I thought it was the chicken. I’m not sure why I thought it was the chicken, I just did. But others tend to think it’s the egg. It might seem like a pointless, circular argument but in the world of Supported Independent Living (SIL), it turns out it is actually pretty important. If you are a person wanting 24 hour support for personal care, mobility support, health and well-being, and a vastly improved living situation, you would certainly care which came first- the SIL quote or having SIL in your Plan? No longer a pointless argument, is it?
Which comes first: SIL approval or quote approval?
The NDIA appears to feature Planners who are either in the chicken or the egg basket. Some Participants are being told that they need to get a quote before they can get SIL added to their Plan. Conversely, other Participants are being told to get SIL in their Plan and then go out and get a quote.
As for the SIL providers, they are caught in the middle. In the new world of consumer choice and quoting for services, should the SIL provider wait for the customer to get the funding before they prepare a quote? Or do they go through the resource-intensive process of preparing a quote in the hope the customer will get SIL in their Plan? If there is one thing disability providers have precious little of it is administrative resources.
We are not aware of any NDIS guidelines that require a quote before SIL can be added to the Plan. So the conundrum may simply be the nuance around terminology. The new SIL Quoting Guidelines for the SIL Tool states:
"Each quote is assessed by the NDIA prior to a participants budget being approved".
Reading this, you can see how one Planner might assume that it means a quote needs to be assessed prior to a Participant being deemed eligible for SIL. Yet another NDIA Planner could conclude that the quote only needs be lodged before the exact ‘budget’ amount is determined. Confusion rules!
Move in dates
We have also heard of a “move in date” being required before SIL is included in a Plan. Usually a move in date is only relevant in determining when the SIL provider can start to receive the funding. But before this can occur there needs to be an approved budget and funds available. Therefore, by the move in date, SIL will have already been approved in the Plan.
Ability to live independently
In a more confusing example, we have heard of a Planner sending an email to a provider implying that the primary criteria (for SIL) is that the Participant is unable to live independently, and that before SIL can be considered, it must be demonstrated that the Participant has tried to live independently with supports, but had an ongoing functional impairment that continue to result in barriers for them. I know what you are thinking, doesn't SIL include the word 'Independent'? Therefore, the Planner is saying that you need to prove you can't live independently to be eligible to get support to live independently!!
So what can providers and Participants do?
Our advice for SIL providers is to get a commitment in writing from their local NDIA office that confirms that a Participant is eligible for SIL before preparing a quote. If nothing else, this will fertilise the idea that NDIA need to address this confusion. Surely it can’t be too hard for the them. It’s either the chicken or the egg- just tell us which one it is!