The SIL (Supported Independent Living) process explained
If you’re reading this blog, you’re likely looking to move out of home with help from the NDIS (or helping to support someone who is). There’s also a good chance you might be a bit confused about how it all works. If this is you, we just want to start off by saying that you’re not alone. Navigating the world of Supported Independent Living (SIL) can be long, hard and riddled with paperwork. That said, we hear time and time again that it’s one of the best, most rewarding things that someone can do. The independence that people gain can be wonderfully life-changing.
This blog is going to cover the process in a way that’s (hopefully) easy enough to understand. If you’re someone who is already on your SIL journey, feel free to skip ahead to the part that’s relevant to you.
What is SIL? Where do I start?
SIL is Supported Independent Living. It’s how the NDIS helps people with a disability live independently. We get asked this question so often that we made a blog just about this. This blog is a great place to start to get a bit of background information.
Getting the right NDIS funding
To receive SIL supports, you need to have the right NDIS funding.
As with any NDIS funding, it will come down to whether the supports are reasonable and necessary for your situation.
In 2021 (so far) the average annual NDIS payment for someone receiving SIL supports is $324,900. For comparison, the average plan for non-SIL participants is $36,300 (stats are provided in the latest NDIS quarterly report). Because SIL tends to be quite a significant amount of money, you will need to really prove how reasonable and necessary it is for you. It’s worth mentioning here that a lot of people do not receive SIL funding, as it tends to go to people with very high needs.
Build a team
You aren’t expected to navigate this all alone.
You will have a team of people to help you with this change. Here are some of the key people you’ll encounter on your SIL journey:
Your Support Coordinator
Pretty much everyone that gets SIL funding also gets ample Support Coordinator funding. Your Support Coordinator will help you through every step of the process. They are there to talk about your options, find solutions, help you get organised and more. You will be spending a lot of time with your Support Coordinator, so it’s really important that you get along.
Moving out of home is a big deal! It’s something that often involves the whole family. It can be a big adjustment for people, so it’s good to have everyone on the same page.
There’s more to moving out of home than what’s involved in the NDIS. You will want to make sure you are emotionally, physically and mentally ready too. This can involve learning new skills, building confidence and getting ready for change. Whether you have paid or informal supports, chances are you will all be working towards the same goals and you will want them on your team.
To make sure you get the right supports for you and your needs, you’re probably going to have to go to a lot of appointments and consultations (sorry!). The most common one is an Occupational Therapist.
Find a provider
Ok, now it’s time for the fun stuff.
If you’re wondering why it’s worded ‘find a provider’ instead of ‘find a house’ that’s because SIL can work a bit differently to other NDIS supports.
SIL funding covers the supports in the home, and not the home itself (that can be Specialist Disability Accommodation - for a full breakdown of the relationship between these two, check out this blog.)
When you’re looking for a provider, it’s so important that you get a good feeling. This is the provider that will hire and manage the staff in your home. You want to find a provider that is reliable, caring and is good with detail. Your Support Coordinator will help you with this. They should have a really great knowledge of the sector and who the best providers are for you, your needs and your wants.
It’s at this point in your SIL journey that you will start to really hear a lot about ‘ratios’. This is because of the way SIL is funded. Depending on your needs, you will be funded for a particular ratio. This is essentially the breakdown of staff to customers in the house. Someone with a ratio of 1:2 is likely to need more support than someone with a ratio of 1:4.
The whole house essentially ‘pools funding’ which means that everyone in the house will likely need a very similar level of support. Common ratios that we see people funded for are 1:3 and 1:4.
Meet the housemates/staff, see the house and do assessments
So you’ve found your provider, you’ve checked out their vacancies and you think you might have found the right home for you?
Next up is one of the most important steps - meeting the housemates, staff and seeing the house in person. Like with any house-sharing opportunity, most people would want to meet everyone in the home and see what it’s like in the flesh. This check can be really fun. For many people it’s what makes this whole process feel real and exciting.
If it’s not a good match, then at least you know and can keep looking for something that works better for you.
Create a roster of care
A ‘roster of care’ is a very NDIS-like way of saying ‘a document that looks at what kind of supports you need, when you need them, and how you would like them to be delivered’.
To get a roster of care, you will likely need to do a fair few appointments. These are commonly with Occupational Therapists, but can be with a whole host of people (it really depends what you need as an individual).
Your provider will put this together and send it to the NDIS, but because there are so many people involved and it deals with a lot of government departments they have been known to take a while!
If you’re at this point - you’re almost there! You’ve met the housemates and staff, you like the home, your roster of care is all signed off, the next step is to trial it.
Moving out of home is not something you want to rush into, so you will likely do a trial to make sure that it’s right for you. In this trial you can get to know everyone a bit better and make sure that you are definitely happy with your choices. It also makes the whole process a little less scary.
Congratulations! If you are at this step, it means that you are ready to move into your new home. By now, you will have likely been on a long journey to get here, but because it was so long, all the boxes will have been ticked and you can be confident you are moving into a house that works for you.
Any more questions?
That’s normal! Make sure you check out our blog where we look at a lot of the common questions we receive about SIL.