A new £20m fund to support more than 1,600 severely disabled people in Wales with their care needs will be devolved to local authorities when the existing UK fund closes at the end of June, Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford announced today.
The Independent Living Fund (ILF), which makes direct cash payments to disabled people with very significant care needs so they can meet the cost of the care and support they need, will be closed by the UK Government on June 30, 2015.
ILF payments can be used for a range of things, such as assistance with eating and drinking; cooking and preparing food and drink; assistance with dressing; cleaning, laundry and other domestic duties.
As of January 30, there were 1,648 people receiving ILF payments in Wales, who received on average just over £335 a week each to meet their needs.
Following a consultation on options to provide ILF support after June30, the Welsh Government has decided to set up a special grant scheme, administered by local authorities to pay existing ILF recipients their current level of funding.
The grant scheme will run from July 2015 until the end of March 2017. Funding of £20.4m has already been confirmed for the period July 2015 to end of March 2016; which is based on the number of people receiving ILF when the current scheme closes on June 30. Funding beyond this date is subject to the next UK Spending Round.
Professor Drakeford said: “The UK Government’s decision to close the ILF has caused anxiety among those who receive support.
“I’m pleased to confirm the future arrangements I am putting in place to support current ILF recipients to continue to live independently.
“Having carefully considered the responses to our consultation and views expressed, I have decided to implement a special grant scheme, administered by local authorities to pay existing ILF recipients their current level of funding.
“I hope the actions the Welsh Government is taking will alleviate some of the concerns expressed by ILF recipients and that they will be able to maintain their current care and support packages under a new process and remove employment concerns raised by their carers.”