What is Supported Independent Living (SIL)? Your questions answered

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Do you enjoy living independently but also require some extra support to meet your daily needs? If so, Supported Independent Living (SIL) may suit you.

Key points: 

  • SIL supports help you with daily tasks so you can live as independently as possible
  • SIL covers supports you receive in your home – it does not pay for rent, home modifications or day-to-day living expenses like food
  • Support Coordination in your NDIS plan is strongly recommended if you want to access SIL funding

If one of your goals is to move out of home and increase your independence while living with housemates or by yourself, SIL supports can help you get there.

There is a lot to understand about SIL, and accessing funding can be a long process. Below you will find answers to common SIL questions to help you understand if SIL is right for you.

What is Supported Independent Living (SIL?)

SIL is one type of support that helps you with daily tasks to help you live as independently as possible, while also building your skills.

SIL is a package of paid supports that includes assistance with daily household or personal tasks such as cleaning, cooking, showering or support to go shopping.

According to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), SIL is best suited for participants who are over 18 years old and have high support needs that require a significant amount of assistance throughout the day.

SIL is commonly provided in a shared living environment. The support is provided to each person living in the accommodation to suit their individual needs. Most NDIS participants who get SIL funding live with housemates who also have SIL funding.

You may also be eligible for SIL supports if you live in:

If you live on your own, there might be other Personal Care Supports that suit you better.

What support does SIL provide?

There are three levels of supported accommodation, depending on your needs and the number of people in the supported living setting:

  • Lower needs – supervision of living arrangements and support is not usually provided 24/7
  • Standard needs – 24/7 support including assistance and/or supervision of most daily tasks and overnight sleepovers
  • Higher needs – frequent assistance to the individual with managing challenging behaviours, continual assistance with all daily tasks, management of complex medical needs such as ventilation and active support 24/7 including overnight support

Through SIL, you have access to trained staff who can visit throughout the day or stay overnight.

Examples of SIL support include:

  • Help to manage money and household budgeting
  • Assistance with cooking and meal preparation
  • Assistance with cleaning and laundry
  • Assistance with gardening
  • Help to catch public transport to visit friends and family
  • Personal care such as showering and dressing
  • Support with grocery shopping
  • Assistance with daily skills training
  • Planning and travelling to social activities
  • Organising household activities

What are the benefits of SIL?

There are many benefits to receiving SIL, whether you live in shared accommodation with other NDIS participants or on your own.

You are surrounded by support workers who know and understand your needs, as well as neighbours or housemates in similar situations.

Other benefits of SIL include:

  • A sense of freedom and independence
  • More choice and control over your daily schedule and activities
  • Reducing costs like rent and electricity by sharing with others
  • Living with people your own age or with similar interests
  • Learning new skills and exploring new activities

How can I get SIL funding in my NDIS plan?

SIL is referred to as Assistance with Daily Living (ADL) in the NDIS Core support budget.

It’s funded individually and the supports can be shared amongst everyone in a house.

In your NDIS planning meeting, the NDIA will assess:

  • Your goals
  • How old you are
  • If other supports or changes would support you better
  • How independent you already are
  • If you need support with tasks during most of the day
  • What kinds of services offer you the best value for money

Getting SIL funding in your NDIS plan can be a long process and won’t happen overnight.

This is because there are many steps involved that need to be completed by different people.

The process will generally look something like this:

  1. An Occupational Therapist will perform an assessment to determine the level of support you require
  2. Your Support Coordinator will look through the supports you currently receive to determine the level of SIL support you need.
  3. Your Support Coordinator will then work with you to find suitable accommodation options and a SIL provider
  4. Once you choose an SIL provider, they will write a Roster of Care (RoC). This is a document providers use to work out what supports you need throughout the week. It breaks the week down into 30 minute blocks and helps SIL providers figure out how much funding you will need. You will be asked to sign the RoC once you are happy with it
  5. To let the NDIS know you’d like to move into SIL accommodation, your Support Coordinator will submit a change in circumstances form to the NDIS
  6. The NDIS will review all the supporting evidence, including your RoC and the SIL provider’s quote, to assess whether it’s reasonable and necessary
  7. The SIL budget is released into your NDIS Plan once your RoC is approved

*TIP: As you can see, there are a lot of steps involved in getting SIL funding in your NDIS Plan. This is why it’s extremely useful to have Support Coordination funding in your NDIS Plan so a Support Coordinator can help navigate the process and liaise with providers on your behalf. 

If you are a homeowner, or have a private rental you share with other NDIS participants, either you or a support worker can organise and submit a RoC to the NDIS.

How do I find a SIL home?

If you are looking to move out of home, finding the right place for you can take time. There are a few steps that need to happen and some key things to take into consideration when looking for accommodation where you will receive SIL supports.

For example, the support worker to housemate ratio needs to match the level of support outlined in your assessment. This can be anywhere from 1:1 to 1:7. Most of the time, everyone in the household will need to have similar ratios.

The house you’re looking at also needs to match the requirements outlined in the Occupational Therapist’s assessment.

Like with any house, you will need to be compatible with the people who you are living with, and visa-versa…under the NDIS it’s no different. – Endeavour Foundation.

Your Support Coordinator can work with you and your family to find SIL providers near you. You can also use Disability Support Guide’s provider finder to get started.

Does SIL funding pay for rent?

No. SIL funding does not cover day-to-day living expenses, items covered under other NDIS budgets (such as transport) or other supplies that aren’t related to your disability.

For example, SIL funding will not cover:

  • Rent, cost of buying a house or mortgage repayments
  • Electricity, phone, gas or internet bills
  • Food and groceries
  • Cleaning and gardening supplies
  • Assistive technology
  • Home repairs or maintenance
  • Other day-to-day living expenses like taxis or toiletries

What if SIL is not suitable for me?

While you may require assistance with day-to-day life, such as help getting out of bed and getting ready in the morning, you may not require high-level support and 24-hour assistance.

In this case, other NDIS funded supports are available. For example, personal care supports can be funded through Assistance with Daily Living (ADL) funding or assistive technology might be better for you to use in your home.

A list of different home and living supports is available on the NDIS website.

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