NCIL Guiding Principles

As of January 4, 2022

National Council on Independent Living

Standard Operating Procedures



Disability is an expected natural condition of life. Therefore, NCIL believes that:

1. The rights & empowerment of people with disabilities should be promoted, therefore, NCIL will advocate for procedures, policies, systems, regulations and legislation that promote their civil and human rights.

2. People with disabilities—any disability at any age—have the right to live in the community of his or her choice and to fully participate in any and all aspects of the community.

3. People with disabilities have the right to live outside of institutions and/or nursing homes.

4. People with disabilities have the right to receive personal assistance services when living outside of an institution and/or nursing home.

5. Discrimination against people based on disability, race, creed, ethnicity, age, gender, and/or sexual orientation must not be tolerated.

6. Diversity increases the strength of any organization and therefore, NCIL strives to achieve a membership diverse in disability, race, creed, ethnicity, age, gender, gender identity and expression, and sexual orientation.

7. Federal, State or Local governments must enforce and implement all civil right laws that protect the rights and freedoms of people with disabilities.

8. People with disabilities have the right to control their own destiny, therefore, they must be provided with all the information regarding all options in order to make informed choices.

9. Children and young people with disabilities are the future of America; therefore, they must have access to quality education that includes the services and programs that allow them to fully participate in an integrated educational system.

10. People with disabilities have the right to live in the setting of their choice. Therefore, they must have access to accessible, affordable, integrated housing options.

11. Consumer control over programs and/or services, as well as services delivered to a cross-disability, cross-cultural population, must be incorporated into any system that promotes full integration and participation of people into society.

12. People with disabilities have the right to move freely throughout the community, therefore, they must have access affordable, accessible, and reliable transportation.

13. People with disabilities have the right to economic self-sufficiency and must have opportunities and the resources to use their talents and abilities to reach their career potential.

14. People with disabilities have the right to quality, affordable health care, therefore, the health care system must provide:

a. a comprehensive basic benefits package; and

b. individualized services related to specialists, durable medical equipment, prescription drugs and wellness programs.

15. People with disabilities must have access to affordable, effective assistive technology.

16. The issues that persons with disabilities have in common override the issues that mark their differences.

17. NCIL values its membership as the body that sets organizational advocacy priorities and elects the NCIL Governing Board.

18. Those organizations, which share NCIL’s values and promote the rights and empowerment of persons with disabilities, should actively participate as NCIL members.

19. There should be a nationwide network of Centers for Independent Living, which assures that persons with disabilities have ready access to centers. Centers for Independent Living are:

  • Consumer-controlled, cross disability, community based, not-for-profit corporations which are nonresidential.
  • Organizations that offer the five core services: 1) Systems and Individual Advocacy, 2) Information & Referral, 3) Peer Support, 4) Independent Living Skills Training, and 5) Youth Transition and Transition and Diversion from Institutions.
  • Committed to the inclusion of diverse cultural and ethnic populations.

20. NCIL values Statewide Independent Living Councils as the organizations that are directly responsible for advocating for the expansion of the network of CILs to enhance their ability to fully serve their communities.