You may have heard these three terms used frequently in the context of National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funding and living arrangements, but been a bit confused by what they really mean. In this blog post, we’re going to make it clear!

Let’s start by spelling out the acronyms:

SIL – Supported Independent Living

SDA – Specialist Disability Accommodation

ILO – Individualised Living Options

Now we know what the letters stand for, we can break it down further.

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What is Supported Independent Living (SIL)?

SIL is a NDIS support which allows you to live on your own or with other people living with disability. It exists to cover the cost of the support staff in the house to meet your support needs 24/7.

It can include assistance with everyday tasks like cleaning, cooking and personal care. It doesn’t include the cost of rent or other living expenses.

How does SIL work?

The amount of SIL funding you receive will be determined by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). Using the SIL funding you have been allocated, you’ll need to find a suitable SIL service provider who will deliver the supports included in your plan. Then you’ll need to find a suitable SIL house where people have similar needs and goals to yours. A Support Coordinator can help you to do all of this. If you would like to know more about Enhanced Lifestyles Support Coordinators, see our website for details.

Your chosen SIL provider will work with you to create a Roster of Care based on your support needs and funding. It will include which support workers will help you, and at what times.

SIL often means moving from where you currently live into a different house and often a different suburb, so it’s best suited to people who want more independence in their lives. When living in a SIL home with others, support workers will provide services to your housemates and give you the added benefit of a social setting.

What housing options are available with SIL?

SIL funding can be used in many places including:

  • Special Disability Accommodation (SDA)
  • Private rental
  • A house that you own
  • Housing through the Department of housing and other similar services
  • Shared or group accommodation

SIL housing may be community, public, or private properties. Community or public housing may be owned by state or territory governments, but private housing, whether you are renting or buying a home, is paid for by you.

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What is Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)?

SDA is a type of NDIS funding for those with very high support needs who wish to live as independently as possible. SDA funds the physical house, space, and any modifications required within it.

SDA dwellings have increased accessibility and facilitate better support delivery. Homes can be specially designed and built for the needs of residents to include such features as ramps, safety rails in the bathroom, wide doorways, a hoist in the bedroom or bathroom, strong walls and windows that won’t get damaged easily or other special technology.

How does SDA work?
SDA funding is for people with very high support needs who meet the specialist disability accommodation needs requirement and the NDIS funding criteria.

Eligibility for SDA funding is determined by using the SDA Rules, which is a part of NDIS legislation. The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) will also make an assessment about how much support funding you require, based on what your needs are.

If you are eligible for SDA funding, you will still need support funding to live in your home. This funding might be SIL, or it might be ILO, or you might have an informal supporter (partner or family member) living with you.

If you have SDA funding in your NDIS Plan, that funding is paid directly to your SDA landlord (also called SDA provider) by the NDIS.

You will still have to pay rent too. The amount you pay to your SDA landlord is called a Reasonable Rent Contribution (RRC).

SDA rent is usually less than what you would pay in the private rental market, and often similar to what you would pay in social or community housing.

What housing options are available with SDA?

SDA housing options include the following:

  • Apartments (for 1-2 residents)
  • Townhouses/Villas/Duplexes (for a maximum of 3 residents)
  • Houses (for 2-3 residents)
  • Group homes (for 4-5 residents).

There are 5 design categories of SDA housing, determined by the needs of the residents:


This covers older properties that don’t have any special design features. Basic SDA is no longer being built, as it is not cost-effective to retrofit properties to ensure they meet the accessibility needs of participants.

Improved Liveability

This category is for people who find it difficult to see or understand things around them.

These properties are easy to move around in and include doorways, handles and switches are easy to see and it’s often easy to see from one room through to the next.

Fully Accessible

This category is for people with a significant physical disability who use a wheelchair to get around some or all of the time.

Fully Accessible home have no steps, doorways that are wide enough for a wheelchair, and include bathroom and kitchen features that are accessible at sitting level.

High Physical Support

This category is designed for people who use an electric wheelchair and a hoist. These homes have all the features of Fully Accessible, plus emergency back-up power and a ceiling that is strong enough for a ceiling hoist. They will often have an intercom that connects you to a support worker who is close by.


This category is for people who act in a way that puts themselves or others at risk. The property is more resilient to damage, has good soundproofing, and secure doors and windows.

A man pushes a woman in a wheelchair on a city street. The woman is wearing a colorful scarf and patterned shoes, while the man is dressed in a dark coat and jeans.

What are Individualised Living Options (ILO)?

The ILO is a type of funding within the NDIS that focuses on offering tailored support to individuals with disabilities to live independently in a housing arrangement of their choice. It is for people with lower support needs who want to explore different options in order to figure out how they want to enhance their way of living, and covers the cost of any paid supports they choose to include in their plan.

One of the biggest differences between SIL and ILO is that ILO support packages can include informal supports in your plan, like your friends and family, to complement your paid supports like drop-in support workers. Where SIL funds paid support 24/7, ILO may include support anywhere from 6-24 hours a day and be a combination of paid and informal supports.

How does ILO work?

ILO is tailored to suit each individual person’s needs.

ILO supports are added to your plan in two stages.

Stage 1 allows you to explore and design the individualised living option supports you want and need. You’ll work out where you want to live, with who, what support you’ll need, and who you want to provide that support.

Stage 2 is for putting those supports in place. This could include things not funded by the NDIS, such as the support you get from friends and family. The supports can be altered if your needs change, providing you with safety, stability and flexibility.

ILO doesn’t include funding for housing or home modifications. It also doesn’t include support for activities outside the home, such as work, study, sport or other outings.

What housing options are available with ILO?

ILO can involve a ‘host arrangement’, where another person, couple or family welcomes a person living with disability into their home and provides some support. The host receives funding from the participants’ NDIS Plan to do that.

It can also be an arrangement where a supportive housemate moves into your home, paying less rent in exchange for being available at certain times.


We hope this blog has clarified any questions you may have had about Supported Independent Living, Specialist Disability Accommodation and Individualised Living Options.

To find out how we can assist you with SIL or SDA housing, check out our current vacancies or call us on (08) 8340 2000. Or perhaps we can assist you with in home supports or Support Coordination – fill out our service enquiry form to see how we can help!