The closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF)

Crippen's Crip Catchers

Crippen’s cartoon about Cameron and Clegg as Crip Catchers

During the early months of their establishment the Coalition government said they would always support those people within our society with the greatest need. This would include those disabled people who chose to live in society rather than in a residential care home or similiar institution. As we now know, they lied.

As well as implimenting the harshest cuts to services that this country has ever seen, branding disabled people as benefit scroungers and a drain upon society and cutting their benefits, in 2010 this same government closed all new applications to the Independent Living Fund (ILF).

The ILF was specifically set up in 1988 to provide funds for disabled people to manage their own care and support. These funds came from a central government pot to aid those with the highest support needs to remain independent. This also resulted in many more disabled people being able to make the choice between living independently in the community or being incarcerated in a residential home.

The recent change not only prevented newly disabled people from accessing this support and choosing to become independent, but it also sent a direct message to those disabled people who were currently benefitting from the fund, that time was running out for them. Without this fund, many disabled people would be unable to continue living independently and would have no choice but to move (or go back) into residential care.

We then learned that the ILF will be discontinued at the end of 2014. This means that most of the 25,000 users of the fund will have to rely on local authorities to make up the money that they need to remain out of institutional care.

Local Authorities, however, already face severe financial cuts and many disabled people have been fighting to ensure their Local Authority maintains their existing support packages. We all know that the chances of cash strapped Councils making up the ILF shortfall are minimal or non-existent.

By the government placing the onus on Local Authorities, many are saying that they will have no choice but to place those who are currently recieving ILF into residential care homes.

Apart from the obvious loss of independence, many disabled people going into institutions run the risk of experiencing physical, mental and sexual abuse – something that has been well documented in recent years.

Another problem is that Local Authorities may only have space within inappropriate care homes, such as those that cater for older people. Again, there is documented evidence of young disabled people having spent their days in such places, separated from their peers and lacking any form of social interaction with other young people.

Currently the main focus of protest at these changes is through the organisation Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC). You can obtain more information and details of how to protest about these proposed changes by clicking here.

Please support other disabled people in making a stand against this latest threat to our rights to have an equal place within society

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9 responses to this post.

  1. Several people have contacted me to say that without their payments from the ILF, they’ll not be able to continue to live in their own homes and will have to make their support workers/PA’s redundant. It will also mean, almost certainly, that these disabled people will also lose their own employment and no longer pay any National Insurance contributions or tax.

    One wonders what the government are hoping to achieve by these changes, other than to ensure that these disabled people, who have been active citizens, contributing financially and socially, are off the street and safely locked away once again in institutions!

    Reply

  2. Apart from the fact that the link didnt work for me, I would rather starve than go back into care.

    Reply

  3. Posted by love1salluneed on 28/09/2012 at 13:15

    I remember way back when disabled people were in institutions, then I remember when they discussed care in the community and along came a new way, as they thought it was the cheaper option (Ha!) close the institutions and bring disabled and vulnerable people into the embrace of the community and enable them to help themselves. Then came the talk, it is costing too much, they do not contribute, they do not work, they are scroungers, we need to re think and create another system where the most vulnerable are ‘cared for’ in an institution,a group home? Take away their ability to self determine as they do not know what is best for themselves!

    What is next the gas chamber? Lethal injection? I was a senior social worker, and watched as people struggled from one way to another, then found increased independence and a new found ability to be self directing, and at the time I argued this was not a cheaper choice, a fair and just choice. Nolw the powers that be wish to smash it all to pieces, and cause untold upheaval, stress, agonies and possible even more deaths…………not just via Atos either.

    It is inhumane, unjust, paternalistic, short-term thinking, and ideolologically and financial led.

    It is NOT in the interests of any person who happens to be vulnerable, disabled or elderly.

    IF we really were all in this together, then ‘we’ would act like a family and embrace everyone and provide each with dignity, respect and right to resources and a decent life.

    Reply

    • The irony is that when Labour proposed cutting benefits etc., back in the 9o’s, the Tories were up in arms and told them that “those who are disabled should get the support they need to lead a fulfilling life with dignity. I am proud that we in the Conservative party never thought of taking such measures when we were in power.” (I’m blogging the full context of this next … so watch this space)

      Reply

  4. […] « The closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) 30 Sep Crippen takes his gloves off for Cameron! Posted 30/09/2012 by crippencartoons in Uncategorized. 10 Comments Posted on 2012/10/02 by projectbrainsaver « The closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) […]

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