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Wednesday, 22 September 2010

The Independent Living Fund

The Independent Living Fund makes payments to disabled people to help them lead a more independent life. You can use payments from the fund to pay a care agency or to employ someone to give you personal and domestic care in your home.

Who can get it

The Independent Living Fund (ILF) will not be accepting any new applications for the remainder of the 2010-11 financial year.

If the ILF is able to accept applications in the future, you need to fulfill the following conditions:

  • be self-employed or paid to work for 16 hours or more each week
  • live in the UK
  • be over 16 and under 65 when your application is received
  • already get social services support worth at least £340 a week or £17,680 a year - this can include direct payments or services from your local council, like going to a day centre
  • get or are entitled to the highest rate care component of Disability Living Allowance
  • have less than £23,000 in savings or capital - this includes any money your partner has, if you have a partner

How much you can get

The amount you get is based on the cost of the care you need, worked out on an hourly or weekly basis.

The maximum available payment is £475 per week. Your savings, income and certain other benefits and expenses also affect how much you get.

The Independent Living Fund has leaflets explaining this in more detail.

How the money is paid

Independent Living Fund payments are made directly into your account. This might be a bank, building society, Post Office or National Savings account.

When your award is reviewed, the Independent Living Fund checks your bank statements. For this reason, many people find it helpful to have a separate account just for the money from the Independent Living Fund. You do not need to have a separate account if you do not want to.

Effect on benefits

Payments from the fund do not affect your benefits. This is because they are used to pay for your care and are not counted as income.

When the Independent Living Fund does your financial assessment, it takes into account half of your Disability Living Allowance and full Severe Disability Premium, if you get it.

What you can use it for

You can use payments from the Independent Living Fund to pay for support and services. You can use a care agency or employ your own personal assistant to help you with personal and domestic tasks including:

  • toileting, bathing, washing and dressing
  • eating and drinking
  • cooking and shopping
  • laundry, cleaning and other household tasks

You may be able to get personal care when you are socialising or at work.

What you cannot use it for

You cannot use payments from the Independent Living Fund to pay for:

  • care provided by a partner or relative (including in-laws) who lives with you
  • any care provided by social services
  • maintaining your home or paying bills
  • gardening
  • adaptations to your home
  • equipment, including wheelchairs
  • petrol, taxi fares and other travel expenses
  • holidays
  • childcare
  • private hospital or residential care home fees
  • hairdressing, chiropody (footcare) or physiotherapy

This is not a complete list. Please contact the Independent Living Fund to check if you are unsure about whether you can use your payment for a service.

What happens next

After you have been getting payments from the Independent Living Fund for six months, one of our assessors will contact you to arrange a meeting. This is to see whether all your needs are being met and to look at the records you have been keeping.

After that, you will normally be visited every two years to check you are still getting the right level of payments.

You can ask to have a friend, relative or your personal assistant at any of the meetings.

Your responsibilities

If you do get money from the Independent Living Fund, you have responsibilities. You must:

  • keep records of the people you employ and how much you pay them, or keep the agency invoices
  • tell the Independent Living Fund if anything changes in your life, for example changes to the benefits you receive or somebody moving into or out of your home
  • return any money that you do not spend on care to the Independent Living Fund

How to appeal

If you are unhappy about a decision or award made by the Independent Living Fund, you can ask for a 'decision review' within four weeks of the decision date.

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