Ouch Too

Forum => Health and Disability => Topic started by: Batsgirl on 12 Sep 2013 09:39PM

Title: Going away with a PA
Post by: Batsgirl on 12 Sep 2013 09:39PM
I'm very lucky in that I get help from Social Services in the form of Direct Payments. One of the things they said I can spend it on is to go away for a few days to visit friends and family back where I grew up, with my PA to assist me. We confirmed that I can use my DP to pay for accessible accommodation for myself and nearby accommodation for my PA. So far so good.

I've employed PAs for a few years now but this is the first time I'm looking at going away with one. I need to find out what the right way is to calculate my PA's wages and expenses while we're away.

I don't usually need help overnight and even while I'm awake, she'll only be with me and "working" for an hour or so at a time - call it a total of 4 hours a day - the rest of the time, lovely as she is, I'd actually prefer her to go away and do her own thing so that I can have a good chatter with my friends and family. Paying her our usual hourly rate for 24 hours multiplied by the number of days we're away would seem a bit excessive.

But on the other hand, we're going to be quite a long distance from home. It's not like she can pop back to her own house between times or overnight, sleep in her own bed or be making her own meals in her own kitchen. So I'd imagine I should be paying her more than just 4 hours a day at the usual hourly rate.

I phoned and asked my "direct payment and personal budget support service" what I should do. They said someone would call me back. The next day someone called me back, and said they'd get someone to call me back. The next day someone called me back, and after repeatedly explaining that I just wanted guidance on how to calculate my PA's wages and expenses, they said they'd have to look into it and call me back.

I am not hopeful. So I thought I'd ask here. Has anyone else been away from home with a PA? How did you work it out?
Title: Re: Going away with a PA
Post by: Yvette on 13 Sep 2013 12:13PM
You can contact a care agency in the area you intend to visit and arrange to have assistance from one of their employees while you are away.

That way you will only pay by the hour, which will be so much cheaper than taking someone with you.
Title: Re: Going away with a PA
Post by: Batsgirl on 13 Sep 2013 05:05PM
I see what you mean, and I thank you for the well-meant suggestion, but I already have both the money in my account and the approval in my care plan to take my existing PA with me, because for various reasons, that will work much better for me. I know how I want to do this trip, and I'm more concerned with being properly supported than with saving a few quid.

I just need to find some sort of information or guideline on the correct way to calculate the costs. Like a crib sheet saying that it's standard to pay an employee £X per meal and £Y per overnight while they are away from home for work purposes, in addition to their wage for hours worked.
Title: Re: Going away with a PA
Post by: starsmurf on 13 Sep 2013 06:20PM
You should expect to pay her for the normal hours she would work in a day, not simply the hours she helps you.  As she is away with you, she can't earn elsewhere and it's not a holiday for her, even if she's free to do as she wishes.  So budget for 8-10 hours per day based on her rate paid at work.

Then allow something for the things you described about being away from home etc.

Your carer may be willing to come to a different agreement with you so that's just to give you an idea of the figure you should expect.
Title: Re: Going away with a PA
Post by: Batsgirl on 13 Sep 2013 08:51PM
That makes sense.
Title: Re: Going away with a PA
Post by: stalwart on 15 Sep 2013 12:26PM
I'd be a little careful with this, I was told that I could use DP to fund respite only to be told on review that there was no way I could do this.  (I still haven't been able to use DPs  >angry<).

Make sure that you have everything in writing.  Most LAs would take the view that it would be a better use of the money to do what Yvette said.

Sorry if I sound discouraging but if they don't approve it after you have been away it's an awful lot of money to find from your own pocket. >yikes<
Title: Re: Going away with a PA
Post by: Batsgirl on 15 Sep 2013 03:55PM
Yes, it is written down in my formal support plan that I can go away for a few days with my PA to visit my family, just like I said in my original post. The exact phrase used to head the paragraph is "Maintaining links with family and friends" although the idea also crops up in another section about accessing social and cultural opportunities. It is noted that my PA is a paid employee and that for questions about my responsibilities as an employer I should consult the Organisation Of A Thousand Call Backs.

I do know I'm lucky to have this support, but couldn't we just believe me when I say that I have it?

I spent years being terrified of spending my DP (and thus not meeting several of my assessed needs) because of scaremongering like this. That means my quality of life was not what it should have been and I did not access the support I needed despite the money being there. That's not right.

Thankfully the LA noticed that I wasn't using half my money and sent someone to find out what the problem was. As a result, it's also written down that if I do spend the money "wrongly", then as long as I have the receipt or timesheet and I can point to the care need in my support plan that I thought I was meeting, I don't have to pay the money back. I'll just be asked not to do whatever it was again.
Title: Re: Going away with a PA
Post by: gemini20 on 17 Sep 2013 04:19PM
Hi,Sorry I cant help with your querie,but just to say I hope you have a great time catching up with your family and friends. >rose<
Title: Re: Going away with a PA
Post by: Glummum on 05 Oct 2013 10:16PM
Hello Batsgirl, just wondering have you got anything sorted out with this. The way I look at it is that DP's are meant to give you flexibility and choice, plus use of your own discretion so I would not worry about the 'detail' unless you really need it. Even though you do not want the PA to be with you all the time, nonetheless they are 'on call' so you have to pay them even though they might actually not be hands on. You could ask your local CIL for their understanding of this and how they think you should work this out. Good luck with this, please let me know how you get on with this, my daughter has several PA's but I don't think she would ever be funded for a holiday away from us (her parents). However I have never asked for this, so I don't know what way it would work!
Title: Re: Going away with a PA
Post by: Norrin Radd on 09 Oct 2013 10:15AM
Hi Batsgirl,

As someone with 24 hour care, I've been told that I have to take 2 carers with me if I go away for more than 1 day. I also have to pay for their accommodation, food etc. As far as I know, they have to support you with things like this, so be sure to tell them everything you need.