DWP inconsistent with 'UK’s international commitments to support disabled people’
The Department of Work and Pensions’ (DWP) decision to close the Independent Living Fund (ILF) for disabled people was challenged by the Equality and Human Rights Commission on 22 October.
The Commission gave expert legal advice to the High Court yesterday, intervening in the Judicial Review of the government’s decision to close the ILF to existing claimants.
Although the Fund has been closed to new users since 2010, the DWP this year announced renewed plans to cease funding for existing claimants next year, if the closure goes ahead.
The ILF supports disabled people to live independently and participate in society as workers, in education and in pursuing their interests.
Under plans put forward by the DWP, the ILF will close and disabled people will be assessed under different criteria; the Commission stated that this could result in significantly reduced support.
According to the Commission, almost 20,000 severely disabled people risk losing essential funding support for their independence.
This, the Commission argues, is inconsistent with the UK’s obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
Rebecca Hilsenrath, chief legal officer for the Commission, said: “When the closure of the Fund was considered previously, the Court of Appeal found that insufficient consideration had been given to the consequences, which are potentially very grave for some recipients.
The extent of the impact is still unclear, but if the closure goes ahead it will be a regressive step in terms of the right of disabled people to live independently."
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