ILF Scotland

Re-Opening ILF Frequently Asked Questions

Since the First Minister announced the re-opening of the Independent Living Fund, you may have questions about what happens next.

We will continue to update these questions but if your question if not answered on this page, please send it to

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).
  • Care and support provided by a relative who lives with you, unless we approve this.
  • 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 (referred to as the 2015 Fund), which is re-opening 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 Transition Fund | ILF Scotland for more details and to apply.

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