ILF Scotland

ILF Frequently Asked Questions

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We have split our Independent Living Fund Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) into five sections so you can find the answers to your questions quickly and easily.

Click on any of the below headings to be taken to questions on that subject.

Re-Opening Questions

When does the fund re-open?

The Independent Living Fund re-opened in Scotland in April 2024.

Is the Independent Living Fund re-opening in Northern Ireland?

At this time, only the Scottish Government have committed to re-opening the Independent Living Fund in Scotland.

Who is eligible for the re-opened fund?

ILF will be open for applications from disabled people who:

  • The person lives in Scotland.
  • They are aged 16 years or over at the time of application.
  • They access Self-Directed Support.
  • They receive a net weekly budget of at least £800 per week.

The eligibility criteria refers to £800 social care support. Does that include practical support or benefits such as housing benefit?

No. The £800 must be the amount of funding you receive through Self-Directed Support / social care support package from your local authority. Benefits, including housing benefit, are not included as part of that figure.

How do you apply for the re-opened fund?

Since 1993 ILF has only accepted applications from Social Work Departments. On re-opening, local authority Social Work staff will apply to the Fund on behalf of disabled people. We are working towards having the application process available as soon as possible after we open in April.

As applicants must already have social care support in place to be eligible to apply, all potential applicants will be known to their local social work department. Each local authority will have its own approach to identifying and prioritising potential applicants. We will post relevant contact details on our website Re-Opening page of each local authority before we open.

ILF Scotland will assess all applications received from social work to confirm that they meet the access principles of the fund. We will then visit potential recipients to complete the application process and to determine whether or not ILF Scotland can offer funding.

We hope to develop alternative application routes, including receiving applications directly from disabled people but this will take time.

Will a Local Authority have to maintain the funding commitment that was in place at the time of the original application?

The amount of ILF funding is based on the funding amount agreed by the Local Authority and in place at the time of application. We expect the Local Authority to retain this level of funding. If the LA intends to reduce this, while maintaining the at least the £800 per week minimum threshold for ILF, they should contact ILF Scotland to discuss and if all parties agree, the funding reduction would be shared.

Why can’t applicants apply for the fund directly?

It was not possible to develop this option without delaying the re-opening of the fund, which we are keen to do as soon as possible so that more disabled people can receive ILF support from April. However, this is something we and the Co-Production Working Group are committed to. We hope to work with disabled people and their representatives over the coming year with the aim of facilitating direct applications.

When is the deadline for people to apply?

There is no deadline for applying. Once the fund is re-opened, applications can be submitted at any time, as we expect the fund to remain open in future years.

How much funding is available?

Initially, and in line with the Scottish Government’s commitment, £9 million will be available in the first year to support up to 1,000 more disabled people with the most complex needs to access the support they need and deserve to live independent lives.

What happens if the initial funding runs out?

It has been very difficult to predict the year one level of demand for the re-opened fund. We will be monitoring this very closely once the fund is open. If demand is high, we may need to re-consider who can access the fund, and it may be necessary to introduce a waiting list. We will be in on-going dialogue with our Scottish Government and Co-production Working Group colleagues about this.

What will happen in the second year of re-opening?

We have identified a number of priority areas to work on during year one, and we hope to implement these in year two and beyond. These include:

  • Considering variations or alternatives to the threshold sum means of determining access to ILF.
  • The inclusion of an unpaid care component within the threshold that reflects the valuable and previously unacknowledged contribution of unpaid carers.
  • An accounting model applied by ILF Scotland at application to overlay local costs in order to remove the cost bias in high cost localities.
  • Consideration of any potential role for ILF in supporting those identified in the Coming Home report or in similar contexts.
  • Monitoring of the real time cost of care experienced by new recipients of ILF e.g. are care costs being subsidised by citizens out of necessity to recruit and retain Personal Assistants, and are awards sufficient to contribute meaningfully to independent living outcomes as identified by recipients?

How will you make sure that people across Scotland get access to the fund?

The Scottish Government has asked that we provide independent living support for up to 1,000 disabled people in the first year. When we talked to disabled people and other people interested in the fund, we heard concerns that the available funding would not be fairly distributed across all parts of Scotland. It was therefore decided to allocate a certain number of places to each local authority to promote geographical fairness and on the disabled population and the level of deprivation in each area. This approach will be kept under review.

This distribution is:

  • Aberdeen City: 29
  • Aberdeenshire: 29
  • Angus: 19
  • Argyll and Bute: 14
  • City of Edinburgh: 64
  • Clackmannanshire: 11
  • Dumfries and Galloway: 29
  • Dundee City: 34
  • East Ayrshire: 27
  • East Dunbartonshire: 14
  • East Lothian: 16
  • East Renfrewshire: 12
  • Falkirk: 30
  • Fife: 68
  • Glasgow City: 161
  • Highland: 36
  • Inverclyde: 20
  • Midlothian: 17
  • Moray: 13
  • Na h-Eileanan Siar: 4
  • North Ayrshire: 32
  • North Lanarkshire: 81
  • Orkney Islands: 3
  • Perth and Kinross: 22
  • Renfrewshire: 36
  • Scottish Borders: 16
  • Shetland Islands: 3
  • South Ayrshire: 21
  • South Lanarkshire: 67
  • Stirling: 13
  • West Dunbartonshire: 23
  • West Lothian: 36

What is the age limit for fund applicants?

Applications will be open to people aged 16 and over with no upper age limit.

How long will applications take to process?

We aim to process applications as quickly as possible. However, please note that the processing time will depend on a number of factors including the volume of applications we receive. We will provide further information on processing times as soon as we can.

What is the maximum amount of funding that a successful applicant can receive?

The maximum that can be awarded from the fund is £330 per week (£17,160 annually). It is hoped that this figure will provide a balance between enabling as many disabled people as possible to access the fund, whilst ensuring a meaningful independent living impact for each fund recipient.

Will people get support to manage their funding?

ILF Scotland Assessors will talk to potential recipients about how the award is managed. If fund recipients need support to manage their award, then we can help to put appropriate arrangements in place.

What can and can’t people spend ILF money on?

The fund is intended to support disabled people to achieve independent living outcomes that are important to them. Whilst we aim to offer as much flexibility as possible in terms of use of funds, certain parameters do apply.

You cannot use ILF Scotland funding to pay for:

  • Independent living aids, communication aids, and equipment, including wheelchairs, where another body is responsible for these
  • adaptations to a home or home boundaries or garden
  • everyday expenditure, such as food or clothing
  • medical, nursing, private hospital or residential care
  • childcare, maternity, paternity or adoption pay
  • maintaining your home or paying your bills
  • petrol, diesel or taxi fares
  • holidays (other than assistance / support costs while on holiday)
  • assistance and support currently or previously funded by a HSCP / HSCT
  • assistance and support provided by a relative living with you (unless ILF Scotland has approved this)
  • any activity that is against the law.

Please see Policy 41 - Use of ILF Scotland Funding for more information.

What is the Co-Production Working Group?

The Co-Production Working Group was set up to help determine the policies by which the re-opened fund will operate. It is made up of disabled people, representatives from Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs), voluntary sector organisations, COSLA and others. The group have kindly agreed to continue meeting after the fund has re-opened to work towards the developments outlined above.

It is made up of:

  • ILF Scotland: Peter Scott, Linda Scott, Harvey Tilley, Robert White
  • ILF Scotland Advisory Group: Jim Elder-Woodward, Andy Higgins
  • Scottish Government: Iain MacAllister, Robert Peterson, Steven Hanlon, Jack Blaik, Amelia Andrzejowska, Lauren Glen
  • Carers Scotland: Fiona Collie
  • CCPS: Dr Sam Smith
  • COSLA: Fran Holligan, Jill Laspa, John Urquhart
  • Health and Social Care Scotland: Cat McGoldrick
  • Disability Equality Scotland: Lyn Pornaro, Stephen Wilson
  • Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living (GCIL): Pauline Boyce (previously Calum Macaulay)
  • Glasgow Disability Alliance (GDA): Tressa Burke, Marianne Scobie
  • Inclusion Scotland: Pauline Nolan
  • Lothian Centre for Inclusive Living (LCIL): Gaby Nolan
  • PAMIS: Jenny Miller
  • Scottish Comm. for Learning Disability (SCLD): Andy Miller, Cameron Smith
  • SDS Scotland: Donald Macleod
  • SWS: Donna Murray, Laura Kerr
  • Scottish Human Rights Commission: Jan Savage, Oonagh Brown
  • Falkirk Council: Margaret Petherbridge, Karen Lockhart
  • Glasgow Council: Steven Love

I receive ILF just now – can I apply to the re-opened fund?

No, the re-opened fund is for new applicants only.

What help can ILF Scotland give a young person?

We have two funds – the Independent Living Fund (which is re-opening in Scotland) and the Transition Fund. The Transition Fund is aimed at young disabled people aged 16 to 25 to help them to become more involved in their community. This Fund opened in December 2017 and allows one-off grants of up to £4,000. Please see our Transition Fund page for more details and to apply.

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Support to be a Good Employer

What hourly rate should I pay the Personal Assistants that I use ILF Scotland funding to employ?

In Scotland, the Scottish Government has set a minimum hourly wage rate of £12 for Social Care Staff from 1st April 2024. ILF Scotland automatically updates the amount of your award any time that rate changes to ensure you can pay the Social Care Wage rate as a minimum. This includes any hours worked including overnight hours. See our Employer Support Information Note for more information.

Northern Ireland
The Northern Ireland Department of Health has asked us to provide ILF recipients who employ Personal Assistants with an award increase to enable them to pay an hourly rate of at least £10.42 per hour. This will not necessarily cover night hours.

Please note that this increase applies only to directly employed Personal Assistants and not to those who are self-employed.

Find out more information in our Employer Support Information Note.

Apart from paying minimum hourly rates, can ILF Scotland help me with other employment costs?

ILF Scotland, as part of its commitment to support recipients who employ Personal Assistants, to be good employers, will consider requests to increase awards to cover statutory employment costs. You can find more information on what we can provide in our Employer Support Information Note.

Will this include an increase in my award to cover the cost of paying pension auto enrolment for Personal Assistants?

Yes, we can do this. Please contact us on 0300 200 2022 to discuss or email us at
Please read our Employer Support Information Note to find out what other, essential, employer costs we may cover. This includes: Employer Liability Insurance, Financial Management and Payroll Services, Statutory training for Personal Assistants e.g. Health & Safety, Redundancy Payments and Pay in Lieu of Notice, and in some cases, Employer National Insurance Contributions. Please note that in some circumstances, we can only make these additions to your award if it remains within the relevant maximum award so you should call us to discuss.

If I use my ILF award to pay a care provider to support me, can my award be increased to facilitate payment of the Social Care Wage or the National Minimum Wage rates?

We will not apply blanket uplifts for providers for increases to these rates, but we can increase rates on an individual basis. Your provider should notify you of any increase in hourly rates to allow them to meet the Social Care Wage / National Minimum Wage rate in writing. Award Managers should keep these letters and discuss them as part of their routine ILF Scotland Review Visit.

Alternatively, Award Managers can, at any time, ask ILF Scotland to apply an uplift to their rate by providing us with a copy of the increase letter. In considering any increase, we will compare this to the Local Authority / Trust ‘Framework Rate’ for care providers and we will normally backdate any increase for up to four weeks.

If you have any further questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact your Specialist Caseworker by phoning 0300 200 2022 or by emailing

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Change of Circumstances

What if I go into hospital or residential care?

If you go into hospital or residential care, you or your award manager must inform us of this as soon as is reasonably practicable. If your stay exceeds 28 days, then we may need to suspend your award until you return home and we can then reinstate it. If you need continued ILF Scotland funded support while you are in hospital, please call us to discuss.

What if I change my care provider?

If you change care provider, please let us know, particularly if the new provider’s rates will mean that we need to consider an increase to your award. Make sure any provider you contract with is registered with the Care Inspectorate. ILF Scotland cannot pay for any care provided by an agency that is not registered. You must keep a record of the invoices care providers send you.

What do I do if any of my personal information changes?

If any of your personal information changes, such as your address or telephone number, then please let our Specialist Caseworker team know by phoning 0300 200 2022 or emailing

If your bank details have changed then you will need to contact us to ask for a ‘Change of Bank Details’ form. When you receive this form, please fill it in straightaway and return it to our Specialist Caseworker team who will process it immediately.

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Managing My Award

How can I use my award?

Please see Your Responsibilities Guide for more information on how you can use your award.

Do I need to keep records?

Yes, you must keep certain records for a period of two years. Please read Your Responsibilities Guide for more information on what records you need to keep.

Can I use an agency to help with the management of financial paperwork for my award?

Yes. You can use a financial management company or a payroll agency to assist you with the management of financial paperwork for your award. ILF Scotland will consider paying a reasonable contribution towards the cost of this. Please read our Employer Support Information Note for more information and contact our Specialist Caseworker team if you have any further questions.

Can someone else manage my award on my behalf?

Yes, you can ask someone else to manage your award. This is likely to be someone who has Guardianship or Power of Attorney or is a Benefit Appointee or it might be a family member / close friend or in some cases, another third party. If you feel that you are no longer able to manage your own award and you would like someone else to manage your award on your behalf, please talk to us about this. Please refer to the Your Responsibilities Guide for more information.

What is ILF Scotland's view with regards to a Power of Attorney?

ILF Scotland promotes the right of disabled people to be as independent as possible in their decision making . It is explicit in Policy 26, ‘Managing An Award’, that we assume that a disabled person has capacity. Where a form of substitute decision making is necessary, ILF Scotland expects that the choices and wishes of the disabled person are fully taken into account and every effort and aid to communication has been used to find out and act upon the disabled person’s wishes.

ILF Scotland recommends that fund recipients consider creating an Anticipatory Care Plan when they have the capacity to plan for foreseeable future care needs. For more information please see The Scottish Government Anticipatory Care Planning: Frequently Asked Questions.

ILF Scotland recipients are advised that having a Power Of Attorney in place is considered good practice in Scotland if it is foreseeable that their capacity to make welfare and or financial decisions may decline. A Power of Attorney does not necessarily start when granted to the attorney, it can start when the disabled person is assessed as lacking capacity (as defined by the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000). For further information on Power of Attorney please see The Office of the Public Guardian. While ILF Scotland staff can provide some information to recipients and their carers if they have any enquiries regarding Power of Attorney, they cannot offer advice on which options to choose. Therefore, please obtain legal advice from a solicitor.

Northern Ireland
For fund recipients and carers considering granting an Enduring Power of Attorney in Northern Ireland, please see NI Direct: Managing Your Affairs and Enduring Power of Attorney and NI Department of Justice: Courts and Tribunals for further information and contact details.

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Increases in Award

Can I request an increase in my award as I now have higher support needs?

Your Local Authority / Trust has a statutory responsibility to support you if you need personal care. In some circumstances, we may be able to increase your ILF Scotland award to assist. Please refer to our Policy 18 on our website for further information.

Please contact our Specialist Caseworker team if you need any assistance regarding this.

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