In this section
Supporting People Grant
Customer Services Officer
Supporting People Grant (SPG) funding is considered to be outside the joint local authority (LA)/ILF package (This means any monies will not be included within the joint maximum sum limit of £715 per week)
The Funds have issued a new policy regarding the Supporting People Grant; the new policy will impact Fund users in different ways.
If the Local Authority (LA) has secured a SPG prior to the 19th April and the ILF allowed the LA to reduce its input due to the introduction of SPG monies, the ILF will allow the reduction to continue. If in the future ILF is notified of a change in the Fund user’s circumstances the ILF would expect the LA to increase their contribution to the level it was before the SPG was secured, before the Funds will consider a contribution towards an increased need.
If existing Funds’ users who secure a SPG after the 19th April, which results in a reduction in the overall cost of the package, the LA would be expected to maintain its established level of funding whist the ILF should decrease its input.
If an individual applies to the 93 Fund after the 19th April the Funds will need to establish their eligibility for ILF, the level of SPG and the start date of SPG. We also need to ask for details of LA care that is been provided for more than 3 months before securing a SPG. If the level of care provided by the LA prior to the SPG was higher than the current or proposed level of care we will expect the LA to increase to its former level of involvement before the Funds’ will consider an increase.
As with all other changes to packages, and the way they are funded, the LA representative must ensure that the ILF is kept fully informed of all developments. Failure to do so may result in a package continuing to operate against ILF policy and may result in an overpayment to the Local Authority.
Maximum Sums Increase
Customer Services Officer
The maximum weekly payment from Independent Living (Extension) Fund has increased from £665 per week to £715 per week and for the Independent Living (1993) Fund has increased from £395 per week to £420 per week. The 93 Funds’ maximum payment is dependent on the monetary input from the Local Authority (LA).
The overall maximum limit of the Funds and Social Services input for the first six months of a 1993 Fund jointly funded package will also increase from £665 per week to £715 per week. These increases will take place from 1st April 2004. The minimum LA input has not increased from £200 net per week.
The Merge of the Funds
The Extension Fund and 93 Fund have normally worked separately in order to clear casework and effectively administer cases; this means contacting different caseworkers depending on which Fund administers the users payments.
It has always been the plan for the two Funds to merge and this has taken effect from 5 April 2004. Therefore all operational staff, within the Funds now deal with both Extension and 93 Fund cases. This means contacting only one caseworker depending on the surname of the Fund user. This will not affect the rules of the Extension Fund and 1993 Fund or change the monetary amounts available.
This is a major change in the way the Funds work and all staff have undergone a comprehensive training programme in order to learn the differences between Extension and 93 Fund work. Understandably, despite this training it may take time for staff to familiarise themselves with their new caseloads so in the early stages of the merge please bear with us in the event of any delays.
Over time it is anticipated that users will experience a more streamlined service from the Funds. The Funds are striving towards consistency in procedures and application of policy. Merging the Funds is a major factor in us trying to achieve this and we hope that all our users will benefit from an improved service as a result.
If you have any questions or concerns about any of the above, or the merge in general you are welcome to contact the Customer Services team.
Professionals’ User Guide (PUG)
Customer Service Officer
The PUG was sent to all LA Contact Officers on 31 March 2004.
One copy of the PUG has been made available per LA, and sent to the nominated Contact Officer within that LA. Additional copies, or replacement copies, can be purchased from the Funds’ Information Manager, Simon French. firstname.lastname@example.org
From 1st April 2004 the PUG was made available to be accessed, and downloaded free of charge, from the Funds’ website www.irfs.org.uk.
The PUG is to be used as a general guide and may not be applicable to individual circumstances.
The PUG will be updated quarterly with any policy changes.
If you have any queries please do not hesitate to Robyn Lewis. email@example.com
Increases to Care Costs
At this time of year, a lot of care agencies increase their hourly rates. This is also the time of year for personal assistants to be considering a pay rise. In order for us to re-assess funding in line with increases, it is vital that Social Services Departments are aware of the need for the Fund to be informed as soon as possible where these changes are imminent.
We will need to be informed of the following:
- current SSD input with new rates where applicable on an individual basis
- any charge made to the Fund user
- where a Fund user is in receipt of direct payments, a full breakdown of rates and on-costs.
Fund users and Social Workers need to be aware that a delay in providing this information will lead to delays, with users out of pocket until re-assessment is possible. Delays mean Fund users being put in the position of having to provide evidence of care i.e. invoices and statements of care.
Speed is of the essence!!!
Fund Users Contribution
Customer Service Officer
Just a few words to clarify the amount of money a Funds user is expected to contribute towards their ILF award. All Fund users are expected to pay half of their DLA care component, which is currently £29.40. If the Fund user is in receipt of Income Support (IS) the fund users would only be asked to contribute ½ their DLA, which is currently £29.40 In addition if they receive IS and live alone they would also be asked to contribute their Severe Disability Premium of £44.15.
For those Fund users not in receipt of IS the Funds will carry out a financial assessment taking into account a Fund user’s (and their partner’s) income against the income they would receive under IS rulings, given their circumstances and essential outgoings such as rent or mortgage, council tax and water rates.
As part of the financial assessment, the Funds include all income (other than earnings) of a Fund user and/or their partner. By partner, we mean husband, wife, or someone the Fund user lives with as if they are husband or wife. The Funds disregard earnings whether it is the Fund users, or their partner's; however we do take account of any benefits they receive.
After the notional assessment has been completed the Funds user will be told how much the Funds expect them to contribute towards their care package in addition to £29.40, which all Fund users are asked to contribute. The Fund user’s contribution is commonly described by ILF staff as their Available Income (AI), this is to distinguish it from the “charge” made by the Local Authority. The AI is offset against any charge the local authority makes; this is to prevent the Fund user being double charged.
Contact Officer Information Days
Customer Services Officer
All Contact Officers’ should have received an invitation to attend one of the forthcoming Contact Officer Information Days. It is entirely your choice which venue you decide to attend, but it is important that you complete the booking form, noting any special requirements you have, and return it to us.
The booking form also asks you to note any issues you would like to discuss at the day, this is helpful to us as we can be better prepared to address your query on the day.
If you would like a colleague to accompany you please note their name on the booking form, however space is limited at certain venues, so first come first served.
Race Equality Update
Client Liaison Manager
The Fund is continuing to focus on whether there are aspects of its processes and organisation that might deter or prevent applications from black and ethnic minority communities, and whether it can do more to encourage applications from these communities.
So far we have had talks with BME disability groups in London that have proved very enlightening. We aim to take a number of projects forward from these talks – for example, reviewing our promotional and information literature, providing information direct to local Black and Ethnic Minority groups, translating documents, and being generally clearer about the type of activities ILF funding can be used to support.
At present, London groups have been very proactive in making contact and I am still very interested to hear from any groups known to other Local Authorities who may be able to get involved in consultation. I am also particularly keen to hear from groups representing disabled people from Asian and Chinese communities as I am led to believe these may be the most under-represented ethnic groups. If anyone can provide advice or contact details, or would simply like to know more about the work we are doing, please contact me: Jon Duckworth, Client Liaison Manager.
Independent Living Funds
PO Box 7525
Tel: 0845 6018815
Fax: 0115 9450948
Text: 0845 6018816