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Independent Living

Independent Living (IL) is a non-medical, non-residential, self-help, program model of advocacy and support services, for people with all disabilities of all ages. Agencies subscribing to this model, are governed by a majority of people with disabilities; use a nondirective peer approach to providing services in a supportive and informal environment; provide freedom to consumers to pursue their own dreams; expect and assist consumers to fully experience, accept and learn from the results of their own actions; emphasize community-change advocacy to increase the full integration of people with disabilities in all aspects of community life; and promote a positive view of disability at all times.

Independent Living Services

Services that may be provided by CILs under NYS law which are consistent with the Independent Living Program Model. For an ACCES-VR approved list of services with definitions, refer to the CIL Standards, Performance Report and Data Collection Guide, Part 2: Direct Services and Statistical Report, section IV. Individual Services.

It is not required that a CIL provide all of the services on the approved list of services or only the services listed, but any program of service supported with funds other than those provided by ACCES-VR must be captured using one of the approved independent living service categories most closely and consistently representing the approved service definitions. Also, a CIL is required to provide, at a minimum, the following core services: legal/advocacy, systems advocacy, housing assistance, information and referral, independent living skills development and life skills, peer counseling, and benefits assistance.

Core Services

  • Peer Counseling is provided between two or more individuals with disabilities, to share ideas and experiences about living with a disability, in order to gain greater awareness and control over one’s own life.
  • Independent Living Skills Training teaches everyday life skills and is often provided by people with disabilities. Training may include budgeting, meal preparation, arranging transportation, or personal assistance services, job seeking, and self-advocacy.
  • Information and Referral Services aim to provide individuals with resources and options that may be necessary in making informed choices about living, learning, and working independently.
  • Individual and Systems Advocacy addresses access to equal opportunities in exercising social, economic, educational, and legal rights. Independent Living Centers work with individuals, community organizations, state/national networks; to promote full inclusion of people with disabilities, and to improve the implementation of existing laws: federal, State, and local.

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