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Fears over £780,000 disability benefits in Wolverhampton Council change

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Hundreds of severely disabled adults in Wolverhampton could lose out on more than £750,000 in benefits when a government fund transfers to council control, it is feared.

The running of the £500 million Independent Living Fund will shift to local authorities on June 30.

Wolverhampton City Council receives £784,000 from the fund, but the authority has refused to confirm that the cash will be ring-fenced for individual ILF users.

There are more than 300 recipients across the city, who rely on the funding to help them to live independently in their own homes and communities.

But furious disabled people say they have been left in limbo after council bosses refused to tell them what's what.

Next year, the Government funding will cease, meaning local authorities need to find it from their own dwindling budgets. All ILF recipients must be reassessed before the fund transfers to local authority control. The city council declined to comment.

Disability rights activists have campaigned against the axing of the fund.

The authority has told the DWP that the money would be used to 'contribute to meeting adult social care costs'. The Government has said there is no obligation for council's to use the money specifically for ILF.

Graham Taylor, of Compton, said his wife Tonya, aged 63, who has multiple sclerosis and uses a wheelchair, has been driven to tears over fears her benefits will be reduced or taken away completely by the council.

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"The council has known about this change for two years yet they have not contacted us to tell us what is happening with the ILF money," he said.

"Everything is up in the air. We've both suffered depression because they won't give us any answers. I've given up a career to look after my wife because she needs constant care. Now I fear she could end up in a care home."

Mr Taylor said he has spoken to council staff more than a dozen times to try to find out about his wife's funding.

"Tonya relies on this funding to help her to live a life with some sort of meaning," he said. "If they are going to cut the funding the least they could have done is let us know about it so we can plan our lives."

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