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Supported Independent Living: your questions answered

Supported Independent Living: your questions answered

Under the NDIS, Supported Independent Living (SIL) is a type of support that helps you enjoy independence in daily life, while giving you the opportunity to learn new skills.

Designed for people with disability who have high support needs, it provides you with supervision and assistance throughout the day. This could include things like having someone help you with personal care tasks, getting support with cooking your own meals, learning independent living skills, or taking part in community activities during the week.

Whether you’re just starting to explore the NDIS or have been approved for SIL funding, you may be wondering what SIL is and how it works. To help you understand the basics, we answer some of the common questions people have about Supported Independent Living.

Want to speak to one of Home Caring’s disability care experts about Supported Independent Living? We’re happy to chat. Here’s how to get in touch.

How do I qualify for Supported Independent Living?
Who provides me with Supported Independent Living?
What is a Roster of Care?
What is a Support Coordinator?
What is a Service Agreement?
What do I do if something goes wrong with my SIL supports?
Are there other options if I’m not eligible for SIL?
What is the difference between Supported Independent Living (SIL) and Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)?

How do I qualify Supported Independent Living?

Once you are eligible for the NDIS, your NDIS planner or Local Area Coordinator will get in touch to arrange your first planning meeting. During this time, they’ll work with you to create some goals, and identify the best home and living supports that will help you achieve them.

During this meeting, you may also discuss whether SIL suits your needs. If you wish to apply for SIL, your planner will assess whether it is a reasonable and necessary support for your circumstances. They’ll take different things into account, such as your age (SIL is for NDIS participants over 18 years old), individual goals, capacity building needs, independent living skills, whether you need person-to-person support, and any reports or assessments from your health professionals and other providers.

Who provides me with Supported Independent Living?

NDIS participants receive SIL from a registered SIL provider, who supplies professional support workers that help people to live independently at home.

In Australia, there are many SIL providers who are able to provide you with support. It’s worth taking the time to do your research and choose the provider who will best help you reach your goals. Some things to consider are:

  • Does the provider offer the kind of supports that you need?
  • Are they focussed on empowering you to be independent, rather than simply stepping in for you?
  • Do they listen well? Do they have a good understand of your goals?
  • Do you feel comfortable with the team? Are you able to get along with them?
  • Are they able to connect you with activities and programs in your local area?
  • Do they treat you with respect, and promote good self-esteem?
  • Are they qualified and experienced? Do they work to a high standard?
  • Do they have a good understanding of your disability and the kind of support you need?
  • Can they help you socially engage with the community and foster friendships?

What is a Roster of Care?

A Roster of Care is an outline of everyone’s support needs in a house each week. It is essentially a spreadsheet that divides a 24-hour day into 30-minute sections. If you have housemates in a shared living environment, it shows how you will share supports during the week as a worker to housemate ratio (for example, one support worker could be providing services to two participants). This document helps the NDIS work out how much funding you will need for your SIL support.

When you choose a provider, they’ll work with you to make a Roster of Care based on what you need. Keep in mind that SIL providers must share the Roster of Care with you as a client, and seek your approval before submitting the roster for NDIS funding.

What is a Support Coordinator?

Navigating SIL – and NDIS funding in general – can be an overwhelming process. A Support Coordinator makes it easier for you by helping you understand your individual plan, and assisting you with implementing it. This means you get the right support to achieve your goals.

A NDIS Support Coordinator can help you:

  • Understand SIL and make informed decisions
  • Coordinate a range of support services that meet your goals, while also empowering you to exercise choice and control over your support
  • Source quotes and service agreements from provider
  • Monitor and review individual budgets, service agreements, and how you’re progressing towards your goals
  • Learn how to access and use the NDIS online portal, so you have direct access to your funding
  • Prepare for NDIS meetings
  • Include family members and loved ones in the coordination of your support, if desired
  • Connect you with other community services in your area

A Support Coordinator is different from a case manager they provide a funded service to NDIS participants. If you are eligible for SIL, you may also receive funding for a Support Coordinator to help you implement your plan.

Like with other NDIS supports, you can choose who you would like to work with as your Support Coordinator (and they do not have to be the same provider as your SIL provider). Take the time to choose someone who is right for you. A Support Coordinator who listens, understands your needs and goals, empowers you to be in charge of your care, and has your best interests at heart will help you get the most out of your plan.

What is a Service Agreement?

A Service Agreement is a contract between you and your SIL provider. Covered by Australian Consumer Law, it clearly states what you have both agreed to, and includes what supports are being provided, the costs involved, your provider’s responsibilities, your rights and responsibilities, and how long the agreements last before it can be altered.

You don’t have to create a service agreement with your SIL provider, but it is recommended so that both parties are clear about what supports are being provided, what they look like, and how much they cost. Someone else, such as a family member or loved one, can help you create a service agreement with your provider, and help you understand it.

What do I do if something goes wrong with my SIL supports?

It’s okay to speak up. A good SIL provider should have open channels of communication with you. Before you agree to their services, check that they have appropriate ways for you to give feedback, ask for change, and review how things are going.

As you receive supports, talk to your provider about what is working for you, and what might need. If you are unhappy with something, let them know your concerns. You can also get in touch with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission on 1800 035 544 if you ever feel unsafe or unhappy with your NDIS supports or services, and make a report if you need to.

Are there other options if I’m not eligible for SIL?

If you are not eligible for SIL funding, there are other NDIS supports that can help you live more independently at home. This could include:

  • Home modifications and assistive technology – changes to your home that help you live safely and independently, such as installing safety rails and ramps, changing the bench height in your kitchen, or making your bathroom more accessible. You could also access assistive technology that helps you get out and about.
  • Personal care support – frequent assistance with daily living tasks such as showering, getting dressed and grooming
  • Assistance with household tasks – help with domestic chores such as doing the laundry, cleaning, cooking meals and grocery shopping.

Your NDIS Support Coordinator or Local Area Coordinator will discuss with you what supports are available and best suited to your needs.

What is the difference between Supported Independent Living (SIL) and Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)? 

As you start out on your NDIS participant journey, you may wonder how Supported Independent Living and Specialist Disability Accommodation differ. While both are related to disability accommodation, they are different types of services.

Specialist Disability Accommodation is a house for people with extreme functional impairment or very high support. It can include shared supported accommodation, community residential units, or self-contained homes that are fitted with specialist housing solutions.

Supported Independent Living refers to the on-site support services you receive to help you with daily living tasks. If you require both an SDA house to live in and SIL because of your disability, the NDIS will fund them separately. This is to give you more choice and control, as you can choose to live in an accommodation that you like, and access another SIL provider that suits your needs.

Home Caring provides person-centred SIL services to the highest standards. Our person-to-person support and daily living assistance helps clients enjoy an independent life, reach their goals, and thrive doing what they love. For more information, please get in touch.

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