What are Individualised Living Options (ILOs)?

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Many people with disability need a lot of support to live independently in the community, but don’t want to live in a group home with other people.

Individualised Living Options (ILOs) are different ways you can do this. ILOs are tailored to each person. They may take time to plan. 

Examples of different ILOs

It’s easiest to understand ILOs when they are described with examples.

For example, it’s possible for a person with a disability to share their home with a supportive housemate. The housemate provides some support at agreed times, and pays less rent.

There is also a ‘host arrangement’. Another person, couple or family welcomes a person with disability into their home and provides some support. The host receives funding from the person’s NDIS Plan to do that.

*Adapted from Western Australia's Individualised Services, My Life Your Life – Creating Home

In both these examples, people may also have daily help from support workers, or family members, a friendly neighbour or other supports that help them live their life. This is all organised as part of an ILO arrangement.

These are just a couple of the many creative ways people are working out how to live supported and well.

ILOs are about support

The above examples show that ILOs are about support. ILOs have nothing to do with funding the cost of your home,  such as rent. 

Even before the NDIS, there have been lots of examples of ILO-type arrangements around Australia and the world. You can take a look at some resources in the question below called “Where can I look for inspiration and ideas?”. 

The NDIS makes it possible for lots more people who need support to live this way. 

There are also examples in Australia outside of disability that we can use to understand how the money might work in these kinds of arrangements.

For example, in the foster care system a child lives with another person, couple or family who is not their birth family. Foster carers are provided with financial help but they are not paid a wage. There are similar examples in aged care. An older person might have a student live with them and help them in exchange for a reduced rent. 

Housing Options Online Learning Package

The below video is a part of our self-paced Housing Options Online Learning Package about housing options for people with disability and explains more about ILO.

In this chapter you can learn about different ways you can be supported to live independently. You can also learn about the two types of individualised living options (ILO) funding that may be included in your NDIS plan. 

If you’d like to see the rest of this online learning package click here.

A text transcript of this video can be found here.

What are the different kinds of ILOs?

These are some of the different ways people are living. The NDIS has more information about this in this link.

  1. Co-residency – This means that a supportive housemate or housemates live in the home of the NDIS participant. They could live there full time or part time.
  2. Host arrangement – This means another person, couple or family ‘hosts’ or welcomes the NDIS participant into their home and provides some support. The host receives funding from the person’s NDIS Plan for this support.
  3. Living Alone – This means the NDIS participant lives on their own and support is provided to them in a variety of ways. Take a look at the question below called “How do I know if I am eligible?”
  4. Living Together – This means the NDIS Participant living with someone else. The NDIS participant already knows the other person or they chose the person through the typical ways that housemates find each other. 

People may have a mix of these kinds of arrangements that help make things work for a long time.

For example, two NDIS participants may live together with a co-resident. Living arrangements may also be supported through a friendly neighbour. Host families may welcome someone for a shorter period of time, allowing the person a break from their main or family home. 

The NDIS calls these primary and supplementary supports. Primary means the main supporting relationship. For example, a co-residency. 

Supplementary means all the other kinds of supports that will make this successful and more likely to last. For example other hosts, mentor supports, on-call arrangements, a friendly neighbour, or paid support workers. 

The NDIS has shared some case studies to help participants understand how things can look. Click on this link to find them. They are at the bottom of the page and are called ‘Participant Scenarios’. The NDIS says in their ILO Guidelines “No two people will design their ILO the same way. Everyone has their own needs and ideas about what’s a safe and happy home.” They are called “Participant Scenarios” at the bottom

They have also shared more information about Primary and Supplementary supports.

What are the benefits of ILOs?

These arrangements mirror how many Australians live.

They allow you to work out a system of supports that is right for you, rather than have to ‘fit in’ to an existing model.

Those involved in ILO arrangements say positive relationships are at the heart of them. They talk about how life is better through the connection, participation, and a mutual sharing of lives these living arrangements can create. 

They say things like “it’s not a job, it’s more a way of life.” People with disabilities and families say things like “I didn’t want to only have paid staff in my life”. 

ILOs don’t mean that a person suddenly needs less support. They are about creating different supportive relationships than paid staff working a roster of care. 

For some people, an ILO can be the first step they take away from their family home.

How does it get funded in my NDIS plan?

There’s a lot to think about and organise with any ILO.

The NDIS can fund what is needed in two parts (these are in the NDIS Price Guide):

1. The first step is where the NDIS pays to plan what an ILO might look like for you. 

This is called Individualised Living Options – Exploration and Design

It is expected that exploration and design of your ILO will take a minimum of three months.

The NDIS has three different funding levels for this stage. More information about this can be found on pages 10 to 11 of their Guidelines, which can be found here.

This information is then used to prepare something called an ILO Service Proposal for the NDIS. This is where your living arrangement is described and a quote is created. This means the proposal says how much it is going to cost.  

The NDIS decides whether to fund your ILO Service Proposal based on whether it is reasonable and necessary.

The NDIS has provided more information about how reasonable and necessary relates to ILO. These are on pages 8 to 14 of their Guidelines which can be found here. It is very important to read this and think about what is needed in the ILO Service Proposal.

You can get the Service Proposal here. You can email NDIS at – ILO@ndis.gov.au 

2. The next step is to have the funding to make your ILO happen.  This is called Individualised Living Options – Supports. This can be for things like to help you to

  • find support people like housemates
  • work out the financial arrangements needed
  • plan for your safety and for emergencies
  • monitor the arrangements
  • help search for your home

The funding will include:

  1. Your Primary supports
  2. Your Supplementary supports
  3. Checking and changing the ILO (called Monitoring and Adjustment)

You can read more about this in the NDIS ILO Guidelines here.

There are also three different funding levels for ILO - Support.

Common questions about ILOs

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