There are many options for people with disability to be supported in different ways in their homes through National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funding.
Individualised Living Options funding can support people with disability to live independently
The funding can be provided in a range of living situations including host living, with housemates or co-residents and with mentors
It takes into account formal and informal supports you may need, where and how you want to live
With so many options out there it can be hard to work out what supports you actually need, so we’ve put together some information about how you might be able to use an Individualised Living Options package (ILO) for flexible home supports.
What is Individualised Living Options support?
ILO supports help you to live alone or independently in someone else’s house but don’t include the house itself, which makes them different from Specialist Disability Accommodation as that funding is focused on the housing.
You can have an ILO package while living in Specialist Disability Accommodation.
ILO can also be designed to teach you the skills to look after yourself so you can live as independently as possible, if that’s what you need.
There are two stages to the funding, which works as part of your NDIS plan.
The first part is funding for support to find out how you want to live, where you want to live, who you want to live with, your strengths, what you can do to build your skills and the kinds of services you need, similar to Support Coordination.
When this first stage is finished, the person who is helping you to design your supports will create a Service Proposal with all the details the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) needs to know about how you want to live.
The second part of the ILO is having your funding approved by the NDIA to get those services working and monitor how well they are going so they can be adjusted when necessary
What is included in ILO?
A wide range of supports are available under ILO as the funding is designed to match the needs of each individual so that they can live the way they want.
In home supports, such as help with personal care, cooking, cleaning, shopping, laundry, finances or emotional support, can be included, but there are also several different types of households in which people with an ILO package can live.
A host living arrangement, for example, is available for adults on the NDIS who choose to live with a person or family they are not related to (a host) who gives them disability support, emotional support and help around the house.
The host is paid through your NDIS plan and there is an arrangement about what kinds of support they will provide.
In exchange for their support, the host will receive financial help with paying rent and utility bills.
Another option is for housemates or co-residents to live in your home and under an agreement to provide support and companionship in return for a reduced rent or payment.
Supports can also include another person or a team of people, known as mentors, who you choose to spend time with to develop social skills and participate in recreational or community activities.
Mentors are usually paid a salary as they can spend long periods of time providing you with direct and indirect support.
Additionally, friends and family can be part of ILO, for example, by providing emotional support or helping with social connection.
Formal versus informal supports
Supports can come from a range of different sources and can be formal or informal.
Formal supports are provided by businesses, organisations or providers like those that provide in home support or mentors for recreational activities.
Informal supports are those given by friends and family and can be just as important to you being able to live independently.
Both kinds of support are considered in ILO funding, although your informal supports from family and friends are not paid supports.
What are the benefits of an ILO?
These supports can be particularly helpful if you want to move out of your family home or group home.
The package can be changed as your needs change and is more flexible than Supported Independent Living – which is funding most commonly used to live in shared housing – so ILO can meet a wider variety of individuals’ needs.
ILO and SIL can’t be funded at the same time but they can both provide some similar supports, like personal care and support to develop life skills.
According to the NDIA, ILO is for people with disability over the age of 18 who need more than six hours of help at home every day (including for problem-solving or decision-making), are ready to explore their home and living needs, and are willing to put time and effort into designing their future home.
The first part of ILO funding, to explore living support options, can also be used by people with disability who are still 17 and want to start planning to move out of home as one of their NDIS goals.
One of the benefits of ILO is its ability to take into account how you might like your family and friends to be part of your support and work with funded services so that all the different supports flow together.
ILO is also a good option for people who do not want to be restricted to living in areas where group homes are located as you can use the package to live anywhere.
The flexibility of funding means ILO may be the best way to meet your needs and management of the funding is also flexible as you can self-manage, get help to run it from a plan manager, or it can be managed by a provider.
How to get an ILO package
You can get help from lots of places to look into an ILO package, including your local area coordinator, someone you know who has been through a similar process or a family member.
If one of your NDIS goals is linked to living support that you are not getting in other ways, you can fill out a Home and Living Supports Request Form, available on the NDIS website, to start the process of finding out if ILO is the best option for you.
The form is a way for you to provide information to the NDIA about what your situation is, your strengths, obstacles, and ongoing needs.
Once you have provided that information, the NDIA will look at funding the first stage of the ILO so you can work with your local area coordinator or plan manager on exploring and designing your supports, then complete the Services Proposal to ask for the second stage of funding for those supports.
There are some extra accommodation and living supports for people with disability that are not NDIS funded.
If you are finding it hard to pay your rent, the Australian Government provides Commonwealth Rent Assistance.
State and Territory Governments have social and community housing for people who can’t afford a home and they also fund homelessness services, which are not covered under the NDIS.
Do you use supports under an Individualised Living Options package? Tell us in the comments below.