Font Size:



  • The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) is the oldest cross disability, grassroots organization run by and for people with disabilities. Founded in 1982, NCIL represents over 700 organizations and individuals including: Centers for Independent Living (CILs), Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs), individuals with disabilities, and other organizations that advocate for the human and civil rights of people with disabilities throughout the United States.

    NCIL was established four years after the 1978 amendments to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The 1978 amendments added statutory language and funding for the formation of Centers for Independent Living. The Executive Directors of the newly federally funded CILs met regularly with Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to discuss issues related to the development and expansion of CILs nationwide. Believing that the views of CIL consumers and people with disabilities, as a whole, were not being heard by the federal government, the Administration or the Congress, the CIL executive directors worked to organized and establish the National Council on Independent Living - an organization governed by people with disabilities advocating for the development and expansion of a nationwide network of centers for independent living.

    For the first 10 years of NCIL's existence, the organization was located in the city and state of the standing President. During those 10 years, NCIL worked diligently to increase funding in Title VII, Part B of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended, in order for more community based, consumer controlled CILs to open around the country. NCIL's advocacy activities also included ensuring that people with disabilities who participated in various programs under the Rehabilitation Act gained greater control of the services provided to them.