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What Are The Independent Living Options Available Through The NDIS?

17 April, 2024

If you're confused about the types of funding available to support people with disabilities to live independently through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), don't worry, you're not alone!

Although the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) makes every effort to make it as simple as possible to understand how NDIS funding works, it can still be very confusing. Nowhere is this more true than in relation to the funding types that the NDIA offers to help people live independently in the home they wish to live in.

NDIS funding to help you live by yourself, can be in the form of Supported Independent Living (SIL), or Individualised Living Options (ILO). However, understanding the difference between these funding types and what they may mean for you, is no easy task!

That's why we've decided to use this blog to try and explain the differences between these two types of funding and to try and address the confusion that many NDIS participants have about this topic.

Two elderly women laughing and dining together, representing companionship and the joy of shared independent living under NDIS.

Individualised Living Options vs Independent Living Options - NDIS

One of the major issues you might be having if you're trying to get your head around this topic is the language that's used. Often, ILOs get confused with SILs and are called 'Independent Living Options.'

This confusion isn't surprising given that a major focus of the NDIS is to help participants live independently. In this sense, all of the funding options provided by the NDIS could be described as 'independent living options.'

However, the problem with this term, is that it confuses the two different types of funding the NDIS provides. Mixing up these labels can unfortunately have the effect of confusing the situation even more!

As a result, we advise you to use the terms adopted by the NDIS if you can, when communicating with the NDIA. Hopefully, this will make your interactions with the NDIA about independent living as smooth and as hassle-free as possible!

Individualised Living Option Supports vs Supported Independent Living

The NDIS offers two distinct types of funding to support independent living for individuals with disabilities, ILOs and SILs.

Although they both aim to promote independence, they cater to different needs and preferences of a person.

It's also essential to understand that not every NDIS participant will require or want an ILO or an SIL. Under a regular NDIS plan you can still receive support for things like personal care to help you live independently in your own home. ILOs and SILs are for those with specific requirements related to living independently.

Participants who already have established living arrangements where they are comfortable and supported, either with family or independently, may not need ILOs or SILs. Instead, they may require other types of support, for things like education, employment, social participation or to assist with general well-being.

A young man with Down syndrome carefully tending to indoor plants, illustrating the empowerment and daily life skills development supported by NDIS independent living options.

Individualised Living Options (ILO)

An Individualised Living Option (ILO) is a form of support provided by the NDIS, designed to give you the choice to select your living environment and arrange the necessary supports the way you want them. It can include a wide range of supports aimed at allowing you to live the way you want, in the home environment of your choosing. It can include personal care and social support. The big advantage of ILOs is their flexibility when developing support arrangements to suit your life.

An ILO arrangement is usually suitable for people who are over 18 and need at least six hours of support a day. If you need 24-hour support, a SIL arrangement may be more appropriate, however. An ILO arrangement is suitable for people who already have some informal supports in place and want to continue to work with these.

ILO Supports

ILO supports are designed to be flexible and to suit your needs. They focus on exploration and design flexibility. They're also designed to work with any informal support you may receive from your friends and family. ILOs usually have support workers who drop in to provide support rather than being on-site full-time.

It's also important to realise that an ILO isn't funding to pay your rent or mortgage, it's funding to assist you to live independently wherever you choose to call home.

ILO funding arrangements are often organised by an ILO provider who works with you, using a support coordinator, to develop a service proposal.

Unlike a regular NDIS plan, if you receive an ILO, your plan will not have a fixed dollar amount. Instead you will work the service proposal out with your service provider. They will try to work with each person's vision in a way that best suits them. If things aren't right, they can do more exploration and design.

A conversation between two senior ladies, one in a wheelchair, showcasing the supportive community aspect of independent living arrangements facilitated by the NDIS.

Supported Independent Living (SIL)

On the other hand, Supported Independent Living supports are more focused on individuals with higher support needs. In addition, it is often used for individuals who live in a share house with other NDIS participants. Supported Independent Living usually involves more structured support, often including 24/7 assistance.

Like ILO, Supported Independent Living provides help with daily tasks like personal care and social support and aims to help participants live as independently as possible while building their skills.

SIL Supports

Supported Independent Living supports often include daily living assistance and 24-hour home and living supports. Like an ILO, Supported Independent Living funding is not funding to help you pay our rent, instead it's funding to help you live in your shared living arrangement with other NDIS participants.

Supported Independent Living supports are often organised by a Supported Independent Living service provider. Unlike a regular NDIS plan, your SIL provider will help to determine the level of support you need and how much this will cost. They may then be involved in calculating the total cost for your whole share house.

SIL support is not flexible. If you want to change your home and living supports, you may need a plan reassessment, to move to a different home, or to live with different housemates. Your SIL provider plays a critical role in the process of determining your living situation.

How Focus Care Can Help

Focus Care is an NDIS registered provider, delivering high-quality services tailored to your needs, including services for complex and high needs and those with multiple disabilities. It provides support services in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. If you would like further information, or to speak to us about your support needs, please contact us today.

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