Harmilla Blog: What is The Difference Between Supported Independent Living (SIL) and Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)?

June 24th, 2024

Navigating the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can be complex, especially when understanding different types of support available.Two important parts of the NDIS are Supported Independent Living (SIL) and Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA). People who qualify for support may have these included in their NDIS plan.

These support services help individuals with disabilities gain greater independence and improve their quality of life. They serve different purposes and meet various needs.

SIL vs SDA. Understanding the Difference

Today, we’ll explore the differences between SIL and SDA, so you can make a more informed decision.

What is Supported Independent Living (SIL)?

Supported Independent Living (SIL) is a type of support that focuses on helping individuals with disabilities live as independently as possible. It includes assistance with daily living activities and can be provided in shared or individual living arrangements.

Key Features of SIL:

  1. Daily Living Support: SIL provides help with everyday tasks such as cooking, cleaning, personal care, and managing household chores.
  2. Skill Development: The support aims to build and enhance skills needed for independent living, fostering autonomy and confidence.
  3. Flexible Arrangements: SIL can be tailored to individual needs. This could be living alone or in a shared environment with other NDIS participants.
  4. 24/7 Support: Depending on the level of need, SIL can include round-the-clock assistance to ensure safety and well-being.

SIL is ideal for individuals who can manage with some level of support and wish to maintain a degree of independence. It focuses on providing just enough assistance to enable participants to live as independently as possible.

What is Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)?

Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) refers to housing specifically designed for individuals with significant functional impairments or high support needs. SDA focuses on creating an environment that accommodates these needs, providing accessible features and facilities to ensure safety and comfort for residents. SDA homes are purpose-built to cater to these needs, offering a range of accessibility and support features.

Key Features of SDA:

  1. Purpose-Built Housing: SDA properties are designed to meet high support needs, including features like wider doorways, hoists, and accessible bathrooms.
  2. On-Site Support: SDA includes a higher level of care, with support workers available on-site to assist with complex needs.
  3. Customised Environments: The living spaces are tailored to the specific requirements of residents, ensuring they can live safely and comfortably.
  4. Long-Term Accommodation: SDA is typically intended for long-term living arrangements, providing stability and continuous support.


SDA is suitable for individuals with severe disabilities who require extensive support to manage their daily lives.

The accommodations are designed to ensure residents can live with dignity and as much independence as possible, despite their high support needs.

Differences Between SIL and SDA

While both SIL and SDA aim to support individuals with disabilities, they cater to different levels of need and types of support:

  • Level of Support:
    • SIL: Provides varying levels of support for daily living activities, depending on individual needs.
    • SDA: Offers high-level, continuous support for individuals with severe functional impairments.
  • Disability Accommodation:
    • SIL: Can be provided in shared or individual living arrangements.
    • SDA: Involves purpose-built housing designed for accessibility and high support needs.
  • Focus:
    • SIL: Focuses on developing skills for independent living and providing support to maintain autonomy.
    • SDA: Focuses on providing a safe and supportive living environment for those with extreme support needs.
  • Target Audience:
    • SIL: Suitable for individuals who can live with some assistance.
    • SDA: Suitable for those requiring extensive support and specialised housing.

Choosing the Right Support

Choosing between SIL and SDA depends on the individual’s level of need, personal goals, and the type of support required. Here are some considerations to help in making this decision:

  • Assessment of Needs: Conduct a thorough assessment to determine the level of support required. This includes evaluating daily living skills, mobility, and health needs.
  • Personal Preferences: Consider the individual’s preference for living arrangements, whether they prefer shared living or more private, specialised accommodation.
  • Goals for Independence: Identify the long-term goals for independence and how each type of support can help achieve these goals.
  • Consultation with Professionals: Engage with NDIS planners, support coordinators, and healthcare professionals to get a comprehensive understanding of what each support option offers.

How Harmilla Can Help

At Harmilla, we understand the complexities involved in choosing the right support under the NDIS. Our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to helping NDIS participants and their families navigate these choices to find the best fit for their needs.

Our Services Include:

  • Comprehensive Assessments: We conduct detailed assessments to understand individual needs and recommend appropriate support options.
  • Personalised Support Plans: Our team works closely with participants to develop tailored support plans that align with their goals and preferences.
  • Ongoing Support: We provide continuous support and reassessment to ensure that the chosen support remains effective and appropriate over time.
  • SDA Properties & SIL Accommodation: We have a number of properties with vacancies available right now.

Choosing the right type of support is crucial for the well-being and independence of individuals with disabilities. By understanding the differences between SIL and SDA, NDIS participants and support workers can make informed decisions that best meet their needs.

Explore Our SDA and SIL Services

For more information about our SDA and SIL services, including a list of available properties, visit our SDA and SIL Services page. This page details the types of support we offer and highlights our specially designed properties. 

These accommodations ensure individuals with disabilities can find the right living arrangements to enhance their independence and quality of life. Our comprehensive services are tailored to meet the diverse needs of our clients, providing both flexibility and specialised care.


Navigating the NDIS and choosing the right support can be challenging, but understanding the fundamental differences between Supported Independent Living (SIL) and Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) is a crucial step. SIL focuses on providing daily living support to foster independence, while SDA offers specialised housing for those with high support needs. By considering individual needs, preferences, and goals, NDIS participants and support workers can make informed decisions that enhance quality of life and independence.

For more information and personalised assistance, visit Harmilla and let our team help you find the support that’s right for you.

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