On the 1st May 2010 the Government closed the ILF to any new applicants to ensure they could continue to support those already receiving the fund. In December, the Minister for Disabled People - Maria Miller MP - issued a statement on the future of the ILF.
In the Minister's statement she announced that this situation will now be made permanent and that ILF will exclusively fund those who are lucky enough to already be in receipt of ILF payments. She states that the Government will safeguard the fund for current recipients for the remainder of this Parliament. However, although this may seem a positive sign, it bodes ominously for the future of the fund as of 2015.
The Government will be consulting on their plans for ILF in early 2011 although no date has yet been given for its release.
Many high lesion SCI people who need large care and support packages from their local authority via direct services, direct payments or personal/individual budgets rely on ILF payments to enable them to do more than just get up in the mornings and go to bed at night. Extra ILF payments enable them to partake in such things as family life, social and leisure activities, shopping, volunteering and generally partaking in community life.
SIA is concerned that if the ILF closes more pressure will be placed on local authority budgets as they are asked to pick up the short fall and overall awards for care and support packages will be driven down.
A newly injured person with a high lesion SCI who has been discharged since the 1st May 2010 will not be able to access the ILF unless the Government’s position is reversed. SIA believes that as many as 75 new SCI people could be affected over the year 1st May 2010 – 30th April 2011 effectively creating a two tier system for those already claiming ILF and those unable to do so.
Please write to your MP and encourage them to sign up to the Early Day Motion against closing the ILF. You can download a template letter below.