Independent living in its widest sense is having the same opportunities, choices and rights as other citizens.  Independent living is having the chance to be a parent and friend, have a family and social life.  It’s is taking part in community and public life, having the opportunity to get a job, build a career, have an education, and volunteer.  Independent living is being able to contribute, participate and be included.

The right to sufficient levels of support to allow independent living in its widest sense are enshrined in the UN Convention of Rights of Persons with Disabilities particularly article 19 but also in other articles. Since ratifying the UNCRPD in 2009 the UK government has been committed to the progressive realisation of these rights.

Yet the Government is pressing ahead with its plans to close the ILF (Independent Living Fund), despite Judge Elias in the Court of Appeal speaking of “the inevitable and considerable adverse effect which the closure of the fund will have, particularly on those who will as a consequence lose the ability to live independently”.

The ILF is funded by central government and helps meet the care costs of those disabled people with high care support requirements to live independently. ILF recipients now face having their care packages slashed and either becoming prisoners in their own homes or forced into residential care.

This is one of many case studies which illustrate the difference between ILF and Local Authority care funding

“For my 48 year old Son with Learning Disabilities, challenging behaviour and Autistic Spectrum Disorder, the difference between ILF support, and having a personal budget from our Local Authority is vast for the following reasons:

ILF funding

  • Means adequate, flexible and realistic support to meet all of his specific needs which include :- Support in every aspect of independent living, enabling him to live in his own home,
  • Support to participate in his community, which includes experiencing a range of social opportunities
  • Support to attend College, to enjoy a pint or a meal in his local pub.
  • Support to manage domestic tasks and buy items for your home
  • Support with shopping and cooking a meal.
  • Support to enjoy a lifestyle of his choosing, in other words, a right to normal life, and most importantly, to be able to do all of the above at a day and time of your choosing. To have control of your own life.

All of which are perfectly normal expectations of men, or women, of a similar age. My son, due to his vulnerability, is also protected, as part of his support plan, from hate crime and other forms of exploitation. Finally, because of the way he is supported, he does not have to suffer from isolation and he is kept safe and well at all times.

Social Care Budget from LA for which you will have been assessed for but then gets halved by ‘The Panel’, as a result my son will experience:-

  • Long periods spent alone and vulnerable.
  • Inadequate nutrition, due to a variety of care workers with too many calls and not enough time allowed at each.
  • Having to attend “Day Care” whether you like it or not, in order to reduce the amount of hours needed during the day.
  • Having ‘electronic gadgets’ put in place to replace human support, contact and supervision.
  • Being constantly harassed and abused by local gangs, simply because ‘they can’
  • Having to put up with unwelcome visitors or ‘guests’ who call themselves ‘friends’ then help themselves to money, or whatever is available.
  • Being beaten on a regular basis, because you are “different”
  • No one to help when an appliance breaks down and not knowing what to do.
  • Becoming unkempt and smelly because you have no one to support you in keeping yourself or your clothing clean.
  • Living in squalor because you don’t have enough in your budget or the council ‘don’t fund’ support for house cleaning.
  • Not going out socially because you have difficulty finding the venue on your own or need help to give the right money, or simply lack the confidence”.

Therefore disabled people believe that:

  • The closure of the ILF should be stopped until a better alternative is established.
  • That an independent living task force should be set up, co-produced with ILF users, to review independent living and specifically the Independent Living Fund in order to identify how best to improve, develop and extend independent living support building on the successful model of ILF provision.

Please support #SaveILF  and ask your MP to sign up to EDM 113 sponsored by Anne Begg  ‘Decision to close the Independent Living Fund’

More details about the ILF can be found at www.dpac.uk.net

 

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