The Benefit System

The changes to the Independent Living Fund

The changes to the Independent Living Fund

The changes to the Independent Living Fund

This week a group of disabled people took the government to the High Court.  This blog post will tell you why.  The UK’s welfare system is going through a period of change. Unemployment and disability benefits are in flux and are undergoing a time of revolutionary reform. This is causing many people to feel fear concerning the future.  One change is the way that the long term, significantly disabled people receive care and support. In December 2010 Maria Miller announced that The Independent Living Fund would be gradually wound down and will completely end in 2015, arguing that;

“…The independent living fund (ILF) .  was poorly structured, leading to unnecessary complexity, duplication of some functions and an unjustifiable geographical variation in take-up. This was followed by the temporary closure of the fund to new users in 2010 when it became clear that insufficient funding had been made available to the fund by the previous Government.”

The government has therefore ceased all new applications and will gradually stop payments to existing clients.  They hope that the scheme will end in 2015.  The  local council’s will now be responsible for funding the care of severally disabled people.

Many disabled people (in particular, Disabled People Against Cuts) have protested against this decision. The criticisms of this scheme have centered on the local council’s ability, or inability,  to fund the system at its present levels. Many individuals, and  councils themselves, argue that they will not be able to fund the care of ‘Severally disabled people’.  Many disabled people argue that the loss of this essential funding will mean that they will no longer be able to support themselves, loosing independence, and that they will be forced to enter institutionalised care.  In addition, the critics of the scheme question the reliability of the government’s consultation process, casting doubts about the groups asked and the manner in which the words of those groups were reported in the final report. DPAC, Carrying out their own consultion process and careful strunity of the Government’s consulation process, have argued that;

 “At least nine of about 80 councils that responded to the consultation in writing appear to have opposed the government’s plans, while many more expressed grave reservations.”

We are currently awaiting the court’s decision. Do they have a point or do you agree with the government that the current system is unsustainable?

By Victoria Richards


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