The Independent Living Fund was intended to help disabled people
live at home and has been so popular it has been extended. Jon
Glasby explains exactly how it operates.
One of my service users has asked me about the Independent
Living Fund . What is it and how do I gain access to it?
The Independent Living Fund (ILF) consists of two discretionary
trusts -Êthe 93 fund and extension fund – which manage an
annual grant provided by the Department of Social Security. The
original ILF ran from 1988 to 1993 to help people with disabilities
live at home rather than in residential care and have greater
control over their care. It was set up as a result of changes in
social security (which were felt to reduce the income available to
disabled people) and was terminated after the implementation of the
NHS and Community Care Act 1990.
However, the popularity of the fund was such that two new
successor funds were established: an extension fund (to continue
payments to recipients of the original ILF) and the 93 Fund (for
new applicants). As a result, the term ILF is usually applied to
the new 93 Fund which accepts new applicants but on different terms
to the old ILF and the extension fund.
To be eligible for ILF 93, applicants must meet all the
- Be 16 to 65 (although those who receive ILF money before they
are 66 can continue to receive it after this age it if they meet
all other criteria).
- Receive the highest rate of disability living allowance (care
- Be able to live in the community for at least the next six
- Have capital of less than £8,000.
- Be assessed as being at risk of entering residential care.
- Receive at least £200 of social services per week (this
includes services provided/ funded by the local authority as well
as direct payments), and be assessed as needing extra care.
Crucially, the first £200 of any weekly care package must
be funded by the local authority, with the ILF making an additional
contribution of up to £375 per week. Needs that the ILF can
fund include domestic and personal care. Help that falls outside
the fund includes nursing needs; child care costs; equipment;
respite in a residential home; recreational activities; gardening;
travel and care provided by close relatives living in the same
house; and personal assistants for someone at a day centre are only
funded in exceptional circumstances.
Applications require input from the applicant themselves and the
local authority. While section one of the application form must be
signed by the applicant (or their appointee where appropriate),
section 2 must be signed by the local authority, stating that the
social services department will contribute at least £200 of
services per week. Prior to applying to the ILF, the local
authority is responsible for carrying out a community care
assessment and drawing up a package of care with the service user
Once an application has been received, the fund will send a
visiting social worker to do a joint visit with the local authority
social worker. Visiting social worker are freelance workers paid a
fee for each visit they make. It is their job to complete a
detailed report and make a recommendation as to the level of
Once an application is accepted, service users will need to
provide details of any personal assistants they are employing or
any care agency they use. Payments are usually made four weeks in
arrears into the user’s bank account and are reviewed annually.
If there are significant changes in the user’s circumstances
(including their finances), the fund will need to be informed.
For further information, contact the Independent Living Fund, PO
Box 183, Nottingham, NG8 3RD. Tel. 0115 942 8191. E-mail: