The Independent Living Funds is now closed 2016

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Newsletter for Disability Organisations August 2004

The Independent Living Fund aims to support people with disabilities so they can live independently at home, rather than in residential care. The Fund makes payments to people with disabilities so that can afford to employ personal assistants or an agency to provide the support they need to remain at home.

The Independent Living Fund is actually made up of two funds: the Extension Fund (which makes payments to people who applied before 31 March 1993) and the 93 Fund which makes payments to those who applied after 1 April 1993 and is open to new applications.

Details of the 93 Fund’s eligibility criteria for new applications is given on the back page of this newsletter.

The Independent Living Fund is based in Nottingham and has in the region of 160 people working at its office. In addition there are over 80 self-employed assessors with a social work background who carry out the assessment visits. The Funds also use a network of Contact Officers within Local Authorities across the UK to help disseminate information.

This newsletter is especially for organisations that support and represent disabled people because we think it is important that you are aware of what the Funds have to offer and are kept up to date about developments and changes. We also seek to develop our relationships with your organisations and value the feedback you can give us from your direct contact with the people who already use the Funds and people who could benefit in the future.

Please feel free to comment on any of the items in this newsletter or any other issues you may have about the Independent Living Funds. Details of how to contact the Funds are on the back page.

The Independent Living Funds Website

There is a wealth of information on the website. Currently we are reviewing both the look and the content to make it even better. Here is an overview of the type of information you can find there that could actually help you with your own work:

Information Leaflets

The 15 leaflets in the User Guide are all on the web. These are the same leaflets that are sent to our users following their assessment visit. They cover everything from general information about the Funds to details of how payments are worked out, advice on employing personal assistants, how the Funds treat capital and savings, the review process and how to request an increase from us. These leaflets were put together with great help from our Client User Group (people who use the Funds) and the information is presented in a clear and easy to follow format.

Professionals’ User Guide

Also available on the web, this reads like a larger, more in-depth and technical version of the User Guide. Designed by our Customer Services team primarily for Social Workers and other professionals, it details the processes and procedures the Funds use to calculate financial offers and awards. Both the User Guide and the Professionals’ User Guide are updated regularly to ensure the information is correct and accurate and in line with current policy and procedure.

User Profile Analysis

For anyone who is interested in finding out about who is accessing the Funds the new, improved analysis on the website can now offer a breakdown of our client caseload in terms of:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Household (for example, people who live alone, people who live with parents, etc.)
  • Benefit entitlement
  • Disability
  • Geographical distribution

The current User Profile analysis (recorded 30 June 2004) shows that the Funds support a total caseload of 16,531 users. The 93 Fund supports 10,497 and the Extension Fund 6,034. In addition at that date there were 996 applications in progress and 757 offers of financial assistance waiting to be taken up.

The other breakdowns give a greater insight into our client base. To meet the provisions of the Race Relations Act 2000 we now invite applicants to complete a questionnaire about their ethnic group. From this we at least have partial information with which to provide analysis based on ethnicity.

We also think it is useful for support groups and organisations such as yourselves to have a breakdown of our client base by disability. For example, the most recent analysis shows that on 30 June 2004 there were 4,803 users with a severe learning disability.

The analysis also shows how many users we have in each Local Authority area, offering a breakdown of the geographical distribution of the Funds. We are currently collecting information from the 2001 Census and will use this to provide comparative figures proportional to population in the near future.

We are very interested to know what you think of this User Profile Analysis and welcome comments. We want to know how useful it is - and if there is other information we could provide that we don’t already. See the back page for details of how to get in touch.

To visit the Independent Living Funds website: http://www.irfs.org.uk

News Round-up

Out And About
The Independent Living Funds held its first roadshow on 25 May 2004 at the Centre for Independent Living in Glasgow. The event was an opportunity for Funds’ users and other interested people to meet with staff, get information, discuss their funding, meet other users and also talk to representatives from GCVS, SPAEN, The Scottish Low-Pay Society and the Inland Revenue Business Support team. The day was a great success and we are committed to running similar days later in the year with the next one planned for Devon and Cornwall.

Going Up!
The maximum sums that the Funds can pay have increased from 1 April 2004. The 93 Fund is able to pay a maximum weekly award of £420 now while Extension Fund users can receive a maximum of £715 per week. All payments are based on actual care need and circumstances so not all users automatically receive these higher amounts. The Funds review all cases every two years to ensure they have accurate details of a client’s situation, however a request for extra funding can be made at any time by contacting the office.

The Publication Scheme
As mentioned in the last newsletter the Funds have produced a Publication Scheme as a requirement of the Freedom of the Information Act. This scheme is now available to look at on the Funds’ website in English or Welsh language. The scheme details what information held by the Funds’ is publicly available and in what formats.

Complaints and Reviews

The Funds have appointed a Complaints and Review Manager (Avwiene Etefia). If a user is unhappy with a decision the Funds have made or wishes to complain about the service they have received they should contact the office and explain their situation. Their request will be dealt with by Avwiene (or someone higher if appropriate). Just so Avwiene doesn’t get too down-hearted, he also wants to hear from people who think they have received good service! Tel: (0115) 945 0736 or email avwiene.etefia@irfs.org.uk

Coming Soon...

Our Annual Report will be published in September. The report looks at the progress the Funds have made over the last year in achieving our business aims. It will also be available to view on the website. Check next month for updates.

Also from next month we will be posting consultation documents on the website. People will be invited to comment on various aspects of policy.

Eligibility Criteria - Who can apply?

To be eligible for the 1993 Fund a person must:

  • Be living in the UK
  • Be at least 16 years old and under 66 years old
  • Receive (or have an underlying entitlement to) the Highest Rate Care Component of Disability Living Allowance or equivalent Attendance Allowance
  • Receive support from their Local Authority Social Services Department (or council with Social Services responsibility) to the value of at least £200 per week
  • Have capital of less than £18,500
  • Be expected to live independently in the community for at least the next six months

Application forms can be obtained by ringing the ILF switchboard and asking for Customer Services. The form can also be downloaded from the Funds’ website.

What Can The Funding Be Used For?

The Funds provide an individual with a financial award they can use to purchase the personal assistance they need. They can choose to employ a care agency or private carers or to use self-employed workers. The Fund is intended to pay for personal and domestic care (such as bathing, toileting, washing, dressing, cooking, laundry, shopping and cleaning) but can also be used for assistance needed when not at home (for instance when going out to the cinema or theatre, leisure or sporting activities, visiting a place of worship, and sometimes in the workplace or an educational establishment).

The Fund can also pay for the cost of advertising and recruiting personal assistants, employers’ Liability Insurance, Tax and National Insurance contributions for privately-employed carers, payroll, holiday pay for carers and some additional costs for live-in carers.

How To Contact Us

By Phone: (0845) 601 8815
By Email (general enquiries): funds@irfs.org.uk

Write to us at:
Independent Living Funds
PO Box 7525
Nottingham
NG2 4ZT

Fax: (0115) 945 0945 / (0115) 945 0946
Textphone: (0845) 601 8816

Let Us Know What You Think...

Comments about the content of this newsletter should be made to: Jon Duckworth, Client Liaison Manager. Tel: (0115) 945 0773 / Email: jon.duckworth@irfs.org.uk - or by writing to the above address.

“ILF funding has made it possible for my daughter to remain at home and for me to have excellent help from the carers. I wish to express my appreciation for all the wonderful help and the courtesy and understanding of your staff.”
[Parent of an ILF user]


The Independent Living Funds is now closed 2016
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