Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Adult social care fairer charging policy

LozLoz Member Posts: 5 Listener
My autistic son is 19 and receives DLA (middle rate) and ESA. As I work part time, I don't qualify for Carer's allowance. Last year, we involved social services in our lives for the first time as my son had become an adult. First of all it was very positive as the social worker carried out an assessment and provided our son with a personal budget with which to buy services. We arranged some day service and holiday activities but never used anywhere near the whole budget. I recently asked for information about direct payments so that we could use the money more effectively on my son's behalf. We were then told that he should be contributing towards these activities under the council fairer charging policy. The trouble is, we take a proportion of his benefits to cover his living costs (we do not have a large income) and he pays for his own clothes, phone, college lunches and expenses and for other activities. After putting aside some money for holidays, he has very little left each month, and likes to spend what is left on books and magazines, plus the odd takeaway. We are having a financial assessment done in a couple of weeks but I have been told that his actual living expenses aren't taken into consideration - only those related to his disability.
Does anyone have experience of one of these assessments and if so, can they give me any advise to minimise the contribution he will have to make. Thank you.

Replies

  • NaomiNaomi Member Posts: 29 Listener
    We used to have charges for childrens services in our borough, but they have recently been abolished because apparently the costs of collecting payments outweighed the payments themselves. So, fingers crossed.....apparently very few boroughs use them for this reason, and they have a huge rate of non-payment. If they were applied as they were with us there is very lttle you can do to reduce them as its simply household income (judging by your payslips) minus the amount of children in the house, and then some Council formula. However since your son is in adult services it should be dependent on your sons income. I don't have direct experience of that myself but I have been told that in some boroughs the charge is negligible. Good luck.
  • gillycuddygillycuddy Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Hi Loz
    I have just been through this with my 18 year old daughter who has cerebal palsy...I was told point blank by the LA that her living expenses wouldn't be taken into account - and I had to try really hard to prove the disability related expenses - just to preserve her income. I feel that a double standard is being applied - she is an adult and all adults should expect to contribute to housing costs? I would be keen to hear if anybody has challenged this policy?
  • LozLoz Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Hi Gill. Well, we are six years on from my post and I have still not paid the LA a penny on my son's behalf. I refused to accept Direct payments (as is our right) so his costs for the services he uses are paid direct to the providers. It is a bit restrictive in terms of what we can use the budget for but his income is preserved for his use. I argued back and forth that an adult should contribute to the family income but was told repeatedly that it wouldn't be taken into account. One particularly unhelpful advisor told me that these were "costs that everyone has to pay for". Indeed, I agreed, so how can he when you want to take a large portion of his benefits? No answer to that. I also requested confirmation from the LA that their policy was that the parents of disabled young people should supplement the living costs from their own income. I was told that this was not the position of the LA but was given no explanation of how else the living costs could be covered. In the end, I simply informed them that I would not be paying these costs on my son's behalf - and I haven't. They still send me bills which I ignore. My understanding is that they would have to take my son to court to try to obtain payment and no way would they do that. After all, what are they going to do - issue a CCJ against him? If they had been more reasonable and accepted the living costs as legitimate expenses, I would have conceded a small contribution. However, I can be as stubborn as them so they get nothing. :)
  • gillycuddygillycuddy Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Well done you....! I have appealed the disability related expenses (twice) and after initially getting a “charge” of nearly £40 a week, that has now been reduced to just over £3. - I have to say that the whole DRE process was the most opaque process I have ever been through - it appears randomly applied and the LA have upper limits that they will allow against certain expenses - but you won’t know what these are until you exceed them! That aside though I still feel passionately (like you) that all adults should have an allowance for living expenses if they live at home - my husband and I both work part time to manage the extra caring required and like you need the income that they can provide via board. I am going to continue to consider how to challenge this
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