Can I afford to live in SDA?

HomeHelp & Resources


Can I afford my dream SDA property in the location I’ve always wanted?

Living in the outer suburbs of Melbourne, I was used to looking towards the inner city and dreaming about the ideal life I’d always wanted to live. To have my own apartment close to the CBD, so I could have fabulous lunches with my friends like Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City, or eat a morning bagel and drink coffee while staring longingly into the window of Tiffany’s.  But it would only ever be that – a dream.

Even with the ability differences between Carrie Bradshaw, Holly Golightly and myself, there would be two huge barriers to me achieving this ‘New York in Melbourne’ fantasy:

  • One, I’m disabled and can’t live on my own, and,
  • Two, I can’t possibly afford to live in the inner city.

Turns out, the two barriers that were crushing my dream, weren’t barriers at all.

Thanks to SDA, I can live on my own and also, I can afford to live wherever I want to. I found an SDA properly in the inner city of Melbourne and I went for it. 

The apartment is brand new, fully fitted out and in an area where rental prices are usually high. So, how can I possibly afford to live there? It’s simple really. SDA developers need tenants in their properties, so they build a house or an apartment in highly desirable locations, as they only receive payments from the NDIS once a tenant moves in. They need tenants to really want to live in their properties. 

SDA payments are the main source of income from the property. All the tenant then has to pay is a reasonable rent contribution. This is capped at 25% of the Disability Support Pension, plus 100% of rent assistance. That leaves enough left over for people to achieve their ultimate Hollywood lifestyle fantasies.

About the Author

Belinda has worked as a Lived Experience Facilitator in the Summer Foundation's Housing Hub Team since June 2020. She brings the experience of navigating her own housing journey which sees her now living in an SDA apartment. Belinda has a Bachelor of Commerce from Deakin University.

Belinda is passionate about people with disability having a voice and a say in their own housing journey, which will lead them to have the best support, choice and flexibility in how they live. 

Belinda is also the SDA Tenants' Reference Group Lead. Learn more about the group here.

Questions about Specialist Disability Accommodation?

Call our SDA Housing Advice line

1300 61 64 63

For people with disability, families, and supporters. Monday – Friday 10.00am – 3.00pm AEDT. You can also email us anytime at

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