The closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) appears to be in chaos this week, with many ILF-users yet to be told how much support they will be entitled to, just weeks before the fund shuts for good.
Disability News Service (DNS) has spoken to 14 ILF-recipients, in an effort to build a picture of how local authorities across England are dealing with the closure and the transition to a system in which care will be solely funded by local authorities.
ILF is a government-resourced trust which helps about 16,500 people with the highest support needs to live independently, but the coalition government decided that it should close on 30 June, with non-ring-fenced funding transferred to councils and devolved governments in Wales and Scotland.
English local authorities will receive this transition funding for one year from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), but do not have to spend that money on their former ILF-users, or even on social care.
The picture built up by DNS is one in which a small minority of local authorities appear to have planned carefully for transition by working alongside local disabled people’s organisations.
But many ILF-users in other areas – which appear to be in the majority – are saying that their councils have not even told them yet how many hours of support they can expect once the fund closes.