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Q: What is independent living?

A: Consumer autonomy and consumer control, so individuals with disabilities have choices regarding their living and employment situations, transportation, recreation and social activities. Individuals with disabilities are given supports so they can fully participate in their communities and make decision about their everyday lives.

Q: Are all CILs called AIM?

A: No. Each CIL has its own name. For a national directory, go to There are more than 500 CIL's nationwide and more than 3,000 throughout the world.

Q: How do centers for independent living differ from other service organizations?

A: CILs have substantial involvement from people with disabilities in policy decisions and delivering services. The basic idea about independent living is that people with disabilities know best what services they need in order to live independently. A majority of a CIL’s board and staff must consist of individuals with disabilities. CILs are required to be community based and nonresidential.

Q: Do you provide or pay for housing?

A: As an independent-living center, AIM is nonresidential and does not provide housing. AIM provides information and assistance on community-based housing options and funding sources for subsidies.

Q: What is peer counseling?

A: Peer counseling allows individuals to share their experiences with people facing similar issues, concerns or disabilities.

Q: Does AIM only serve individuals in wheelchairs?

A: No. AIM provides all of its services to any individual with a disability. It also provides resources to families and friends of individuals with disabilities, the businesses that serve individuals with disabilities and anyone with an interest in learning more about the disability community.

Q: Is there a fee for services?

A: Information on our services is free, and most individual consumer services and programs are free. Some programs or services are Medicaid billable. Some programs do have a fee schedule: ADA consultation or benefits advisement may be billable to the individual or community agency that requests the service. No individual will be turned away from a CIL due to an inability to pay.

Q: Do I have to join AIM in order to get services?

A: AIM does not have a membership requirement. We just need the individual to make the first contact to the best of his/her ability. AIM staff is accessible by phone, TTY and email, and can be met in person, by appointment, in our offices.

Q: What if I can't leave my home, am hospitalized or in a nursing home?

A: Consumers who can’t travel to AIM's offices can arrange for a home visit by an AIM advocate.