Overhaul and extend the Independent Living Fund, says review

A government-commissioned review today demands a complete overhaul of the Independent Living Fund , which funds care for disabled people across the UK.

The review said the Independent Living Fund (ILF), which is managed by two government quangos, was inequitable, did not sufficiently promote self-determination by users and its funding decisions lacked transparency.

Writing exclusively in today’s (15 March) Community Care consultants Melanie Henwood and Bob Hudson said: “The ILF is anomalous and – in many ways anachronistic. Not only do many people not know about its existence, but its eligibility criteria mean that access is by no means straightforward.”

The review criticised the exclusion from the fund of claimants aged over 66 and many current or former residents of long-stay hospitals. It called for access to the fund, which currently provides £264m a year to 18,000 people, to be extended.

The review rejected shifting the ILF into local government coffers but said it should be integrated into individual budgets, when they are rolled out across the country, as expected from 2009-10. These should be administered by councils, and have a uniform, national system of assessment, resource allocation and charging.

The government said it would consider the report’s recommendations and report on them before the summer recess.

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