Special Disability Trusts (SDTs) are one mechanism through which families can unlock equity and make it possible for their family members with a disability to get their own home. Generous tax concessions are available to both the contributor and the beneficiary of an SDT, which are set up to pay for the reasonable care, accommodation and other needs of the beneficiary during their lifetime. However, eligibility is highly restrictive, the processes of establishing and maintaining an SDT are highly complex, and uptake of SDTs amongst Australian families remains very limited. 

This project aimed to: 

  • identify the barriers that families face in establishing and maintaining Special Disability Trusts 
  • identify what factors enable families to establish and maintain an SDT  
  • recommend legislative and policy changes that will reduce complexity and promote uptake of SDTs 
  • identify strategies to increase awareness of SDTs and assist people with disability and family members to negotiate the legal requirements of establishing an SDT.
Research Centre

Social Policy Research Centre

Research Area


  • Laura Davy, UNSW Canberra
  • Julian Laurens, UNSW Law
  • Ilan Wiesel, The University of Melbourne

Related people

Project Manager (Research) Shona Bates
Project Manager (Research)