Do you have a disability? You aren’t alone. The CDC estimates that 61 million Americans live with a disability.
Living with a disability can often create challenges in your everyday life. If that’s the case for you, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) now offers funding for dedicated Supported Independent Living (SIL) providers. An SIL provider will work with you to deliver services and support that allow you to live in your own home and manage your everyday life. Ultimately, that allows you to pursue your goals, become independent and reach your full potential.
What Is Supported Independent Living?
Supported Independent Living (SIL) is a type of NDIs funding that’s available to people living with disabilities that affect their everyday lives. This can be especially true for the one-third of woman dealing with disabilities.
If you struggle with common activities like cooking, cleaning or taking care of yourself, you may be eligible for SIL. SIL is specifically aimed at people with 24/7 care needs, which may include overnight support and supervision. The supports funded by SIL are intended to be delivered in your own home by experienced staff. To make sure SIL is available to as many people as possible, the NDIS provides SIL if you’re living alone, with family or with other NDIS customers. This is something that you can consider when getting SSDI benefits.
It’s important to note that SIL is only available to people with significant, ongoing needs. For example, if you only need help with personal grooming in the mornings, your impairment wouldn’t be considered “significant” and you wouldn’t meet the eligibility criteria.
How Can SIL Funding Be Used?
SIL funds a range of services and support workers that will help you with everyday living activities. These supports are designed to help you build your capacity, live independently and meet the goals you set in your NDIS application. Because SIL can be used for such a wide range of supports, the actual services you can access will depend on your circumstances, impairment and goals. For instance, if your goal is to build your capacity, SIL may be used to fund support workers who can provide supervision for household chores and personal care tasks. Talk to your NDIS assessor or Support Coordinator if you’d like to know more about designing an SIL package that will help you meet your goals.
In general though, SIL funding can be used for around-the-house supports, including:
- Help with personal care and grooming such as showering and getting dressed
- Help around the home with cooking, cleaning and other capacity building tasks
- Help with accessing the community, catching public transport or attending appointments
- Overnight supervision
SIL often goes hand in hand with other types of NDIS funding. Depending on your needs, the NDIS may approve additional items such as home modifications or Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) that improve the delivery of your SIL supports.
How to Access SIL Funding
Like other parts of the NDIS, SIL funding is assessed based on your needs and not your diagnosis. That means your NDIS assessor will look at your circumstances, lifestyle, goals and impairment to help figure out which SIL supports are right for you.
Because the 24/7 support provided by SIL makes up such a large portion of your NDIS plan, it’s assessed a little differently to other parts of the NDIS. If you and your NDIS assessor decide that SIL is the right choice for you then you’ll be required to undergo additional assessments to gauge your impairment. Funding for these assessments will be provided as part of your NDIS package. During these assessments, an Occupational Therapist will work with you to determine your needs and the supports that will help you reach your goals.
The outcome of your assessment will then be used by your SIL provider to develop a Roster of Care. Your Roster of Care outlines your needs (and the needs of other NDIS customers living in the house) and when, where and how your supports will be delivered. While this arrangement is common, it’s up to you whether you want to share your supports with your roommates.
Can I Access Both SIL and SDA funding?
Supported Independent Living (SIL) and Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) are two very different parts of the NDIS. To keep it simple we can say that SIL is used to fund supports and staff that will help you with everyday activities around the home. On the other hand, SDA is used to fund the house itself, similar to rent support. SDA is only offered to NDIS recipients with extremely high needs, but it’s possible to be eligible for both SIL and SDA at once. If you need 24/7 help as well as modified housing, your SIL and SDA funding will be recorded and used separately under your NDIS plan.