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What is Stage 1: Exploration and Design?

Exploration and design is about you finding the best living arrangement to suit you. To do this, the people working with you need to gather a lot of information. 

During this stage you will work with your family, friends, support coordinator and providers. This means there might be lots of meetings. 

Decisions about your ILO should be made by you. You should be supported to be involved and make decisions as much as possible. Having an ILO arrangement means you have a say in where you live and who you live with, and who else might come to your home to provide you with supports or services. 

The information you need to design your ILO may include things like:

  • your goals 
  • your network and social community
  • what kinds of supports you already access 
  • details on what’s worked for you in the past 
  • what you want your life to look like. 

During the Exploration and Design stage you will:

  • explore where and how you want to live, including helping others around you understand what you want and how this will work for you
  • understand your strengths and capabilities
  • learn what you can do to build your skills through your ILO supports
  • choose where you live, who you live with and how you’re supported
  • understand how supports from friends and family, community supports and paid supports can all play a role in your ILO
  • find out what’s possible and assess and manage any risks in your preferred way of living
  • design and make decisions about your ILO, with the people who support you.

At the end of Stage 1, you should have worked with your provider to have:

  • reached a decision about your preferred home and living arrangement and the support you need 
  • completed the service proposal .

Your service proposal tells us how you want to live and who you want to support you. 

Exploration and Design funding

We’ll fund up to 100 hours to support you to design your individualised living option, normally capped at 30, 50 or 100 hours depending on your circumstances. 

Further information on funding can be found in the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits and the ILO - Our Guidelines .

Find out more about the process for getting ILO supports in your plan .

What is Stage 2: Supports?

We’ll consider the individualised living option design you told us about in your service proposal when deciding what supports to include in your plan. For example, we might provide funding for housemates to support you, or a host arrangement. 

The provider you work with for the Exploration and Design stage does not need to be the same provider you work with to deliver the ILO Supports. However, the provider you choose to deliver your ILO Supports should be involved during the first stage to make sure they can deliver the supports and services you need.  

Your individualised living option supports have 3 parts:

  • Primary supports
  • Supplementary supports
  • Monitoring and adjustment

Primary supports 

Primary supports are delivered by the people you live with. They help with the supports you need every day in your home. 

These include:

  • Host arrangement – you live full time with a host who is not related to you, in their home
  • Housemates – you live full time in your own home, or a shared rental property, with another person or other people who are not related to you. 

The level of support that a host(s) or housemate(s) provides will be different for every individualised living option. 

These help at home supports may include things like:

  • personal care 
  • cooking
  • cleaning
  • emotional support
  • helping you get ready for work
  • making sure you are safe at home.

Supplementary supports

Supplementary supports are extra supports put in place with your primary support. These supports are flexible and you can use them to help get extra or different support from time to time. You can also use them if you need support outside the usual times your primary support is available. This might be when your primary support has other commitments such as work, medical appointments or holidays. 

Supplementary supports might be paid or unpaid. Paid supplementary supports might include respite care or having support workers stay in your home on an ad hoc or regular basis. 

Unpaid supplementary supports might be arrangements to stay with family or having more regular drop-in visits from family or friends when your primary support is away. Your informal supports like friends or family are often an important part of your supplementary supports. 

Examples of supplementary supports include:

  • back-up support for your primary support 
  • on-call arrangements
  • support of a mentor
  • volunteers
  • neighbours
  • paid “drop-in” support
  • structured supports from family or friends.

Funding primary and supplementary supports from your plan

Any payment arrangements for your primary and supplementary supports will depend on the support they provide you. Each individualised living options package and payments to your support providers is different.

It needs to be discussed and agreed to by you and your provider. 

Both you and your supports should seek independent financial advice before agreeing to an individualised living option arrangement.

Payments received through an individualised living option may be assessable for tax purposes.

The Australian Taxation Office can provide information about assessable income and allowable deductions. 


Agreements are an important part of ILO. They set out roles, responsibilities and expectations of each person in the living situation. The provider should develop agreements between you and them and between you and your host or housemate. The provider should also have an agreement with your host or housemate. The agreements should be explained to you in a way that is easy for you to understand. 

Monitoring and adjustment

Monitoring is an important part of your individualised living option arrangement and is the responsibility of you and your provider. The level of monitoring needed will be different with each individualised living option arrangement.

Monitoring involves regular checks to make sure your individualised living option arrangement and supports are working for you. 

Your service proposal must include a monitoring plan for your individualised living option package. Your provider will support you to develop a plan that describes what will be monitored. Monitoring should help track:

  • if your supports are helping you be more independent at home and helping you meet your goals
  • if you are happy with your living arrangement 
  • if you feel safe in your home
  • that you and others involved in your individualised living option arrangement know how to raise and discuss issues or concerns
  • if there are any problems with the people you live with
  • if there are any problems with the support workers coming to your home.

Your monitoring plan should also include information such as:

  • how often monitoring will occur
  • whether monitoring will be face to face, virtual or by phone
  • how you, your provider, hosts or housemates, family, friends and informal supports will contribute to monitoring
  • how issues can be raised and how you might resolve them
  • the process for adjusting your ILO supports. 

It’s important to remember you can raise issues with your provider at any time, you don’t have to wait until a regular check-in.

Your provider is responsible for coordinating and maintaining your monitoring plan. They’ll support you to identify and make any changes to your individualised living option.

The flexibility of individualised living options means you can make changes to the mix of your supports quickly. You’ll still need to spend your funding on the supports as they are described in your plan. But usually you won’t need a plan reassessment to make changes to your supports. You can choose or change how they’re delivered at any time.

Your ILO supports must be delivered in line with the NDIS Act and relevant NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission requirements including the NDIS Code of Conduct .

ILO supports funding 

We provide 3 bands of funding for ILO Supports to help deliver your ILO arrangement, normally capped at $105,000, $150,000 or $230,000 depending on your circumstances. 

Further information on funding can be found in the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits and the ILO - Our Guidelines .

Find out more about the process for getting ILO supports in your plan .

This page current as of
5 January 2023
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