Charities angry over rule change to Independent Living Fund appeals

A change in government benefit policy could make it much harder for
disabled people to continue to live in the community, disability
campaigners have warned, writes Amy

The Disability Alliance said it was inflexible and unfair for the
government to stop Independent Living Fund payments to people while
they appealed against rulings that stopped or reduced their
Disability Living Allowance.

Payments from the Independent Living Fund, which is financed by
government and aims to support disabled people to live in the
community, previously continued until the appeals process had been

More than 11,000 people using the fund could potentially be
affected, official figures show.

People must be in receipt of the highest rate of Disability Living
Allowance to be eligible for fund payments, which are combined with
money from local authorities to pay for people’s care

A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions said that
the government would reimburse any care expenses that a person
incurred if their appeal was successful.

But a Disability Alliance spokesperson said the new policy could
cause claimants to build up debts, lose access to care and stop
them from being able to live in the community.

Guy Parckar, parliamentary and campaigns officer at disability
charity Leonard Cheshire, said the appeals process typically took
four to five months and that nearly half of appeals were

“If ILF payments stop immediately, and are not reinstated until
after months of the appeals process, then these wrong decisions on
DLA could prove even more damaging and costly to claimants,” he

The fund changed its policy after it received legal advice that,
under its regulations, it was not legally allowed to continue
paying awards while an appeal was ongoing.

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