Severely disabled people have been denied access to Independent Living Fund care funding despite receiving indications that they would receive it, the ILF has admitted.
The cash-strapped organisation’s announcement in March, that it would severely restrict eligibility for new claims from 1 May onwards to clients in work, triggered a flood of applications from people looking to beat the deadline.
In less than two months, the ILF received about 2,600 applications, equivalent to 60% of its annual average total in previous years, but it was only able to grant 600 of them.
The ILF’s strategic policy director John Fuller said that those rejected included people who had been given indications by ILF assessors that they would receive funding because they were eligible under the old criteria – they received disability living allowance and £320 a week in care funding from councils, and were in work or on income-related benefits.
As a cash-limited discretionary fund, the ILF can refuse eligible applications, but this is the first time it has done so, Fuller said.
He said: “Where we’ve made a formal offer we’ve honoured it. The hardest cases are those where people received a visit from an ILF assessor and the local authority and it’s been said to them that it appears they meet the criteria and it’s going forward. But [assessors] know they can’t make final commitments.”
However, one officer from a council learning disability team, said she had three clients who had the prospect of additional care and support “dangled in front of them and now it has been taken away”, and said the ILF had a “moral duty to honour these applications”.
The ILF last week announced that it would refuse all applications for the rest of 2010-11, even under the new restricted criteria, and not meet increases in the cost of care for existing users.
John Nawrockyi, joint chair of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services’ disability network, said the ILF’s decisions were based on the fact that its budget had not kept pace with demand, but he added that they had added pressure to already-stretched adult services budgets.
ILF closes door on new applicants for care payments