For someone who is just starting as an NDIS participant, it is normal to find their terminology and various services overwhelming and confusing. For instance, what is Supported Independent Living, and what is Specialist Disability Accommodation? Also, what is the difference between them, and how do you know if you are eligible? This article explains these two terms in detail, so that if you are someone living with a disability, you will know what to apply for with your NDIS funding.

What Is the Difference Between Supported Independent Living and Specialist Disability Accommodation?

Both Supported Independent Living (SIL), and Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA), are services which help people living with a disability to live in a safer and more independent way. However, they still relate to two quite different services. SIL refers to on-site support services for someone living independently, this assistance helps someone with a disability to complete daily tasks and therefore live autonomously when they otherwise would not have been able to. Often SIL refers to when someone moves into provided shared housing, but sometimes it can be for a person living on their own as well. In comparison, SDA is specially designed housing for people with disabilities who have high needs. This housing is used by anyone who cannot live in traditional housing, and it is usually located in an area that makes it easier for the person to access complex supports.

Benefits of Supported Independent Living

  • Independence: The main upside for someone who can receive SIL is that they will be able to live on their own and enjoy living life the way they want to.
  • Friendship: If you are living in shared housing, then it can be a great way to make friends and have social interactions.
  • Opportunities: When you are living on your own you can make decisions about where you want to live (maybe near to work), what you would like your house to look like, and even what furniture you want to put in it.
  • Safe freedom: SIL allows you to live independently, while still having support on call when you need it.

Benefits of Specialist Disability Accommodation

  • Accessible: When you have high needs, it can be difficult to find suitable housing, and so SDA is the perfect solution.
  • Less need for support workers: The idea behind SDA is that it provides a specialised housing solution that reduces the need for a support worker.
  • Safety: Your home will be a much safer place, as everything will be accessible and designed to avoid the issues that can occur in conventional housing – this can also make family members feel more at ease leaving you alone.
  • Fits your requirements: SDA is individualised support, so every modification in the house is designed specifically for you.

Can Someone With NDIS Funding Get SIL or SDA?

An NDIS participant can access both SIL and SDA, as long as they are eligible. Supported Independent Living and Specialist Disability Accommodation are actually both names for types of funding and services provided by the NDIS. The NDIS does have pretty specific eligibility requirements, so it is important to make sure you meet all of them before applying for the funding.

What Are The Eligibility Requirements?

SDA funding is only provided to a very small number of participants who have severe functional impairments and high support needs. Whereas SIL does have to be for people with high needs, but it is offered to a larger number of participants.

When the NDIS is determining whether you are eligible for SDA, they will ask three questions. Do you have extreme function impairment or very high support needs, do you have an SDA needs requirement, and is your need reasonable and necessary? To decide whether you have the necessary requirements, they check information from your doctor, find out what your daily support needs are, and talk to your current providers. SDA also has to be helping you towards your long term goals, it needs to be part of your NDIS plan, and it must help you work towards improving your functional capacity.

If SIL is the right type of support for you, then you will receive it as part of your NDIS funding, and the amount of funding you receive will depend on the level of support you require. Your eligibility for SIL is determined by analysing your individual circumstances, your goals, and whether you require significant person-to-person supports for your disability needs.

An NDIS participant can apply for both SIL and SDA, as sometimes they can work together to support your daily needs.

What Places Can You Use SIL Funding For?

You can use Supported Independent Living funding for:

  • Specialist Disability Accommodation
  • Your own house
  • A private rental
  • A home through the Department of Housing
  • Shared accommodation

You cannot use Supported Independent Living funding if:

  • You are in prison
  • You are in hospital

How Can a Support Coordinator Help You Find These Services?

If you are someone living with a disability, and you are looking for home support services, then SIL or SDA might be the way to go. It is important that you enlist the help of a qualified NDIS support coordinator who can assist you with applying for these services. Choose a reliable  SIL provider who can organise an experienced support coordinator, and make sure they are an organisation you can trust with your disability services.


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