Local authorities will be put in charge of a £330m social care fund for disabled people, under plans published by the Department for Work and Pensions.
The Independent Living Fund, which gives cash payments to 19,373 disabled people, will be closed in 2015. Its funds will be transferred to English councils and to the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland under the proposals, which are out to consultation.
Councils will have a duty to assess the needs of the people using the fund, and decide how much support to offer. The DWP’s consultation document says 94% of the fund’s users “are already part of the mainstream care and support system.”
The document says a review of the ILF in 2007 found it was “highly anomalous” to “continue to administer a large amount of social care funding though a cash limited, discretionary fund administered by a board of trustees under a different set of rules and remits from the mainstream care and support system.”
However, disability groups have voiced concerns that the fund’s users may lose support.