Councils failing to provide information
Scotland Against the Care Tax has become aware that some councils have been issuing care charge statements after April 1st without providing any explanation about how may hours of personal care and how many hours of non personal care they think people get. Without providing this explanation they are making a mockery of Frank's Law.
Under Section 2 paragraph 25 of the local authority guidance they are required to provide this breakdown
25. In preparation for the implementation of the extension of this policy, local authorities will need to inform supported people currently receiving care at home services about the level of personal care and non-personal care they receive.
If you are in this situation you need to immediately write or email your social worker or council finance department and ask for this breakdown.
Some councils would like to provide only a numerical breakdown of hours - x Hours of Personal Care and Y hours of Non Personal Care. This is not an adequate response as individuals must be put in a position to to make a fair assessment of the option open to them. So local authorities have to identify which tasks they are still planning to charge you for and how long they expect this task to last. This information will allow supported peopel to decide whether to accept the council's assessment, to challenge the assessment or to cancel that part of the council's services and to make other arrangements.
We have prepared two sample draft letters
First is if you have been provided with no information on the personal care split at all. Click Here
The second is if you have been provided with the hours breakdown but no information on what is included in each element. Click Here
Call For Help
The Scottish Government introduced its new policy of Extending Free Personal Care to the under 65s (aka Frank’s Law) on April 1st. Thousands of people stand to benefit from this and we have produced a guide to what the policy means and what disabled people can expect from it.
Scotland Against the Care Tax has campaigned against care charges for ten years and welcomes this new policy as a major improvement in the lives of many disabled people.
But we believe that many will be disappointed in this new policy as they find out either that they don’t qualify at all or that even though their Personal Care is free that they are charged enough for the balance of their care that they are no better off.
Jeff Adamson, Chair of SACT has already found himself in this position. He receives 80 hours of care a week and has been told that 64 hours of this are Personal Care and are delivered without charge from April 1st. However Jeff is still charged £170 per week for his care charges for the 16 hour balance, exactly the same as he was charged prior to April 1st.
We have some stories about people ending their care packages as they find they are not covered by this policy and have instead been hit by other local authority charging increases.
We are collecting evidence over the next couple of months to help us report to the Scottish Government about what the experiences of disabled people are with this new policy. We are hoping to collect between 40 & 50 cases from all parts of Scotland.
We would be grateful if you could share any anecdotes or case studies of the effect this policy of extending Free Personal Care has had. (All stories should be suitably anonymised unless the person would like to make a particular point).
New Guide to Free Personal Care published
Disabled people want to know what to expect from this new policy and how it will affect them. It is possible that many people will disagree with the local council’s decision on what percentage of their care is ‘Personal Care’ and want to challenge this. But the failure of guidance holds them back from being able to make plans.
Jeff Adamson, Chair of Scotland Against the Care Tax, said, “We are so disappointed with this. Once again, we have a policy for councils co-produced by the Scottish Government and COSLA with no input from disabled people who, it would seem, are but an afterthought. Disabled people come at the end of the line. We have been forced to provide our own guide to this new policy to make up for government deficiencies.”
The SACT guide is available on line and covers the introduction of the policy and what people can expect. It also explains where the “grey areas” are in the application of the policy and how disabled people can challenge local councils if they are not happy with how the new policy is applied to them.
Scottish Government claim they want Equal Treatment but really???
The Scottish Government claim that this policy is about treating people over 65 and under 65 equally. In her response to the Petitions Committee, the Cabinet Secretary repeated “Our aim in extending free personal care was to move to a consistent approach for under and over 65s rather than maintaining a separate approach for different age groups.”
If that was really true, then why has the Scottish Government taken no action over the blatant age discrimination in COSLA’s 2018-19 charging guidance that sees single people over 65 not pay charges until their income is over £204 per week while single people under 65 pay charge when their income is over £134 per week? This can mean that younger disabled adults pay as much as £70 per week more in charges for exactly the same service.
The difference this makes can be seen in one of the poorest and most rural areas in Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway. Figures published only two weeks ago show the local Health and Social Care Partnership have increased their income from social care charges by 60% in a single year (2017-18), taking an additional £1 million from younger disabled adults under 60 differently, by simply cutting their income disregards down to this lower figure of £134 per week.
If the Scottish Government was serious about treating people over 65 and under 65 equally then they would prioritise the equalisation of the income disregard level.
We wonder when the Scottish Government plan to make COSLA alter its guidance to treat people over 65 and under 65 equally.
Freedom of Information Request Results
Our recent Freedom of Information request asked was how many people between 18 – 64 were receiving home care of any sort. 19 councils (representing 60% of the Scottish population) replied with a total of 5,802 clients receiving Personal Care. This indicates that for all of Scotland about 9,800 people will be receiving Personal Care. This is similar to the figures used by the Scottish Government in their response to the Petition. We also identified another 4,900 people in these 19 council areas who receive only non Personal Care. This would multiply up to 8,000 for all of Scotland.
Who Will Benefit
Multiplying up these numbers reported by the 19 councils, we find that for all of Scotland
- 5,300 (30%) receive only Personal Care and will be big winners from this policy.
- 8,100 (45%) receive only Non Personal Care and will see no change from this policy.
- 4,400 (25%) receive both Personal Care and Non Personal Care and some of whom who get 4 hours or less of Personal Care might gain from this policy.
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