What if I Have a Disability?

Disability options

The Department of Communities offers a range of housing options to help people with disabilities access appropriate and affordable housing. This includes people with intellectual, physical, sensory or psychiatric impairment.
To be eligible for assistance, your disability must be permanent or likely to be permanent, and impact on your housing requirements (i.e. building design, proximity to services and/or support needs).
You must also meet the income limits for people with disabilities, which are higher than other customers recognising the additional costs faced by people with disabilities.
Options include:
  • Mainstream rental housing
  • Home modifications to make housing more accessible
  • Purpose-built rental accommodation
  • Home loans to purchase, build or modify private homes
  • Community housing, where the Department provides housing to non-profit organisations which manage the accommodation for clients with disabilities
  • Bond assistance.

Home modifications

The Department will provide appropriate housing to meet your disability needs. This may include modifying existing Department rental homes to allow access by the person with a disability. Applicants will need to provide an occupational therapist assessment report or if you do not have an occupational therapist, the Department will arrange for one to visit and assess your disability housing need.
Department tenants with a disability can apply to have home modifications through their Customer Services Officer to improve access around their home. This may include installing ramps, grab rails and/or bathroom renovations. The Customer Services Officer will discuss the modifications with you or and arrange for an occupational therapist to visit your home to determine what modifications are needed.
In some instances, it may not be possible or practical to modify your existing Department rental home to meet your disability needs. If this occurs, the Department will look at other options such as a transfer to a more accessible or appropriately located home, or if necessary, build a purpose-built home to meet your disability needs.

Purpose-built homes

Purpose-built accommodation is primarily constructed for those with physical disabilities, these are referred to as mobility homes, however the Department also purpose builds for people with other types of disabilities. The Department may build group homes or cluster unit developments to meet a person's disability and social needs.
The Department manages a number of programs and a purpose-built home can be constructed within any of these. For example group homes and cluster strata titled units are provided through the Community Disability Housing Program.
Each Housing Office will have a coordinator of the priority list for people with disabilities. This is usually the Manager Client Services or the Area Manager in the metropolitan area and the Manager Housing Services in the country. They are responsible for deciding what type of accommodation is allocated to an applicant with a disability.
The Department will firstly consider offering existing housing stock with or without modifications, if this meets the disability requirements of the applicants.
Purpose-built mobility homes are provided to those applicants and/or tenants for whom the Department is unable to accommodate in existing stock with or without modifications.
Some of the design features include level thresholds, wider doorways and passages to allow for wheelchair access, low kitchen bench-tops, large rocker switches and power points set at appropriate heights and accessible bathroom design. In some cases you may be able to view a mobility purpose-built home, subject to availability.
If you wish to discuss what type of housing would best suit your needs please contact your nearest Housing Office​.

Access Home Loan Scheme

The Access Home Loan Scheme is designed to help people with disability buy their own home or modify an existing private home to cater for their needs.
People on disability support benefits and their carers in receipt of a pension can apply for this loan.

For more information, visit the Keystart website​.


Additional resources

The Department provides additional resources to tenants with disabilities including:
  • Occupational Therapist Service — The Department contracts an occupational therapy service to ensure that the needs of people with disability are properly assessed in regards to their housing and that appropriate allocations are made.
  • Design Consultancy Service — The Department contracts a number of architects to design appropriate housing for people with disabilities. Accommodation can then be modified or purpose built.