Consultation: Social Care Charging Increases

Here is some important information from Norfolk County Council – Please have your say.  The deadline is 23rd December.

Norfolk County Council are planning important changes to their charging policy, which is what they use to work out how much someone will be asked to contribute to the cost of their own social care.  They are inviting responses to their proposals.  If you want to tell them what you think of their plans, go to this webpage and click on the box that says ‘feedback form’:

There are two important areas of change – the Minimum Income Guarantee, and the amount of someone’s Personal Independence Payment (PIP) daily living award they can count as income.

This is what the consultation document says:

Under the Care Act 2014, the government says that we must make sure that people are left with a certain amount of money to live on to pay for things like food and bills. This is called the Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG). The government sets out different rates of MIG for councils to use when carrying out a financial assessment. These rates depend on people’s ages and circumstances. The government says that when charging people for their care the council can’t reduce people’s income below the MIG. The government also says that councils can allow people to keep more of their income, and this is what currently happens in Norfolk. The council uses a MIG of £189.00 a week for all age groups, which is above the government rates for people aged 18 to 64.

Their proposal is to introduce different rates of MIG: At the moment, the council has only one rate for the MIG which it uses for everyone. This is £189 a week. However, the government says that there can be different rates for people of different ages. In simple terms, we are proposing to use the following rates:

  • 18 – 24 years old – £132.45 a week
  • 25 – 64 years old – £151.45 a week
  • 65 years old – £189 a week

In the section about PIP, it says:

If people receive the enhanced rate of the daily living component we only take the extra £28.30 they receive on top of the standard rate as income if they receive a night-time service from us.

So at the moment, if people have an award of enhanced rate daily living, and don’t have any night-time service, they are allowed to keep £28.30 (the difference between standard and enhanced rates for 2018/19).

Their proposal is to take all of the daily living component of PIP into account as income.  They have been legally allowed to do this since the Care Act 2014 became law, and many other local authorities already do take the full amount.  People will only be allowed to keep their mobility component.

Additional help outlined in the proposed changes:

Help with managing money Depending on the outcome of the consultation we could offer people a range of options to help them manage their money. For example, we could offer more help and support to people who are in debt.  We could also encourage more people aged 18-64 that receive Employment Support Allowance, Universal Credit, Income Support and Jobseekers Allowance to pay their care charges through a direct deduction from their benefits. This helps many people better manage their finances as they receive their benefits minus the amount that they pay for their care. This means that they do not have to worry about making arrangements to pay for their care bill.

Help and advice with claiming benefits We would offer all working age people a full benefit check to make sure that they are claiming all that they are entitled to. This would involve looking at disability benefits and seeing if they could be claimed at a higher rate. Some people may be able to receive the mobility component of PIP but are not currently claiming for this.

In general, they conclude:

People who are affected might have to pay between £1.45 and £87.01 a week more for their care, depending on their financial circumstances. The amount that we would ask people to pay would also depend on whether we made all the changes at once, or whether we decided to phase the changes so that they came in gradually.

You will still be able to claim the full amount of any disability related expenses, as long as you have evidence:

In January 2017 we proposed changing the amount we automatically allowed for disability related expenses from a standard rate of £15 a week to £7.50 a week. After a consultation the council agreed to make this change. In October 2017 we proposed changes to the way we worked out people’s disability related expenses. After a consultation the council agreed to take the actual amount that people spend on disability related expenses into account, rather than applying a standard rate to everyone.