Independent Living Fund consultation to close
The Independent Living Fund, or ILF, provides financial help so that 19,699 disabled people with complex care needs, can be supported to live at home. A government-run public consultation is currently in place, to get feedback on how ILF users should be supported to live independently beyond 2015, when the fund will cease to exist.
The ILF costs £359m annually and pays out an average of £300 a week per recipient.
The decision to close the fund was made back in 2010, when the government concluded that "given the very different policy context to when the ILF was established in 1988, administering an increasing amount of social care funding outside the mainstream care and support system was no longer appropriate or sustainable". The fund, which was discretionary and managed by trustees, closed to new applications soon afterwards.
On hearing that the ILF was to be phased out, Richard Hawkes, chief executive of disability charity Scope, told BBC News that the decision was "bemusing".
"The fund is comparatively very small and is designed to support disabled people to live at home rather than in care homes," he said.
"It's hard to see how phasing out this fund will do anything but narrow down options and push people towards greater dependence on the state."
The public consultation on future support for ILF users has been running since 12 July and will close to responses on 10 October.
The consultation document states that the needs of ILF users "now can and should be met within a single cohesive care and support system, administered by local authorities" and asks for the views of "users, their carers, local authorities and other interested organisations".