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Supported Independent Living: Everything You Need To Know

Many people with disabilities or mental illnesses are not able to live by themselves or with their family, this is where Supported Independent Living comes in. Here, we’re going to break down everything you need to know about Supported Independent Living, and if it is suitable for you or your loved one.

What Is Supported Independent Living?

Supported Independent Living is one type of NDIS funding that supports people with disabilities. It is a type of support offered to those who are deemed eligible, including those that have physical or mental illnesses. Supported Independent Living is NDIS support where someone with a disability lives with others. As many people with disabilities are not able to live by themselves and require support to live their daily lives, Supported Independent Living is a way to receive 24/7 support while living in a shared home environment.

What’s the Difference Between Supported Independent Living (SIL) and Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)?

It is important to note that they both sound very similar, but there are some very important differences. Supported Independent Living is the funding for support services. The specialist disability accommodation is the accommodation where the services are delivered. An SDA provider looks after the home, much like a landlord would look after a property. SDA is used when an individual has very high needs. SDA is used to make sure that people don’t pay more for their homes due to their disability. Supported Independent Living (SIL) providers manage the support of the individuals by themselves. A Supported Independent Living provider supplies the care staff to support the people that live in the home.

What Kind of Support Is Offered in Supported Independent Living?

If an individual has Supported Independent Living in their NDIS plan, this entitles them to 24/7 support for the following areas:

  • Financial matters, including managing money and budgeting.
  • Helping individuals with disabilities to improve their interaction and socialising skills.
  • Providing personal and hygienic care, for example showering and dressing.
  • Domestic duties, such as assistance with cleaning and cooking. 
  • Support with travelling, and attending appointments. 
  • Ongoing assistance with daily life skills.

Every individual with a physical or mental disability has their own needs. There are different levels of support depending on the requirements of the individual, and are broken down into three different levels of support:

Lower Needs

These are classed as levels of support that are not accessible 24/7. This will include the supervision of the living arrangements.

Standard Needs

This is where 24/7 support is provided, and assistance and supervision of daily tasks are provided to the individuals so they can live comfortably and complete their tasks without any stress.

Higher Needs

This is where 24/7 support is provided on a more active basis, including overnight support and managing behaviours that may be considered challenging or require extra assistance.

Additionally, a Supported Independent Living provider also manages the staff that work in the property, and deals with any HR components, such as complaints about the support providers, and also stringently screens support workers for the property.

What Does Supported Independent Living Not Cover?

As a rule, it does not cover the following:

  • Rent, board, and lodging.
  • The cost of transport.
  • Household budgeting, such as personal activities.
  • Expenses related to holidays.
  • Personal care supports if the individual is hospitalised.
  • Items covered in other sections of the NDIS price guide.

How Does Supported Independent Living Funding Work?

In comparison to most NDIS funding, Supported Independent Living funding works as per the following criteria:

  • You get funding for Supported Independent Living in your plan, but, unlike the NDIS plan (where the dollar amounts are assigned exactly to various categories), SIL plans do not have an exact dollar amount. 
  • You work with a Support Coordinator who determines the level of support and works with the individual to find a suitable property.
  • The Supported Independent Living provider then provides quotes for the property which will identify what a typical week looks like for the individual.

The levels of funding are broken down into three categories depending on the level of support required as per the lower, standard, and higher needs listed above. The three levels of SIL funding are as follows:

Lower Need

The funding provided supervision of living arrangements, but not on a 24/7 basis.

Standard Need

This provides 24/7 support, also including supervision and/or active assistance of daily tasks and overnight duties, such as sleepovers.

Complex Need

This funding provides frequent assistance to the individual, while also managing challenging behaviours, continual active assistance with every daily task, as well as management of medical needs and overnight support.

How Do I Get Supported Independent Living Funding?

Like all of the other support systems provided by the NDIS, an individual needs to be eligible for the support. When the participants go for their planning meeting to get the Supported Independent Living funding, they will be asked certain questions by the NDIS to understand if they are eligible for the support. 

The NDIS system relies on advice from Allied Health professionals to determine if somebody is eligible for Supported Independent Living funding. When applying for funding with the NDIS, it is crucial to ascertain if Supported Independent Living funding is classed as reasonable and necessary by the NDIS planner. It’s important to explain to the planner why it is essential in the circumstances. You can further bolster your case by having a level of evidence as support for your case. The more you prepare, the higher the chances of receiving a funding package close to your needs. 

As the NDIS planner does not know the individual looking for funding, it is crucial to be clear in what you need. Explaining the support that the individual receives now and why further support is needed is important, while also planning the goals for the future and what support can help you achieve them.

What Are the Benefits of Supported Independent Living for People With a Disability?

Supported Independent Living funding is a way for people with a disability to have what is rightfully theirs: more choice and control in their lives. If an individual’s aim is to live independently, Supported Independent Living is a very useful way to bridge them between ongoing 24/7 care and an independent life. The Supported Independent Living setup means that the individual shares a home with other people, which means they will have a responsibility for their funding and have to pay rent and spend the funding on things to help them live their daily life. This is where a support worker can help the individual with a disability to make more informed choices so they can live the life that they deserve. 

How Do I Find a Supported Independent Living Home?

If you are somebody you are caring for has stated that they would like to live independently, this has to be raised in the NDIS planning meetings. Once a plan has been approved with Supported Independent Living in the package, you or the Support Coordinator can contact support service providers to find any Supported Independent Living vacancies in your local area. It is something that may depend on a variety of situations, and the individual applying for Supported Independent Living may need to work towards this goal by fulfilling a certain set of criteria.

Can You Use Your Supported Independent Living Funding in Your Own Home or Rental Property?

Yes, it is possible to use your Supported Independent Living funding in a variety of places, including:

  • Shared or group accommodation.
  • Private rental.
  • Special disability accommodation. 
  • The house you own. 
  • Housing provided by the department of housing or similar services.

Who Can Help Me With Supported Independent Living?

To make sure you get Supported Independent Living, the most important thing to do is to approach a Support Coordinator. A Support Coordinator is paid by the NDIS to help individuals with mental or physical disabilities navigate the Supported Independent Living process. They work with you to get the best support for your needs. They work with Allied Health and service providers to ensure that every need is met.

Supported Independent Living is an approach to ensure that the individual has more choice and control in their life. Everybody deserves a chance at living their best life, and Supported Independent Living is the perfect way to bridge the gap between 24/7 care and living and independent existence. 

If living independently is one of your goals, it can provide a significant number of benefits. If you are looking after someone, and you feel they are ready to take the next step to independence, Supported Independent Living is an ideal way to give you peace of mind. You want to know that the person you care about is being looked after. But also, you want to give them the tools to make sure they know how to start living a life that they have complete control over. This is why Supported Independent Living could be the key to helping so many Australians with physical or mental disabilities live a fuller and independent life.

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