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Independent Living

Reprinted from SNS March 2013

For veterans with a total disability rating, a VA program can help with achieving vocational goals and maximum independence in daily living.

The Independent Living Program (ILP) is a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Vocational Rehabilitation and Education (VR&E) program aimed at making sure each eligible veteran can live independently and participate in family and community life to their potential maximum ability. 

ILP is a two-year program for veterans 100% service-connected disabled or receiving a “total disability rating.” Veterans 100% disabled or having a total disability rating based on Individual Unemployability may qualify for assistance.

To qualify for the ILP (Independent Living Program) veterans must:

-         Have a service-connected disability that inhibits their abilities to pursue an employment goal

-         Be eligible to enroll in VR&E services and have a vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC) determine that employment goals are not feasible

The first priority in the provisions of the program affords veterans the reasonable feasibility of achieving vocational goals. Independent living services and assistance is designed to enable veterans to achieve maximum independence in daily living.

The term “independence in daily living” is the ability without services of others or with a reduced level of the services of others, to live and function within the veteran’s family and community.

Getting Started

Interested participants need to complete and submit a VA Form 28-1900 (Disabled Veterans Application for Vocational Rehabilitation) and undergo an evaluation with a VRC, who determines whether veterans are entitled to the program. Once veterans are identified for the ILP, an evaluation of independent living needs is conducted.

Implementation of programs of independent living services and assistance require generally extensive coordination with other VA and non-VA programs. VA will coordinate services with other VA elements along with federal, state and local programs.

The VRC will assign a VA consultant to conduct an assessment of needs at the veteran’s home residence. The assessment is used to create an Individualized Independent Living Plan (IILP).

This is a written document detailing necessary services to meet the veteran’s identified goals that improve physical and psychological functioning. The IILP includes statements of long-range rehabilitation goals and intermediate rehabilitation objectives related to achieving such goals. It also includes the projected date for the initiation and the anticipated duration of each service.

Identifying Goals

The IILP’s purpose is to identify the steps through which a veteran whose disabilities are so severe that a vocational goal is not currently reasonably feasible can become more independent in daily living. The counselor works with the veteran to identify needs, and together they determine what services are required in addressing goals. 

A referral to specialized rehabilitation facilities for consultation with other rehabilitation professionals may prove necessary in developing and implementing the program.

The ILP services include the following:

-         Assistive technology

-         Specialized medical, health and rehabilitation services

-         Services to address personal or family adjustment issues

-         Independent living skills training

-         Connecting with community-based support services 

A follow-up evaluation will be scheduled to determine if the objectives and goals are being achieved.

The goals of the ILP are to:

-         Enhance participation in Activities of Daily Living

-         Assist veterans in participating to the maximum extent possible in family and community life while providing effective services and assistive technology based on sound research

-         Provide holistic evaluations and services for veterans who qualify

-         Develop rehabilitation plans that provide services to address identified independent living needs considering the -eteran’s expressed interests and desires

-         Provide services based on objectively identified needs

-         Establish goals and measures, and verify the outcomes

-         Provide services and continuing services after rehabilitation is complete

-         Explore the possibilities of paid or volunteer employment

-         Identify appropriate housing accommodations

-         Assist a veteran’s family as necessary for the effective rehabilitation of the veteran

No Two Are Alike

Veterans interested in applying for the ILP should be contemplating the things they find enjoyable with their families and local communities.

One common example is a veteran who enjoys painting. Painting and drawing are encouraged in the mental-health community as therapeutic. Approval from the VRC will provide the veteran with art classes and necessary supplies.

The program is designed to the individual needs of veterans, with no two programs replicating one another. It proves important for a veteran to have a counselor who understands the ILP program and is willing to work in meeting the needs of veterans in association with the program. 

Enrollment in ILP does not affect benefits veterans currently receive from VA or the Social Security Administration. The program is administered under Title 38; Pensions, Bonuses, and Veterans’ Relief specifically, 38 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 21 Vocational Rehabilitation and Education.

For more information, contact a Paralyzed Veterans of America local national service officer or call the PVA Veterans Benefits Department, 800-424-8200. 


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Independent Living

i am 80 pn and went to voc rehab and told not feasible for school...then i went to the ilp you do not need to be 100 for this...well at least for me anyway..... jboyd9
Star (1 posts)
April 22, 2017
09:47 PM

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