Disabled people were not consulted by the Independent Living Fund before it tightened its eligibility criteria in March, Maria Miller (pictured), minister for disabled people, has revealed.
The ILF, which provides disabled people with money to pay for care, restricted funding to those working at least 16 hours a week, as well as receiving social services support and disability living allowance.
Previously, it had been available also to those receiving income-related benefits and fitting the other categories.
Miller told Community Care the Department for Work and Pensions had conducted an internal investigation into the decision. “The change in the criteria for eligibility were made under the last government and no consultation was done but I understand that at that point in time there was not the time available to do it,” she said.
John Fuller, strategic policy and communication director at the ILF, said: “We are absolutely committed to working with our stakeholders and involving them.”
The DWP also scrutinised the ILF’s decision in June to close its door to new applicants for the rest of 2010-11 because of financial pressures.
Miller said she was disappointed that the ILF had taken this decision but that it was right to protect the funding of the 21,000 people already receiving ILF support.
“We have reviewed what led to that decision and actions have been taken to ensure that financial forecasting and the management of the fund have been changed so that doesn’t happen in the future,” she said.