Easier read – Disabled people’s rights if the Independent Living Fund closes

by stevebroach

I’m very grateful to Anne Collis at Barod for taking the time to turn my long post about the closure of the Independent Living Fund into easier words.

This is about England. Scotland and Wales have different rules.

The Government says they are closing the Independent Living Fund on 30 June 2015.

Disabled people are still campaigning to #SaveILF. Two disabled people have complained to the United Nations Disability Committee. But the Government has not yet changed its plans.

This is what the Government plans to do in England if the Independent Living Fund closes.

The Government will give extra money to local councils. But:

  • They are giving less money than the Independent Living Fund spent
  • The local council does not have to spend the extra money on support for disabled people

Many people are very worried and angry about this.

  • The Independent Living Fund supports 18,000 disabled people. This is a lot of people.
  • How can local councils give them good support and make budget cuts?

There are elections in May. Only the Green party has said they will save the Independent Living Fund.

So we need to plan for 1 July 2015.

Disabled people need to know their legal rights.

Anyone getting money from the Independent Living Fund needs to plan for 1 July 2015.

From 1 July 2015, people who get support from the local council and the Independent Living Fund will get all their support from the local council.

By law, people should still get enough support.

But I think people may need to challenge their local council to get this support.

The Care Act 2014 is a law. Everyone must do what a law says.

Chapter 23 (from paragraph 26) of the Care Act guidance says what happens when the Independent Living Fund closes. There is also an Easy Read version of the guidance.

The Care Act 2014 says that local councils must meet all a disabled person’s “eligible needs” when the Independent Living Fund closes.

This means local councils must know each person’s “eligible needs” before 1 July 2015.

The Care Act has rules to work out someone’s “eligible needs”.

“Eligible needs” are needs that the local council must meet.

Local councils must make plans so people do not have problems with support while the Independent Living Fund is being closed

You may have “eligible needs” if you need support so you can:

  • Be safe at home
  • Keep your home in a fit state
  • Make and keep friendships
  • Get involved in work, training, learning or volunteering
  • Use community services
  • Care for a child (if you have a child)

Section 18 of the Care Act 2014 just says the local council must “meet needs”.

Some local councils may think this means they can put someone into a care home if this is cheaper than support to live at home.

The guidance (paragraph 10.27) says local councils can balance what someone wants with how much money the local council has.

But the guidance also says local councils are not allowed set a maximum amount they will pay for support to live at home.

Paragraph 11.7 says local councils must at all times respect how someone wants their needs met.

It says local councils cannot assume people must move into a care home just because it is the cheapest option.

The Human Rights Act 1998 means:

  • people cannot be treated in an inhuman way
  • people have a right to a family life

The Courts may also look at the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

This says disabled people must be able to choose where they live, just like people who are not disabled.

I think that it would be against the Human Rights Act to make a disabled person go and live in a care home when the Independent Living Fund closes.

So if a local council says someone must go into a care home, they may be breaking the law.

The Care Act says local councils must “promote that individual’s well-being”.

The Care Act has a list of what “well-being” means.

The list sounds as if people cannot be forced into a care home.

But the Courts will have to decide if the local council can force someone into a care home despite what the Care Act says.

The Care Act guidance (paragraph 11.26) says someone cannot get direct payments if the local council could arrange the same support and achieve the same outcomes but cheaper.

The Care Act says what must happen when the Independent Living Fund is being closed:

  • Someone from the Independent Living Fund and someone from the local council should come to see you
  • The local council must do a full assessment, using the Care Act rules

Just doing a visit is not the same as doing a full assessment.

I hope we can still #Save ILF.

  • Tom Shakespeare spoke on Radio 4’s A Point of View. He said why we need to #SaveILF.
  • The Independent Living Strategy group are about to launch a survey about independent living.
  • Kate Belgrave and Ros Wynne-Jones made a film with disabled people saying why we need to keep the Independent Living Fund.

The Independent Living Fund helped disabled people to be independent. Will the Care Act do the same thing?

If the Independent Living Fund closes, I think a lot of people may need to go to Court to get their rights.

Here are some lawyers who may be able to help you go to court. They can tell you about legal aid to pay for the costs of going to court.

I hope this post helps you to plan for 1 July 2015.

We must not let local councils act as if disabled people do not have human rights.

Please add your comments on how your local council is getting ready for 1 July 2015 and any worries or questions you have.