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Disabled people denied equipment by social services

Social workers are failing to fulfil their duties towards disabled people by referring them to the Social Fund for adaptations and equipment they are entitled to, according to the social fund commissioner’s annual report.

The report, which will be launched later today, criticises social services departments citing failings in assessment and provision in a number of cases.

In some cases the commissioner, Sir Richard Tilt, found that disabled people who had been assessed as in need of equipment had been passed to the Social Fund when the council had a duty under the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 to provide for these needs.

The report said: “It is unacceptable that people who are often in desperate situations and with urgent needs find themselves passed between their local authority and the Social Fund.”

The commissioner callled on the Department for Work and Pensions to increase the grants budget so that all high priority needs could be met consistently.

Function of the commission

The Social Fund provides government-funded interest free loans and grants to help the poorest and most vulnerable in society with basic things such as clothing and home repairs. People must apply through their local Jobcentre Plus.

The social fund commissioner oversees a team of inspectors who hear complaints from those who are not happy about the job centre’s decision on whether they should have access to the fund.

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