The Department for Work and Pensions is seeking views on how disabled people can take control of state funds spent on them through wide-ranging individual budgets.
The DWP is legislating to give disabled people a “right to control” state support, through the current Welfare Reform Bill, and today launched a consultation on how this can be implemented in practice.
The consultation will inform the design of a small number of pilots to test the idea, starting next year and running for two-to three years.
The policy is designed to extend direct payments and personal budgets for disabled people beyond social care to other funding streams and enable users to pool funds into an individual budget so that they can have as much control over their support as possible.
Proposed funding streams include:-
- Access to Work, which helps meet the costs of getting and being in work.
- The Independent Living Funds, which provide cash payments to provide social care for disabled people.
- Supporting People, which funds supported housing.
- Disabled Facilities Grant, which funds home adaptations.
- Workstep, which provides supported employment for disabled people.
- Disabled students’ allowances, which help meet travel and support costs for students.
Overlap with individual budgets
There is a significant degree of overlap with the Department of Health’s individual budget pilots, which ran in 13 areas from 2005-7, and were designed to test how funding could be pooled for disabled and older people from a range of funding streams.
Key differences between the two schemes include the fact that ‘right to control’ will apply to all disabled people, not just social care service users, and that it will also be backed by legislation.
The IB pilots found there were legislative and administrative barriers to pooling funding streams for users.
The consultation closes on 30 September.