Fairer Charging - the rules

The Coronavirus Act 2020 will change how social care is assessed and provided

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The rules are complicated but in a nutshell, they mean that a local authority can choose whether or not to include the higher rate care component of DLA or PIP, when assessing how much a person contributes towards their care.

The government neither says nor does not say, what a council should do when charging for social care. In the past, most councils did not include DLA or PIP higher rates of care component in their financial assessments, for non-residential care costs. Non-residential, is care that a person receives in their own home.

However in the last few years many councils have decided to use their 'discretion' and charge. The government says this is allowed, but that the local authority can only do this " subject to a general requirement of reasonableness." 

So what's reasonable?

The answer is no-one really knows but it's simple when you look at what Disability Living Allowance and PIP are for.

"Extra Costs of Care"

The Department of Health and Social Care does not say that DLA and PIP are meant to pay for basic care. Both are supposed to support disabled and sick people with the "additional costs" of their illness, condition, injury or disability.

Extra costs could be special shoes or equipment.

Additional costs are not PAs or carers that have been identified through a social care assessment as required to meet a person's basic needs. 

We're hearing from people who have been told they should "give up" their mobility vehicle to pay for PAs mileage and transport costs. That their activities funding will be cut, or withdrawn, if they do not use their DLA, PIP or benefits to pay for it themselves.

If this has happened to you, appeal the decision and refer your local authority to the Department of Health and Social Care information on Fairer Charging.

Money is tight for local authorities but the Care Act 2014, NHS Constitution and Department of Health Fairer Charging documents are clear. A person's need must be met and based not on their ability to pay or whether the local authority and/or CCG can afford it.

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