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Independent Living

People with Disabilities Living Independently

The Center for Independent Living of the Keys (CIL of the Keys) offers a variety of programs to offer assistance to people with disabilities who live in Monroe county, Florida (see our WIPA page for a list of counties that program serves). 

Our approach is that the person with the disability plans and directs the goals they want to achieve to obtain and maintain independence and self-sufficiency. CIL of the Keys walks alongside that person, offering assistance in the form of information and tools to help them accomplish their goals.

The core programs CIL of the Keys provides are below.

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Information and Referral

Information and Referral is the starting point for a person with a disability who wants to access the programs CIL of the Keys offers. Those who self-disclose that they have a disability can become a consumer of CIL of the Keys and learn about resources in the community and how to obtain access to those so the consumer can reach their goals.

Transition Programs

Community Integration (Transition/Diversion) and Youth Transition Programs connect people with disabilities with services and supports to help them live independently in their community. CIL of the Keys can also assist consumers with how to apply for Home and Community Services, a Medicaid Waiver, or Long-term Care. 

Skills Training and Peer Support

Independent Living Skills Training and Peer Support programs offer consumers the ability to acquire additional skills they may need to increase or maintain their independence while connecting with others who share common interests and barriers. To follow are some examples of these programs:

  • Virtual Recreational and Social Opportunities 

    • Healthy living, financial education, arts and crafts, cooking, and other educational topics.  

    • Peer Support group where we learn about and discuss different topics, such as self-advocacy, self-determination, Independent Living, and more. 

    • Stretch, balance, meditation, and breathe classes. 

  • Employment Support 

    • Goal identification

    • Resume writing 

    • Job search techniques

    • Interview skills

    • Referrals to employment supports, such as the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR)

    • Referrals to listings, job orders, and employer contacts for job-ready consumers

    • Social Security Administration (SSA) benefits counseling and WIPA/Ticket To Work Orientation

  • Computer Classes 

Other Independent Living Programs

  • Assistive devices for self-care and mobility are loaned out at no charge, such as wheelchairs and other equipment at no charge. 

  • Emergency Home Energy Assistance for the Elderly (EHEAP) is a partnership with the Alliance for Aging (AFA) that CIL of the Keys can assist you with accessing.

  • CIL of the Keys offers Education and Outreach in the form of community presentations on topics like Disability Awareness and Etiquette, fraud prevention, career and financial stability, and other benefits and resources.


Becoming a self-advocate starts with knowing your rights and responsibilities as a person with a disability, as well as the obligations of organizations who serve you. Below are examples of assistance CIL of the Keys provides for its consumers in regards to self-advocacy:

  • Accessing and coordinating services, resources, and supports in the community to maximize the person with a disability’s independence.

  • Providing education about consumers’ rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), local and state building codes and other federal laws that protect the rights and responsibilities of people with disabilities and the obligations of organizations who serve them. This can also include how to request accommodations and appeals.

  • Applying for disability income, such as an orientation on how to be successful, submitting an initial application, and appeals.  

  • Managing Social Security issues, such as appeals, reconsiderations, reports, overpayments, and reinstatements.

  • Understanding Medicare, Medicaid, and other health insurance, such as benefits explanation, comparing and enrolling in health care plans, appeals, billing, and claims. We also have a partnership with Alliance for Aging’s Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders (AFA/SHINE) program.

  • Applying for state benefits, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as partners of the state Department of Children and Families (DCF).

  • Planning for hurricane emergencies and communication

Want to learn more?

We are here to assist. Contact us by phone, email, or via our social media channels.

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