Five disabled people have taken the government to court over the decision to remove the Independent Living Fund (ILF) and lost the battle.
Their lawyers have said that the consultation process to remove the £320 million funding was unlawful, but a judge has dismissed this and they plan to appeal the decision.
The money given to disabled people is to aid an independent life. The average amount given is £300 per week, and is used to enable disabled people to employ assistants to help them with their personal needs, and to work and play an active part in their communities.
The government have proposed that when they remove the fund in 2015, local councils will take over the short fall, but campaigners say this is unlikely as they already have an under funded social care fund.
The five people who have lost the court case are among around 19,000 who receive the ILF, and claimants fear that this will mean disabled people could be forced into residential care or trapped at home as a result of the abolition of the fund.
One of the five applicants, Gabriel Pepper, from East London, has said the cuts are “a vicious attack on the disabled”.
Campaigners have warned that closing the fund and transferring it to local authorities, will have a catastrophic impact on the independence and life chances of severely disabled people.
Richard Hawkes, chief executive of the disability charity Scope, said:
Twenty thousand disabled people will lose support for the basics in life when the independent living fund closes. The government presumes that the shortfall in this care and support will be met by councils, but this just isn’t the case.
Local care and support for disabled people is already underfunded to the tune of £1.2bn and councils are already struggling to cope.
Expecting councils to pick up the tab when they are facing the biggest funding cuts in history is an impossible ask. Disabled people will lose out as a result.
Not getting the support to wash, dress and leave your home is unacceptable. The government needs to invest more in social care to prevent disabled people being condemned to a life without basic dignity and invisible from society.