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Change your SIL Change your life

VALID recently received a letter from Peter Rankin, whose son lives in shared supported accommodation. Peter had concerns about the quality of services that his son, and his son’s housemates, were receiving. They decided to change to a different Supported Independent Living (SIL) provider.

It is important to know that most people who live in shared supported accommodation, which are also sometimes called group homes or community residential units, now have a new funding model under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The funding for the building is now separate from the funding for the support staff that work in the house.

What does this mean?

Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) is a physical ‘bricks and mortar’ building. It is for people who have very high physical support or safety needs. The SDA provider is the person or organisation that owns an SDA building. The SDA provider is the landlord of the NDIS participant living in the SDA. The participant pays rent to the SDA provider.

Supported Independent Living (SIL) is assistance you receive from support workers at home that helps you live as independently as possible. The SIL provider is the person or organisation that employs the support workers that help you live as independently as possible at home.

From: ‘The top 10 things to know about SDA: VALID’s plain language guide to NDIS Specialist Disability Accommodation’, VALID 2018

Why does this matter? 

The reason the NDIS changed the way the funding works, is so that people who live in shared accommodation have more choice and control about the support workers that come into their home. This is what Peter said about what was happening before they made the decision to change SIL providers:

“Some of the issues included, poor supervision, inadequate staffing levels, excessive use of agency staff, cleanliness of the house, reliance on take away meals, failure to provide information on how residents’ board money was being spent.”

The families of the residents who live in the house together had tried to fix the problems with the SIL provider, but Peter said that “the organisation’s management failed to address the issues raised with them over a number of years. After coming to the conclusion that their efforts would not achieve results, the Guardians began a search to for another SIL provider. Fortunately, a new provider was able to be found.”

The families were able to get the new SIL provider to employ the disability supporters that were already working in the house: “The workers tried their best but there was no leadership”.

What about the transfer providers? 

After Peter contacted VALID about their success with changing SIL provider, VALID asked the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for more information. They said that:

    • NDIS participants who have SIL funding can choose who their provider is
    • If all the residents agree, they can change their SIL provider
    • People who live in shared supported accommodation who have recently transferred over from DHHS-owned houses to non-government SIL providers, can also choose to change their SIL provider, and do not need to choose one of the other transfer providers.

A final word from Peter: “If you are not happy with the service you are getting, or have a loved one in a NDIS supported accommodation house where the service is mediocre, you now can do something about it.”

If you would like to know more about Peter’s story, VALID can put you in contact with the families involved about how they made the change. If you would like to connect with other families who are taking action on issues that are important to people with intellectual disabilities, you can join a Peer Action Group, find out more here

If you want to know more about how SDA and SIL funding works, check out VALID’s guide here

If you need to learn about how NDIS funding works, you might like to do VALID’s Families as Planning Partners course. Find out more here

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