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.
Individual Living Options (ILOs) are different ways you can do this. ILOs are tailored to each person. They may take time to plan.
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.
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.
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.
The NDIS talks about four main kinds of ILO on this page.
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.
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.
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):
Linda explains the steps involved when looking for SDA highlighting the changes for her son and herself since the move.