRS is saying that they must use the SRS support staff for their NDIS package otherwise, that person is going to be evicted.

We haven’t really touched on SRS in this conversation, I was wondering if anybody had any comments about that.

Penny, do you?

Not a lot to say.  I’m not really aware that SRSs have support staff frankly.  I know probably most people under 65 in an SRS would be NDIS eligible.  Whether that’s going to translate into some savvy workers who are working in that space and thinking about the transition into the NDIS, I think that is a hidden pool of a provider of last resort that hasn’t really been – it’s not a space I’ve entered into thinking very much, about how they come across.  I think I would be really challenging the idea that they have support staff.

I know for example in residential aged care you can’t get funding for core supports for person to person care because under the residential aged care act the aged care provider is meant to meet your personal needs.  Whether there’s anything in the SRS legislation that says similar, I don’t know.  But that would be where I would be going to see if there’s any legislative requirement that they do meet someone’s support needs and if not well off course, they need the core supports that they need.

I think one of the things that we need to be conscious of in advocacy is that we’re very [0:45:36:5 – inaudible] who is registering as an SDA provider.  One of the risks is that the market will – because it is an open market, right?  So there’s a risk that people who are vulnerable and who are not necessarily able to advocate for themselves will have their SRS provider saying let’s set ourselves up as SDA.

The funding seems a lot higher and in some way there is a risk that this NDIS participant who might be eligible for housing that is better than where they are now or they might not, I don’t know, could miss out.  It’s important that advocates are very attune to who is providing and that the person with disability is not captive to their provider.  They should be able to move around and choose a different housing if that’s what they want.

Yes, talking about choice and control AMIDA have contacted the transition team at DHHS, the NDIS transition team about this particular matter with the SRS.  They’re very interested in it.  What they’re saying is that there isn’t new law there is the SRS regulations that were standing prior and with the NDIS there hasn’t been new guidelines set out yet.  Most definitely, the SRS is not able to dictate to the person how they use their NDIS package and they certainly can’t evict that person.  There’s probably other cases like this going on with the roll out where the regulations aren’t clear yet.

Do we have time for another question, yes?

Thank you, just really quickly is it possible to talk about the evidence that you need to provide to demonstrate you have exhausted your mainstream housing options?

Now Penny is the expert on this.

Okay, so my housing preferences are basically, where you would collate that information.  You’d be wanting to show that you’ve applied for public housing, social housing, community housing, private rental, thought about can I live with a partner or family.  You would have to be demonstrating getting letters back from real estate agents saying we haven’t got any wheelchair accessible housing or the waiting list for this is 17 years long, you’ve got over $5,000.00 in assets so you’re not eligible for public housing.  You need that evidence.

What I’m going to do in the next quarter is basically a housing plan tool for mainstream housing.  If you work through that that would then be at the front of your SDA application and it would demonstrate that you’ve worked through all those options and that none of them would work even with person to person supports, capacity building support, technology or home mods.

The other funny thing is you can get right to the end of the SDA rules and they go yeah you meet the criteria but we’re actually going to fund you for some more capacity building supports.  There is a snake in there.  You really need to cover off your bases and provide the decision maker with that you’ve absolutely exhausted all other opportunities.

Can I maybe provide just a little bit of how do I say this, some tips that I think would be important?  Be very very clear in your SDA goals sorry your NDIS goals about what you want.  Penny said this earlier but I can’t stress this enough.  The legislation says that you cannot be funded for something that is not in your goals and for the mum at the front state very clearly that you do not want to live in a brick home.  I did that in my plan and I get funded to live in my home 24/7.

Be really clear about what you need and also what you don’t want.  Put that down.  Put it all in writing.  Don’t just say it in a conversation to the planner.  I think people think that I said it to the planner.  Well, no that’s not going to be enough when you’re at the AAT and read out that conversation that you have.  Put everything about the person with disability, their needs, what they want what their goals are, what they don’t want.  Support that with evidence from wherever you can get that evidence from whether that’s a psychologist, a behaviour support person, an OT whatever that is.  Always assume that your plan might end up at AAT at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal so you have the paperwork and everything you need to support your appeal.

We need more people to appeal so that we can develop case law that will inform the NDIS in the future.   They’re my concluding points.  Do we have any time for any more questions, Melissa?  Yes, at the front.

I really just wanted to say to people that you can change your goals at any time.  So if you haven’t got them in there you can actually request to change goals.

Yes, what we’re hearing is any review of a plan can take six months or more so yes –

It doesn’t have to be a review you can just ask to have your goals changed.

Yes, but if you want funding tied to your goals you’re going to need to do that at a time when the plan is either being developed or being reviewed.  It’s really important that you’re –

It’s quite interesting, I don’t know if everyone saw the new ruling that’s come out in the Northern Territory about plans through the AAT.  It might be worth reading up on that because there is some new rulings about plans.

Is there a way of getting that information out to everyone that might be listening?

Sure, it will be on the AAT site.  It’s a new ruling about what the judge ruled in the Federal Court about plans and how they should be looked at.  Not as new plans but as continuing plans.  It’s interesting.

Really important that we share information.  Also, just to give you a heads up that The Summer Foundation has a new Podcast series, Series 2, called Reasonable and Necessary and you can hear all about the latest information about the NDIS.  Series 1 has information about SDA.  Series 2, we’re talking a bit about the quality and safeguards commission and we have an interview with the new commissioner on there.  Please check that out.

As I said, Penny and myself always love to receive information about what’s happened to people on the ground so email us your case studies, anything that comes to you around people who might not be getting the right kind of support.  We’re also really interested in issues around housing and the SDA.

I think that’s all from us, is that right Penny, any other comments?

Just don’t be intimidated.  This is a new scheme it’s shambolic but over time it will come together.  I think we all have a really important role in making sure it comes together to reach its potential and to fulfil the principles of the act, which I think is a really good act.

Thank you.

Thank you Penny and George.  Just so you all know, these resources will be available on the DARU website after the forum.  The contacts or the information you need you can follow up afterwards.

Hopefully George and Penny will stick around at the lunch break if you want to ask questions.  We’ll break now for lunch.  If you can all be seated by 1:00 o’clock, we will go to the next session.

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