Independent Living Services
Millions of people with disabilities face barriers that severely limit their choices for quality of life. The Division for Rehabilitation Services Independent Living Services (ILS) program promotes self-sufficiency despite the presence of one or more significant disabilities.
Objectives of ILS include but are not limited to:
- living independently;
- decreasing dependence on family members;
- decreasing the need for attendant services;
- decreasing the need for supervision in activities of daily living;
- increasing a self-directed lifestyle;
- improving ability to perform activities of daily living;
- improving mobility;
- improving communication; and
- improving personal/social adjustment.
Services provided in the ILS program may include:
- counseling and guidance;
- training and tutorial services;
- adult basic education;
- rehabilitation facility training;
- telecommunications, sensory and other technological aids for people who are deaf;
- vehicle modification;
- assistive devices such as artificial limbs, braces, wheelchairs and hearing aids to stabilize or improve function; and
- other services as needed to achieve independent living objectives, such as transportation, interpreter services and maintenance.
To be eligible for the ILS program, a person must be certified by a DRS counselor:
- to have a significant disability that results in a substantial impediment to their ability to function independently in the family and/or in the community, and
- there must be a reasonable expectation that ILS assistance will result in the ability to function more independently.
ILS services can be provided to consumers when they meet the basic eligibility requirements.
The DRS counselor provides guidance and counseling and, when possible, coordinates services from organizations offering comparable benefits directed toward achieving the ILS goal.
For those ILS services that require DRS funds, consumers are continued on the ILS Waiting List. The timing of DRS-paid services varies depending upon available funding and the current number of consumers receiving or waiting for DRS-funded services.
DRS works very closely with Centers for Independent Living in locations that have a center. The Centers for Independent Living are located in various communities throughout the state. Your DRS counselor can provide information about the closest available center and the area that it serves.
Consistent with the primary purpose of the program, the DRS Independent Living services also contribute to the support of persons with disabilities in the community as well as support their movement from nursing homes and institutions to community-based settings.
Services will be determined through informed consumer choice, that is, after providing you with information about your options and alternatives. Please note that consumers can be served by only one DRS program at a time.
Some people with significant disabilities face barriers that severely limit their ability to take advantage of the many opportunities most people take for granted, for instance, transportation, living arrangements, social and recreational activities.
Some barriers are obvious – a curb with no ramp for people who use wheelchairs, lack of interpreters or captioning for people with hearing impairments, lack of brailed material for people with visual impairments, for example.
Less obvious barriers can be even more limiting. Misunderstandings about disability can very often prevent people with disabilities from living lives of independence.
That’s where the DRS ILS program can help. With some assistance, people with disabilities can effectively confront these barriers and achieve lives of personal satisfaction and independence. DRS counselors can help people with disabilities move beyond all kinds of barriers, both at home and in the community.
People with significant disabilities can benefit from the ILS program at DRS. (People who are blind or visually impaired are served by the Division for Blind Services.