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Unfair charging policies by Councils for non-residential care ....

LottageladyLottagelady Member Posts: 7 Listener
edited March 4 in News and opportunities
Hi, my name is Rachel and am looking for Disabled People who are being hit by unfair charging policies for support by their Local Authority.

#socialcarefuture (Please sign up here Social Care Future) is a growing movement of people with a shared commitment to bring about major positive change in what is currently called “social care.”  It’s for those who want to take part in imagining, communicating and creating together a future where what we currently call social care makes a major contribution to everyone’s wellbeing and which, as a result, will enjoy high levels of public – and hence political – support.

Did you know that LA charging is 'discretionary' and that one LA in the UK doesn't charge anything at all for their support? Others however seem adamant that screwing the last penny out of someone disabled is acceptable!

Did you also know that if you are able to work and are disabled, that no charges (or very limited charges) for support are made? In my opinion this is a 'divide and conquer 'scenario and is discriminating against disabled people who have higher support needs, which is unfair.

A recent Judicial Review against Norfolk County Council agreed and details can be found here -  

JUDICIAL REVIEW LINK
SH, R (On the Application Of) v Norfolk County Council & Anor (Rev 1) [2020] EWHC 3436 (Admin) (18 December 2020) (bailii.org) 
but a simpler version is explained in this letter which has been sent to every relevant LA in the UK this week.

LETTER LINK
Director of Adult Social Care, (mailchi.mp)

It would be very useful if anyone suffering from these charges was to fill in this survey below, so that we hear stories from all over and can see what impact these charges are having on disabled peoples' lives.

SURVEY LINK - <moderator temporarily removed link pending review>

This will become part of a wider campaign to end charging and the postcode lottery of care altogether.  We are campaigning for a National Independent Living Support Service (NILSS) which is compliant with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) which the UK Government has signed and ratified https://www.rofa.org.uk/nilss_project/ 

I am sorry that this message may not be very accessible to some of you, but I am somewhat 'technically challenged' when it comes to doing things like this! If you are having trouble, please message and I will try and find someone who may be able to help.

Many thanks for reading and completing the survey and stay safe!

Rachel

Replies

  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Posts: 4,059

    Scope community team

    edited March 4
    Hello @Lottagelady and thank you for joining our community, and informing us about the Social Care Future campaign.

    I've temporarily removed the survey link you included as we need to run through a few details with you first to ensure it's safe for our members.  If you could please email the team at [email protected] so we can do this,  we'll then reinsert the link once all is verified as okay. 

    Also, I've moved your thread to our Events, research and opportunities category which is our home for all things that include a survey :)

    Thank you for understanding and good luck with the campaign.
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  • woodbinewoodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 4,522 Disability Gamechanger
    In his final few months my late dad had 2 carers 4 times a day providing social care at home, it cost £650 per month, but he could afford it and it was cheaper than £800 per week for residential care. My mother in law before she went into a home (dementia) had similar level of care at home but paid nothing as she couldn't afford it. So all in all to me the system seems fair.
    "Putting a child into care, isn't caring for a child" (T.Rhattigan)
  • LottageladyLottagelady Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Woodbine - yes that does sort of sound fair, but they are trying to charge me £200 a week for a daily wash! That is 3/4 of my benefit income (plus very small pension of £44.70 a week) and I have to pay a mortgage and funnily enough heat and eat! I have £50 in savings.

    If you can afford it then of course it is fair, but people on benefit incomes through no fault of their own shouldn't have to be worrying themselves into an early grave or having to sell the roof over their head for a wash!!
  • woodbinewoodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 4,522 Disability Gamechanger
    @Lottagelady would it not be cheaper to pay somebody privately to do that for you, a neighbour of ours has just started to have a carer in once a day to help his OH get him up and dressed and they won't pay a penny for the first six weeks while they assess them.
    "Putting a child into care, isn't caring for a child" (T.Rhattigan)
  • lisathomas50lisathomas50 Posts: 4,363 Disability Gamechanger
    My mum csnt get help brcsusr she has her own house and a private pension if you pay 200.00 it's less than alot of people the lowest here is 300.00 a week  but if you had to pay it all it would be alot more 

    If its seven days a week over a hundred pound a week goes towards paying the carers and the company have part of the payment and social services 

    @woodbine thsts quite a good price  my mum pays 850.00  for carers going in three times a day at my brothers 
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,637 Disability Gamechanger
    An interesting discussion. Far from “screwing the last penny” out of service users most LAs who charge do so because they’ve simply no choice. 

    Firstly, care costs a lot of money and even charged for care is often hugely subsidised. 

    Secondly, home and day care are amongst the very few things LAs can legitimately charge for. Their sources of income are relatively few. Central government grants are being restricted and so there is what? Council Tax? 

    Thirdly, yes of course schemes differ. In part though that’s because LA finances and politics differ. The whole point of discretion is to design schemes suited to your locale and that includes your finances.  

    All these schemes also have to have the means to challenge decisions and that often means that anomalies or unfortunate circumstances can be sorted. 

    Good luck with the idea that somehow LAs are but going to charge for care. It’s a brilliant theory but the reality is elsewhere.
  • LottageladyLottagelady Member Posts: 7 Listener
    @woodbine - I may well need to do that but around here agencies are charging £44 a visit and have tried to get a carer to come to me since  August 2019 with no luck, hence this package! What I wasn't told was that I was paying it all direct, so that came as a bit of a shock ....

    @mikehughescq - yes I am challenging the decision as paying that on top of my other bills will give me a monthly deficit of over £500 which cannot be sustained. I was struggling anyway hence selling the roof over my head as I need roof repairs totaling £11300 which I do no have. It just seems to me that we aren't allowed to have any life at all after the basics are covered. Hardly a life, it's an existence - especially during the pandemic .... I have 2 dogs who are my constant companions - they are almost telling me to get rid of them as their insurances are expensive, and despite being eligible for PDSA help, they say there is no clinic near me (which I know is wrong as there is one in my nearest town) but it's a postcode lottery ....

    That's the thing though - Hammersmith and Fulham have decided that they will NOT charge for care, and that charging for care is discretionary -  the Care And Support Statutory Guidelines state that "the local authority is bound by their duty to promote your wellbeing. They have a power to waive your contribution and arguably should do it when your actual expenditure is high and paying a contribution will have a negative impact open your wellbeing." 

    SCOPE in their research have found that on average, disabled adults face extra costs of £583 per month, and that one in five disabled adults faces extra costs of over £1,000 a month even after they have received welfare payments designed to meet those costs. On average a disabled adult’s extra costs are equivalent to almost half of their income (after housing costs). Disabled people’s money doesn’t tend to go as far: on average, £100 for a non-disabled adult is equivalent to just £68 for a disabled person.




  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,637 Disability Gamechanger
    So, given that local authorities will have massive shortfalls after central government ceased to fund their pandemic costs; given that the cost of care has shot up during the pandemic as there are less carers about and given that charging is one of the few ways councils can raise any income how would you propose your free care is funded? Someone always has to pay. A glib answer like “the government” isn’t going to cut it. Governments fund things through charging and that includes NI and taxes. They’re not going to go after the rich so who in reality will pay? Where will this money come from? The most likely outcome for me is simply that government, if pressed, will divest local authorities of care provision; privatise further and leave you to the vagaries of the market and the actual cost of care rather than the heavily subsidised version you’re getting at present. 

    You’ll gather I’m not a fan of simple solutions. There’s generally no such thing. Issues such as this are far more complex than people want them to be.
  • LottageladyLottagelady Member Posts: 7 Listener
    I am aware that there is no simple solution .... whilst able to work I did so and miss it greatly, but sadly after 23 lots of surgery I am left in a mess and unable to do so sadly.

    I am trying to find people like me that are suffering with the charges - I am certainly UNABLE to pay this charge on my disability benefits and it will leave me with an income shortfall per month of over £500, so will be hugely in debt after 3 months.

    The support I get is helping to keep me out of hospital, so there may be a case of CHC funding, but that would be a huge battle too. If I didn't get the support, then my hospital visits would be increased, and would presumably cost a great deal more?

    I HATE being in this situation, I would far rather be able to work, go back to a job I loved and gave me a decent standard of living - this isn't meeting any standard, it is purely an existence and sometimes I wish I would get Covid and it would be over and done with, which isn't a nice thing to have to say at all ..... I was at my wit's end  with my finances (as you just aren't 'allowed' to maximise your income in any way or they take it off you) before I received this shock this week, so not sure how much more I can take.
  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Posts: 4,187

    Scope community team

    Hello @Lottagelady

    Welcome to the community, thanks for joining. 

    Getting access to care certainly can be a tricky task to accomplish, and even more so making it fully affordable in some cases. I'm sorry to hear you are struggling financially with it. Have you tried checking your benefit entitlement to see if you are receiving the full amount of benefit you are entitled to? You can use a benefits calculator here. The Money Advice Service may also be able to offer some useful advice regarding your finances, and you could always give Scope's helpline a call if talking things through would help you.

    CHC funding sounds like it might be worth looking into, even if you aren't sure you will ultimately get anywhere with it there can't be any harm in looking into it and asking the question. Also might be worth taking your survey and concerns to your local MP. 

    It seems as though this situation has had an impact on your mental health, which is completely understandable. If you ever want to seek support in that regard, you should contact your GP. Alternatively, you can access help from places such as Mind, Samaritans and Calm.
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  • woodbinewoodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 4,522 Disability Gamechanger
    My late mum got CHC funding for 2 years, it was't really a battle just took some time.
    "Putting a child into care, isn't caring for a child" (T.Rhattigan)
  • LottageladyLottagelady Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Hi @woodbine - would you mind telling me what care she actually needed? Nowhere is there anything that gives you a definition of what is included in CHC funding - my care is basically helping me to stay OUT of hospital so unsure if that counts, but it is really nothing to do with 'nursing care' whatever that is?
  • woodbinewoodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 4,522 Disability Gamechanger
  • LottageladyLottagelady Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Thank you @woodbine, looks like I will have quite a bit of research to do!
  • woodbinewoodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 4,522 Disability Gamechanger
    @Lottagelady CHC can be a minefield and some research is never a bad idea.
    "Putting a child into care, isn't caring for a child" (T.Rhattigan)
  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Posts: 4,059

    Scope community team

    Hello @Lottagelady

    I'm just checking-in to see how you're doing?  I hope things are a little better and the information provided on this thread helped.  
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  • LottageladyLottagelady Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Hi @Cher_Scope

    Things are the same - they have sent me a form which basically wants details of all my income, but only really gives me the opportunity to include in my expenditure my housing costs and virtually nothing else - I have sent them many times my full Income and expenditure form showing that I am short of income versus expenditure every month, but they don't give two hoots, this is their form and that's it - all my income is theirs to take it seems .... although they will give me an allowance for extra washing etc if I can evidence it - well the next time my colostomy bag leaks I will be sending them photos!!!

    I am seriously struggling to go on, this isn't a life, it's an existence I have had enough of .....
  • lisathomas50lisathomas50 Posts: 4,363 Disability Gamechanger
    I am haveing the same problems with my mum if my mum was to go into a home we have to sign all her assets like her house and her money over to them they will give my mum an allowance every week any assets like her house and any money not used when she dies will be signed back over to the family 

    If mom has carers and cleaners and someone to help her do her shopping she has tovpsy 1,200.00  a week becsysr she has to much money and owns her own house to make the house relatively safe by takeing out gas appliances put all alarms on the doors and fall pads and change the front door and have a call monitor where she can press the pendant  its going to cost my mum 8000.00 

    Then a monthly fee of 45.00 for the call monitor and my brother would have to be on call 24hrs a day 

    The social services said that for safeguarding reasons and for choice reasons they would rather my mum come and live with me as my brothers situation has changed it is very hard people work all the life and can't get any help 
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,637 Disability Gamechanger
    Showing a shortfall of income versus expenditure is not relevant for non-resi charging. The issue is disability-related expenditure specifically. 

    No idea where the idea comes from that assets such as capital need to be signed over comes from. That’s not true unless a power of attorney or corporate appointeeship is on the table. 
  • lisathomas50lisathomas50 Posts: 4,363 Disability Gamechanger
    We had a virtual meeting today my brother has power of attorney so it would have to be signed over to the care home its happened in places where I have worked as a carer if the house hasn't had to be sold or all the money hasn't been used then it gets returned to the family 
  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Posts: 4,059

    Scope community team

    Hi @Lottagelady

    Thanks for getting back to us.  I've sent you an email to discuss some of the things you mentioned in more detail.  If you could give that a read and get back to me it'd be much appreciated.  
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