ACL Releases Independent Living Final Rule

October 26, 2016

Today, the final rule for Independent Living (IL) programs went on display in the Federal Register. The rule was developed in close coordination with the independent living network and addresses the requirements of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

Specifically, the final rule:

  • Clarifies requirements surrounding WIOA’s addition of new core services to:
    • Facilitate the transition of individuals with significant disabilities from nursing homes and other institutions to home and community-based settings
    •  Provide assistance to individuals with significant disabilities who self-identify as being at risk of entering institutions so that the individuals may remain in the community
    • Facilitate the transition of youth with significant disabilities who are no longer in school and no longer receiving services under section 614(d) of IDEA.
  • Clarifies several key definitions. For example:
    • “Consumer control” adds specificity to definition in the context of individuals to mean that the person with a disability has control over his or her personal life choices, independent living plan and has the right to make informed choices about content, goals and implementation. Prior to the final rule, “consumer” was sometimes interpreted to include the parents or caregivers of the person with a disability
    • “Personal assistance services” is now defined to explicitly include assistance with activities outside of employment, such as social activities and parenting.
  • Addresses the roles and responsibilities of the State Independent Living Council, as defined by WIOA. For example, the final rule:
    • Includes additional details of what must be a part of the SILC Resource Plan to carry out the functions of the SILC
    • Addresses the SILC’s authority to conduct resource development activities to support the provision of services by Centers for Independent Living
    • Clarifies the expanded role of the SILC in the development of the State Plan for Independent Living.

The rule will become effective November 25, 2016.

Over the coming months, ACL will be working with grantees and stakeholders as needed to answer questions and support CILs and SILCs as they implement the rule. Please send questions to These will help us determine needs for additional technical assistance and develop materials to meet them.

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Last modified on 04/21/2017

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