18 months on Scottish Councils still ignore Government policy on Care Charges
In January 2016 the SNP Government was proud to announce it was investing an additional £6 million funds in making Social Care Charges fairer. As part of the budget settlement with local councils, the Scottish Government included the money to increase income thresholds so disabled people would have to pay less for social care charges. And each council’s share of this was to be about £187,500 per year. Each disabled person affected could have been expected to be about £10 a week better off. This was to be a step to meeting the demands of campaigners such as the Frank’s Law campaign who argue that making people under 65 pay care charges is unfair.
The main aim of this was to see Income Disregards increased for disabled people by changing the way they are calculated. However 18 months on and Clackmannanshire Council is still using the old system. This can cost over £500 per year to the worst affected. It seems that Clackmannanshire has taken the money and run to the detriment of local disabled people.
Why is the Scottish Government still relying on local councils to do the decent thing? They should use the powers that they already have under the The Community Care and Health (Scotland) Act 2002 and end Care Charges once and for all.
Changes to Charges for 2017
SACT have carried out an FOI request around Scottish Councils to look at what has changed in Care Charging for 2017. Not all councils replied but we were able to locate other sources of this information. If you want a copy of the information we hold please send us an email.
- 31/32 have raised the income threshold to benefits plus 25%
- A number have used the Financial Assessment Template to penalise adults under 65 with a small amount of savings.
- A number have increased the taper over the last few years – 2 have reduced the taper.
What is the Care Tax - a new guide
Scotland Against the Care Tax is pleased to announce that it has produced a new guide to the Care Tax. The Care Tax is a burden placed on disabled people where they have to pay additional costs for social care services, halving already paid local and income taxes for the upkeep of public services. This double burden of taxes drives many disabled people into poverty and denies disabled people their human rights.
This new guide uses a comic & cartoon style to explain how charges work, how the system varies across Scotland and how disabled people's rights are affected. We also show what can be done.
How does the Care Tax work?
There are four stages in the calculation of how much an individual has to pay. This is a complicated process which is carried out by social workers collecting a range of personal and financial details and then inputting them into appropriate computer programmes such as MyCareCosts.
Stage 1- How much does your service cost?
Local councils are allowed to charge people who receive any non residential social care services that they provide. Each council has its own plan for how to charge. Here is a list of some of the things that councils charge for.
How much they charge varies from council to council. One council can charge £111 for a single day at a local authority day centre. Another will charge just £6. Some councils have special categories that only they use such as “Sheltered Housing Cottages”. Other services which are relatively newer like Telecare (remote monitoring and alarm systems) have a more consistent pricing policy, usually between £2-3 per week.
Perhaps the clearest variation in charges can be seen in this map of Scotland. The hourly rate for home care for each area is shown.
The variation is shown from West Lothian with an hourly rate of £8.28 to Angus with an hourly rate of £23.70.
Four councils from different parts of Scotland have the same rate of £11 but the remainder vary by significant amounts.
What needs to be realised is that these hourly rates have NO connection to the actual cost of an hour of home care. An hour of social care in Edinburgh can cost anything from £9.87 with one private care provider to over £25 an hour for home care provided by local authority staff yet if the council arrange it for you they will charge you £12.50 an hour for as long as you continue to receive that service.
For Stage One the council adds together all the services e.g. home care, telecare and day care, that you receive into a single total and this becomes the maximum that you will have to pay.
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