Understanding the NDIS, SIL and Accommodation

18th April, 2023

NDIS, SIL and Accommodation

The NDIS has brought significant changes to the disability support landscape in Australia, none more so than the provision of accommodation services for people with disabilities. Barkuma understands it can be overwhelming to dissect the vast amount of information available, especially if you are the primary carer, guardian or relative of someone with disability who is considering Supported Independent Living. In this article, we unpack the basics of Supported Independent Living and NDIS independent living supports. We will explore what SIL and accommodation services are, how they work, and who is eligible for them.

What is Supported Independent Living (SIL) NDIS?

Supported Independent Living (SIL) is a service that enables people with disabilities to live in a home of their choice, with professional support workers who assist with daily living tasks.

SIL is designed to be flexible and person-centred, so the level and type of support provided are tailored to meet individual needs and goals. Support workers assist with daily living tasks such as cooking, cleaning, personal care, and community access. They can also provide support with tasks such as arranging medical appointments, support with accessing local community and social engagement, medication support and developing life skills.

Support workers can be available 24/7 or for a specific number of hours per day or week, depending on the individual’s needs and as agreed with the provider.

What is the difference between SIL and Specialist disability accommodation (SDA)?

Specialist disability accommodation (SDA) refers to the physical homes or housing where people with disabilities live, including those who receive SIL. SDA homes are specifically designed for people with very high support needs to live more independently and allow other supports to be delivered better or more safely. SDA includes specialist features that enable people with disabilities to live more independently, such as accessible bathrooms, wider doorways, and assistive technology.

If your current housing is not suitable for your needs, you should request a plan review to see if you meet the SDA needs requirement and the NDIS funding criteria. If you do not meet the criteria for SDA, you still might be eligible for NDIS Home Modifications, custom-built changes to your home to help you access and use spaces. This may include the installation of wheelchair ramps, accessible bathrooms, and modifications to doorways and hallways to accommodate mobility aids.

The key difference between SIL and SDA, is that SIL is a service, while SDA is a type of accommodation. SIL can be provided in a range of living arrangements, including private rental properties, while SDA is purpose-built accommodation. Additionally, while SIL is available to NDIS participants who require support to live independently, SDA is only available to participants who meet specific eligibility criteria, including having an extreme functional impairment or requiring high levels of support.

Some SIL providers own their own homes, which you can rent and have the SIL support delivered in. These may or may not be SDA housing.

Barkuma provides SIL, but we do not provide SDA.

Am I eligible for SIL?

To apply for Supported Independent Living (SIL), you must have a NDIS plan, a diagnosis of a permanent and significant disability that impacts your daily life, and a goal to explore home and living options.

The NDIS determines eligibility for SIL based on an individual’s goals and the level of support a person needs in order to live independently. This is often linked to a person’s functional impairment, so a functional assessment may be required. These assessments are conducted by qualified health professionals, such as physiotherapists and occupational therapists.

How do I apply for SIL?

If you have a NDIS plan in place, and living independently has become a new goal for you, you may need a plan review. Regular reviews with a NDIS planner or support coordinator can help ensure that the plan remains relevant and effective in meeting your needs and aspirations. You can also apply for a mid-plan review due to a change in circumstances should your need for independent living become urgent. When living independently is part of your goals, the supports you require will be reflected in your plan.

You may be required to fill out a Home and Living supporting evidence form. The NDIS will then ensure they fund the right option for your care and support needs that work for you now and in the long term. The NDIS will consider if the supports assist you in pursuing your goals, improve or sustain your capacity, and create better connections with your family and community.

It’s important to note that the process for applying and accessing SIL may vary depending on individual circumstances, so seeking guidance from a NDIS planner or support coordinator can be beneficial.

Once I have SIL approved, what next?

If you have a support coordinator, they can help you choose the right SIL provider for your needs. The provider will work with you, your family, and the support coordinator to ensure you get the right supports day and night and make any necessary arrangements for moving into your new home.

What should I look for in a SIL provider?

Your SIL provider will become a large part of your life, so this is a very important decision. Remember, it is your home they are providing the support in, and you have the right to choose your provider. Barkuma believes in supporting choice and control.

Some questions to ask providers:

  • Are they registered with the NDIS?
  • Are their support workers experienced in supporting people with your disability, and what are their qualifications?
  • Can you specify whether you want male or female workers?
  • Do they own properties you can move into, where are they located, and how much rent do they charge?
  • Will you have your own unit, or will you be sharing a house?
  • If you are sharing, how many housemates will there be, and do you get a say in who you live with?
  • Do they provide active or passive overnight support?
  • Can you speak to a current SIL client or ask for reviews?
  • Do they offer tours of their homes or offer online virtual tours?
  • Are you able to meet with prospective housemates prior to making a decision?


Barkuma’s accommodation philosophy

Barkuma provides Supported Independent Living (SIL) in Northern Adelaide. As well as being able to provide SIL support in your own home, a family home or a rental, Barkuma owns a range of properties you can move into (view current accommodation vacancies).

Barkuma’s accommodation philosophy centres around providing clients their own space within a village environment and shared support.

“It allows customers to live by themselves in a one or two-bedroom unit but also gives them the opportunity to be part of a small community where they can choose to socialise or withdraw to their own space, depending upon how they feel. The shared support also ensures their NDIS budget goes further.” Barkuma Executive Manager Accommodation

For those who enjoy a more social environment, Barkuma also has houses where you can share with one or two housemates matched to your personality and support needs. Barkuma carefully chooses its homes based on location to public transport, essential services such as grocery shops and medical clinics, and suitability for our core group of participants.

You can trust Barkuma to ensure your home is safe, comfortable, accessible, meets your needs and has the right support workers to assist you with daily living. But the main thing is Barkuma knows and respects that it is your home, and you can set it up how you like with the things that are important and special to you.

If you would like more information on NDIS, SIL and accommodation services or would like to discuss your individual circumstances with us, please call (08) 8414 7100 or email us at barkuma@barkuma.com.au