Each Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) is a group of individuals appointed by a State's Governor (in most States) to oversee the delivery of Independent Living Services to persons with disabilities throughout the State. A majority of the Council must be people with disabilities.
The Rehabilitation Act requires the establishment of an SILC in each State that desires Federal financial assistance under Title VII, Chapter 1 of the Act. The Council must be independent; it cannot be established as an entity within a State agency.
The SILC's essential task is to work with State Rehabilitation Agency to develop a State Plan for Independent Living and to monitor the implementation of that Plan. Both the SILC and the State designated agency must agree to the plan in order for the State to receive Federal financial assistance for independent living services and Centers for Independent Living (CIL).
In addition, the SILC acts as a clearing house to collect information about numerous programs in the state in order to better coordinate services and to promote equal access to those services for all of State citizens with disabilities.
In the case of a State that administers Rehabilitation Act programs by an entity other than the Governor (such as one or more houses of the State legislature or an independent board), the chief officer of that entity makes the appointments.
The appointing authority must select members only after soliciting recommendations from representatives of organizations representing a broad range of individuals with disabilities and organizations interested in individuals with disabilities.
The Council's members must include at least one director of a center for independent living chosen by the directors of centers for independent living within the State. If the State has any project carried out under section 121, at least 1 representative of the directors of the projects must be included. Also required, as ex officio, nonvoting members, are a representative from the designated State unit and representatives from other State agencies that provide services for individuals with disabilities.
As additional members, the Council may include other representatives from centers for independent living, parents and guardians of individuals with disabilities, advocates of and for individuals with disabilities, representatives from private businesses, representatives from organizations that provide services for individuals with disabilities, other appropriate individuals.
A majority of the Council membership as well as a majority of the voting members of the Council must be people with disabilities. Additionally, a majority of the Council membership as well as a majority of the voting members of the Council must be people who are not employed by any State agency or center for independent living. No member of the Council may serve more than two consecutive full terms (of three years each).
A list of contact information for Statewide Independent Living Councils in the U.S. (including territories) is maintained within the ILRU Directory of Independent Living Centers and Related Organizations. The list is available on the Internet at:
Additional information about SILC roles, activities, governance, membership, individual State SILC surveys, and the annual SILC Congress is available on the Internet at:
Information for this topic was drawn from Title VII, Chapter 1, Section 705 of the Rehabilitation Act. The entire contents of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, is available on the Internet at:
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