Health Minister Simon Hamilton has welcomed the smooth transition of payments of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) for Northern Ireland recipients of the Fund.
ILF support provides direct cash payments to severely disabled people with intensive care needs across the UK. The money is used to pay either for care agency staff, or for the recipient to employ their own personal assistant.
Following the closure of Independent Living Fund UK at the end of June 2015 the first tranche of payments to Northern Ireland ILF users via ILF Scotland had all been successfully made by the end of July.
Minister Hamilton said: “I am pleased that ILF users in Northern Ireland have experienced a seamless transition from ILF UK to ILF Scotland and have seen no difference in their mechanism of payment or their regular payment date. ILF Scotland is to be commended for ensuring that all payments to recipients in Northern Ireland were made on time and without any issues.”
The Independent Living Fund Scotland is the new independent organisation that administers funding for ILF users from Scotland and Northern Ireland and took effect on 1 July 2015.
In the run up to payments going live in Northern Ireland much hard work had been undertaken by ILF Scotland including rigorous and extensive testing of their systems and software.
Service user support will continue to be made available by ILF Scotland in a very similar way to that provided previously by ILF UK. There will also be a dedicated case worker and assessor for Northern Ireland.
Health Minister Simon Hamilton concluded: “My Department is committed to ensuring that current ILF users in Northern Ireland will continue to receive their payments and this new arrangement with the Scottish Government through ILF Scotland has now proven itself and safeguards the delivery of services for current users.”
Jamie Hepburn, Scotland’s Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, said: “I am delighted that following the closure of ILF UK that the first tranche of payments to both Northern Ireland and Scotland ILF users had all been successfully made by the end of July.
“Everyone should have the same freedom, choice and dignity to live independent lives at home, at work and in the community. Our commitment to continuing to provide the independent living fund to those who need it is safeguarding that right.”
Peter Scott, ILF Scotland Chief Executive Officer said: “I am very pleased that 3,400 ILF recipients living in Scotland and Northern Ireland have now successfully transferred from ILF UK to ILF Scotland.
The first payments to these people have now been made successfully, allowing our most severely disabled citizens to continue to use their fund to support their independent living and to play active roles in their communities.
“This successful transition to ILF Scotland would not have been possible without the support and commitment of our colleagues in Scotland and Northern Ireland, ILF UK and Disabled Peoples’ Organisations.”
Notes to editors:
- The continued support of Independent Living Fund (ILF) users was devolved to Local Authorities in England and to the Devolved Administrations from 1 July 2015. The responsibility for the administration and payment of ILF transferred from the Department for Social Development to the Department for Health, Social Services and Public Safety.
- The average payment in NI amounts to £250 per week. This support enables disabled people to choose to live in the community rather than in residential care.
- There are currently 595 people in recipient of ILF payments in Northern Ireland.
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