The Independent Living Fund (ILF) has announced that it will not accept any further new applications for the rest of the year.
An ILF spokeswoman said the decision was not connected with government funding cuts, as it had received a three per cent increase in its budget for the current financial year.
The ILF – which is funded by the government and supports disabled people with high support needs to live independently – had already announced in March that disabled people who wanted to apply for financial assistance would now have to be working at least 16 hours a week.
But that announcement led to an unexpectedly high number of new applications at the start of the new financial year.
The ILF has now decided to fund 600 of those new applicants but said it would not be able to accept any further new applications for the rest of the year.
It had budgeted to make 1,000 new awards this year but was only able to fund 600 because the new awards were at a “much higher cost” than usual. The ILF also blamed its decision on the rising costs of support.
The ILF said the measures taken would “ensure that the existing 21,000 ILF users’ awards continue at their current level”.
But it also said it would not be able to increase any individual’s existing funding, other than providing “additional support to meet some of their employer responsibilities, and in response to certain changes in their income”.
Patrick Boyle, chief executive of the ILF, said: “Our first priority is the 21,000 disabled people we currently support to achieve high quality independent lives.
“Our trustees have acted quickly in their decision to protect this group and to meet their responsibility to manage within budget.
“We are committed to continuing and developing the excellent service we deliver to our users, allowing them greater flexibility in how they choose to manage their funding.”
News provided by John Pring