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Supported Independent Living (SIL): How to get moving when you're ready to move out!

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Supported Independent Living (SIL): How to get moving when you're ready to move out!

Do you want to be more independent? Are you ready to move out of home?  

You might be thinking about living in a home of your own, or renting with someone else who has a disability, or moving into shared supported accommodation, or living in Specialist Disability Accommodation.

Whatever your choice, you’re going to need in-home support so you can live independently in your new home. That’s where Supported Independent Living (SIL) comes in. 

SIL is not the place where you live. It's the people who support you in that place.

What is SIL?

SIL is the 24/7 personal support you receive in your home from a disability services organisation. SIL support is usually provided in shared living situations, and it is designed for people who need quite a bit of one-to-one support to live independently. 

SIL support workers assist people with personal care, cooking meals, doing laundry, going to appointments, and accessing activities in the community. They provide social support, and help people build their skills in everyday living, so they can be more independent. SIL support workers are able to stay overnight. Their task is to make sure you are safe and secure, and living a good life in your home and community.

Who is eligible for SIL funding?

Most people who receive SIL funding

  • live in a shared living or supported accommodation setting (commonly known as a group home),  or
  • have Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) funding

In the past couple of years, SIL funding has been available more widely to people in different kinds of settings, such as NDIS participants who are living in their own home or sharing, and need a high level of one-to-one support.

You can read about the different ways people have used their SIL funding in the NDIS Supported Independent Living Information Pack.

SIL is not the only way of getting in-home support. Many people don't need this level of help, and they use the Core funding in their plan to purchase ‘Assistance with daily living’ supports when they need them. Or they may receive support in other ways, such as through an ILO.  .

How do you apply for SIL?

1 Set your housing goal

When you’ve decided to move out of home or change your living situation, you need to let the NDIS know. You do this by putting a new goal into your next NDIS plan.                  

Example goal: ‘I want to explore suitable housing options so I can live independently in the community'.

With this goal in your plan, you will be able to get some extra funding to help with your search.

Hint for family members and carers: Provide a Carer Statement to submit with your participants’ plan. Describe how caring for your family member impacts you, in terms of your health and well-being, and your capacity to participate in social and economic life. This is important because your NDIS participant is part of a family group that must be sustainable into the future. If you are tired and stressed, both you and your family member will be better off if they are living in a more independent setting.

With your family member living away from home, you will still be able to provide them with love and support when needed, but your relationship will be more like that of mother/father/sibling instead of a full-time carer.

2 Find a Support Coordinator to assist you with your application

When you receive your new plan, you will see that you have been given some funding for investigating housing solutions. With this funding, you can get a Support Coordinator to help you explore your housing options. 

You will also receive funding for the allied health assessments that are a big part of your application. The NDIS uses these reports from an occupational therapist and other clinicians to decide on the kind of in-home supports that will right for you. Your Support Coordinator will help you organise these assessments. You may find these assessments long and annoying, but you need to go through this process to get what you want!

3 Check out housing options and SIL providers 

Look around at what types of housing and in-home supports are available in your preferred area/s. Are you after a private rental, or is shared supported accommodation right for you? You could start by checking the Housing Hub, a website that connects people with disabilities with a broad range of housing options.

When you've decided on the type of housing that suits you, you can start looking at the SIL providers that support this type of housing. Things work a bit differently for different kinds housing.

For example, if you decide on shared supported accommodation (a group home), you need to go with the SIL provider that operates that residence. 

If you are moving into Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA), you'll find there are a couple of different ways in-home supports are delivered. Your SDA provider might have agreement with a particular disability organisation to provide SIL; your SDA provider might also provide SIL (this has to be through a different part of that organisation); or you may be free to choose a SIL provider yourself. 

If you are planning live in your own home or rent privately, you can choose from a range of SIL providers in the area.

If you live in a regional or remote area, unfortunately your choice of housing options and SIL providers will be more limited, because there are fewer providers in areas of where less people live.

It's very important for you to do some research into the SIL providers in your area. This will be one of the most important decisions you make!

Meet with SIL providers and ask lots of questions. Visit the residences they provide support in. Talk to the people who live there and their family members, too, if possible. What is the atmosphere like in the house? Do people seem happy? Are staff actively engaged with residents? Is the property clean and well-cared for? 

Make sure you talk to several different SIL providers, even if you like the first place you see! Then you can compare them, and figure out what is right for you.

Use the 'Is this the right home for me? SIL Checklist' in these resources to rate the SIL providers you meet with. Not all providers give same quality of service, and you need to feel you've made the right choice for your future.


4 Get the paperwork done

When you've looked at the options, and you've made up your mnd, your Support Coordinator will connect you up with that SIL provider. Then you, along with your family members or other important people in your life, will meet with the SIL provider and talk about the supports you require during the week, on weekends and overnight. The SIL provider will put together a list of supports, called a Roster of Care. The SIL provider will prepare a quote for the NDIS based on this information.

Make sure the SIL provider also tells you how you will pay for rent and board (your meals, groceries and other expenses). Find out how they will help you settle in, and how long this will take.

Your Support Coordinator will put together all the paperwork for your application, and submit a Change of Circumstances form to the NDIS so your plan can be reviewed.

The NDIS will assess your application to make sure the supports you are requesting are reasonable and necessary. During this time, the NDIS will talk with the SIL provider about the supports you need. It might take a little while until the NDIS gets back to you with their decision.

Good luck! We wish you well as you prepare to move into your new home!

Just in case your application is not successful, you can apply for a review.  If you go ahead with this, you will need to put together more information to make a stronger case for you to get SIL funding. Your Support Coordinator can help you with this.


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