The Independent Living Fund has barred disabled people from applying for its care payments for the rest of 2010-11 to stave off a funding crisis.
The ILF announced the decision today, just three months after it unveiled controversial plans to restrict new applications to disabled people in work.
That decision sparked fury from disabled activists and the Scottish government, while council leaders said the restriction would shunt costs onto local authorities, as they would have to fund full care packages for people who would previously have been eligible for ILF support.
The ILF’s latest move is likely to provoke further, and possibly greater, anger.
It said that it would be able to help 600 new service users who had already applied for funding in 2010-11, but otherwise it would have to focus its £359m budget on its 21,000 existing users.
ILF chief executive Patrick Boyle said: “Our first priority is the 21,000 disabled people we currently support to achieve high quality independent lives. Our trustees have acted quickly in their decision and to meet their responsibility to manage within budget.”
The fund said it was writing to all applicants and existing users to inform them of the news and would be “continuing its dialogue” with councils, disabled people’s organisations and others.