Independent Living Services

What is independent living?

The goal of independent living is being able to live in your own home and community for as long as possible. People with disabilities may have trouble with:

  • Mobility
  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Communication
  • Access to their home or vehicle
  • Daily activities

What types of services are available?

Independent Living Services can be grouped into Core Services and Purchased Services. 

Core Services are free and provided directly by a center for independent living (CIL) to empower you with the skills and knowledge to live more independently. Core Services include:

  • Information and referral — get help accessing the information and resources you need to achieve your goals.
  • Independent living skills training — receive training in specific everyday skills essential to living independently, such as meal preparation.
  • Peer counseling — learn how other people with disabilities adapt to and overcome their disability.
  • Advocacy — learn how to advocate for equal rights, accessible housing and transportation, and more.
  • Transition services — receive help moving from nursing homes and other institutions to home and community-based residences or help transitioning from high school to employment and post-secondary education opportunities.

Purchased Services are items or services a CIL purchases from a vendor to help increase your independence. They are provided on a sliding scale fee based on income and include:

  • Evaluations that help show what types of items will benefit you the most. Evaluations are provided at no cost.
  • Hearing aids, fitting fees and more.
  • Home modifications such as wheelchair ramps, environmental control units, stair lifts, grab bars and more.
  • Vehicle modifications to be able to drive independently or ride as a passenger.
  • Power wheelchairs, scooters or other motorized mobility devices.
  • Prosthetics and orthotics including leg prosthetics (above or below the knee), arm prosthetics, prosthetic eyes, orthopedic shoes, ankle and foot orthotics, braces, splints and more.
  • Visual services for orientation and mobility, assistive technology, screen readers and magnifiers, CCTV and more.
  • Other purchased services like durable medical equipment, manual wheelchairs, CPAP, oxygen concentrators, diabetic education, disability-related counseling, hospital beds, individual skills training, assistive communication devices and more.

How do I qualify?

Anyone with a diagnosis of a significant disability is eligible to receive services. Assessments can be provided at no charge if you don’t have records of a diagnosis.

How much will it cost?

Core Services are free. Purchased Services (excluding assessments and evaluations) are offered on a sliding scale based on income. Most applicants pay less than 10% of the cost of the items. Amounts owed may be reduced due to financial hardship with supporting documentation.

Who provides Independent Living Services?

A CIL provides services. HHSC contracts with 15 centers for independent living for Core Services and 11 centers for independent living for Purchased Services. Access a list of other centers for independent living not contracted with HHSC that also provide Core Services (Excel).

How do I find my local CIL?

Search for the CIL closest to you.

What if my local CIL is still far away from me?

A CIL may be able to meet you at your home or at a more convenient location.

What should I expect?

After contacting a CIL, one of their staff should schedule an application appointment within 30 days and will request records to confirm your eligibility. If you are determined eligible, you will develop an Independent Living Plan outlining your goals to live more independently. Funds are limited in the program and people are served in the order they apply. We cannot provide an exact date you will receive the services requested. Many people wait 12-18 months from the first contact.