Author Topic: Social services and paying for care (direct payment related)  (Read 5049 times)

Becca7

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I had an assessment done by social services. There are some major problems, mainly it is almost 60 pages long, over several different documents by different people and those who *were* involved with me and had been helping reported back what they said was totally misrepresented, and I do not agree with some of the things recommended (one thing is a treatment I have already done and made me worse! Another is going to 'social sessions with a carer' so I see people which I feel is a waste of money). There's obviously far more than just that in it. I no longer have any advocate or anyone to help me with it and am being pressured to 'just sign'. Unfortunately thanks to government cuts there is no-one to help me sort it out. CAB spent the hour they were allowed trying to read it, which they couldn't do as it is so complex, and then got nasty and said said I should just accept charities couldn't help as budgets are gone and should make my friends and family and neighbours help me - I got really upset and said no-one means *no-one* it doesn't mean I spent a fortune going there to feel humilated discussing things with three strangers if there was anyone else I could ask.

So it isn't signed and is a mess.

Anyway, one thing they did do was phone social services because something that has been seriously worrying me was how cagey everyone was about how any care/services would be paid for. The documents I was given for direct payments were very vague in terms of where the money comes from exactly. So they spoke to finance and apparently I must hand over all of my DLA care regardless of it already being used for disability needs that a person cannot provide - the only money that is protected is 'what the government say a single person is allowed to live on' they will not protect DLA under any circumstances - DLA is to be paid to the council for care, it is not for anything else. Then it got worse as they said because carers are only paid minimum wage as the amount they can take from me was cappwed by the government they are carers are automatically advised to also claim carers allowance as well to top up (which apparently is my disability premiums gone as well!!). I can keep my ESA and support group premium and DLA mobility but that won't even begin to cover my needs.

I'm really really worried about this. Despite what they told CAB that money is not 'spare'. Our council last month reduced LHA for *everyone* by at least £10 a week, I was sent a letter telling me to use the money I have due to being disabled as DHP is now reserved in this area for those in social housing. other bills etc have dreastically increased and I require over the counter treatment that cannot be obtained on the NHS and things like physio I must now pay for as the hospital will only see patients for 12 weeks per condition regardless of need and I have had my 12 weeks. So everyone says that's what DLA is for, but if the council takes it away, becuase it is spare. I will be in a really bad situation. Far worse than now.

I already have the bank on my back because I'm in debt to them (obviously I have not told them about this situation and income going down even more).

The assessment was based on me having those treatments/physio/incontience products. I don't understand what is going on at all.

Has anyone any advice? My MP is a idiot before anyone even thinks of suggesting him - all he does is whine about the loss of his child tax credit.

devine63

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Hi Becca

can I just make sure I have understood?

The Social Services are offering you some personal care under the direct payments scheme, but if you accept it you will have to contribute all of your DLA-Care funding [which is provided for exactly that purpose and no other] and if the Carers then claim Carers' Allowance you will also lose your disability premiums?   Perhaps someone here who knows about this can confirm that is what actually should happen?

As I understand it, the govt does not acknowledge or contribute to the cost of any disability-related needs apart from DLA for mobility and for personal care, other needs / costs just don't attract any funding, so they will not be able to accept your argument that you use your DLA for the other disability-related costs that you have, because it is provided specifically for care and mobility.   However that works both ways: they cannot expect you to use any of your DLA money towards rent, because it is provided specifically for care and mobility and nothing else.   

I wonder if it might help them powers that be to understand if you had two bank accounts - one specifically for your disability funding to come in and disability costs going out.  Then a separate account for your everyday living money to come into, with rent, food, utility bills going out.   Also any time you talk to people about your finances, have two separate sheets (or two separate tables) one for everyday living money and one for disability related money, so they are always kept completely separate.  That will show clearly why you need the DHP, for example.

I don't know how you are supposed to fund your physio and incontinence needs - DLA does not cover them as far as I understand it.  As both are health things, it would be worth talking to your GP / local NHS providers to see if there is anything they can do, as the NHS is supposed to fund the cost of our health related needs (e.g. when an older person has a medical need for personal care, NHS should fund it not Social Services).   And if they try to say this is what DLA is for, you can say clearly that they are wrong - DLA is for just 2 things, personal care and mobility costs.
 
Can anyone with experience of receiving direct payments offer any more info?
regards, Deb



xSparksx

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This is true for where I live: it may not be true for everywhere.

Here, Social Services can take into account Disability Related Expenditure. This could be extra loads of laundry (because of incontinence, for example), or higher electric bills (because of equipment you need to have plugged in/charge), and higher heating bills (say because you are very immobile and/or housebound). I'm also currently trying to argue that things like delivery charges count as a disability-related expense, because I'm almost entirely housebound and therefore can't choose to save the cost of the delivery and go to the actual shop instead!

You might therefore be able to argue that the cost of physiotherapy is a disability-related expense, if you can show proof that the NHS will not provide you with on-going physio and also that you require the physio to maintain/improve your condition/disability.

As I said, this is true for where I am, it may not be true for everywhere. Yes, they can decide the whole of your DLA care can be taken for care contributions, but 'disability-related expenditure' is not as strictly confined to 'care' and 'mobility' the way DLA is.

In terms of Carer's Allowance: a paid, employed carer cannot claim CA for looking after you. It is just not possible. The care must be unpaid and provided by a friend, relative, or somebody else. I have carers; they cannot claim CA. If their wage is not enough (one I employ directly and the others are through a care agency), they have to look to the 'normal' benefit or tax credit sources to help them. The rules simply don't allow them to claim CA and your social services is mistaken in this. It's certainly true that carers are often paid minimum wage, but that has nothing to do with how much they want from you as a contribution to care. Therefore you cannot lose the severe disability premiums on your benefits.

I hope that helps somewhat. If your council is the same as mine, you need to request a 'Disability Related Expenditure Assessment' and you'll probably need to collect information such as heating bills, electric bills, proof you need the physio and that the NHS won't provide it, things like that. And be prepared to fight them for it. You can't spend the money twice, and yes DLA care is meant for care needs, but care needs can mean all sorts of things. I've chosen to use my DLA care to pay for heating, because I can't move much, get incredibly cold, and if the heating wasn't on over the winter I would end up bedbound and thus need an awful lot more care from Social Services!

Yvette

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Family or friends who care for you for a certain number of hours a week can claim Carer's Allowance (with your permission) but carers from an agency or whom you employ cannot claim carers allowance as it is for *unpaid* carers - such as family members.

You need to ask your GP for a referral to the Contience Clinic (in some areas people can refer themselves) as they will prescribe continence products for you so you will not have to buy them.

Sending you lots of hugs.   >bighugs<

Becca7

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Thanks for the replies. I will try and answer questions, though I only have a couple of minutes to do so, I iwll try and come back again this week (library PCs are hard to get here!)

They won't accept I can spend my DLA on anything other than a carer. That is all the money is for as far as they are concerned. Finance for social services is not the same as finance for housing. Apparently the government have said people in my postion should use their other benefits, I struggle to find anywhere else due to being disabled so their logic is I must use money I get for being disabled.

I medically need the physio and the incontience pads, they are not available on the NHS by the way, only for certain conditions and ages not everyone, nor is the additional pain relief I use, I was told to use DLA as it is a disability need - the problem is DLA isn't only given to people with carers, and that is clearly put on the DLA site so organisations can argue that I must use DLA for these expenses, especially when there is no other funding.

I wish they had explained before getting my hopes up for help, this news has really upset me (the news not anyone here!!), there clearly is no way I can have a carer as I cannot afford one due to my disability expenses :(

Thanks for the replies and info re CA as well.

Becca7

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A (probably stupid) question, if DLA was only to provide carers then why is it available to those who don't have carers in the first place? Shouldn't it only be available to those who have carers to prevent the situation I am now in from happening?

Sunshine Meadows

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Becca,

I read what Social services differently. It looks like they are saying if you are going to have a carer you have to pay for the carer out of your DLA, which is different from them saying DLA has to be spent on a carer. I use my DLA for things like gadgets, computer stuff etc and also to provide pre pared food. I do have a cleaner who comes in for 2 hours a week but I don't think that counts as care as such but anyway if I wanted to have someone come in and help me shower I would have to decide to reduce other spending.

Are Social Services insisting that you have a carer and pay for them or are they saying if they share the cost of a carer for you you will have to give them your DLA Care component?

I realise the circumstances you are in of having reports being written about what you should have or be doing is going to be wearing and upsetting, it is a matter of finding the best way for you to live a better life once piece at a time  >bighugs<


devine63

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Hi Becca

do re-check about the NHS funding for continence and physio etc because the recent changes to who pays for what and how they organise it may have made a difference compared with anything you were told before.

Re the care stuff: I expect SS have a default assumption that a disabled person's first priority for using their DLA-care component money would be to pay for carers as needed and that anything else would be a lower priority than the personal care even if still important.

regards, Deb

Becca7

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Sunshine,

They said DLA care is paid for carers only. No-one should have it unless they require a carer as that is only what the money is for. Which is why I am confused, as I was told to apply for pay for the things the NHS said I need but cannot supply themselves. In terms of paying what they have been doing is saying someone needs the amount of care that can be paid for by their DLA care component (according to reports in our paper). Nothing is topped up as they have no money. I suspect if I there was an advocate or someone to help in person that may be different but as the advocate funding has now been removed that is not an option for me. I certainly cannot fight them on my own, I have enough to cope with as it is. I did try my MP but he just said about how the bills must be kept low and I should get family/friends to help; I have neither, to which he said time to find some. Not helpful, and very upsetting.

I checked NHS funding with gp last week and she said nothing had changed. I will ask again, maybe the changes only apply in England?

I must go now as my time is almost up. Thank-you for replying.

Becca



One Girl and her Big Dog

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Sunshine,

They said DLA care is paid for carers only. No-one should have it unless they require a carer as that is only what the money is for.

They are talking rubbish.

according to you gov https://www.gov.uk/dla-disability-living-allowance-benefit/eligibility

Care component

You might get this part of DLA if you:

    need help with things like washing, dressing, eating, using the toilet or communicating your needs
    need supervision to avoid putting yourself or others in danger
    need someone with you when you’re on dialysis
    can’t prepare a cooked main meal

You can get this care part if no-one is actually giving you the care you need, or you live alone.

1G

Becca7

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I have now been sent a letter saying I have 10 days to read, correct and sign the report, or I will be formally considered to be refusing care, which would 'severely impact on any further assessments being permitted'.

I cannot manage to get it done in 10 days. Nor can I manage to sort out replacing the 'spare' money they are going to take.

I went to the bank and they were so nice and sympathetic, yet can do nothing (my account is under threat of being closed due to financial issues), I ended up in tears and being taken to a side room with tea to calm down.

I have no idea what to do  >looking-sad<

Sunshine Meadows

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Becca,

Print out the page 1G linked to, it clearly says on there what 1G already posted,

Quote
You can get this care part if no-one is actually giving you the care you need, or you live alone.

Are you sure they have not got mixed up and actually talking about money Social Services are going to allocate you for care but they will only pay for certain things?

Fiz

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No, social services are within their rights to ask for your DLA care component to pay for any care they may be providing. They aren't within their rights to ask for your DLA care component for other things though.

The problem this causes is often people are using their care component for other things already to do with their disability and this means a choice needs to be made about what is most important.

Becca, it might be an idea to write a list of what you want in order of preference because it would seem that some things will have to go. I do feel for you, hard choices.

devine63

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Dear Becca

I suggest you send immediately a brief letter along the following lines:

Dear XXX

I have received your letter dated XXX which refers to the 60 page assessment report which was completed and sent to me recently.   The letter says that "I have 10 days to read, correct and sign the report, or I will be formally considered to be refusing care, which would 'severely impact on any further assessments being permitted' ".   In addition to this I am being pressured by [insert who] to "just sign" this document.

If / when I can obtain some appropriate assistance,  it will take me many hours to complete this very important task, which represents a considerable strain for someone in my state of health.   I have no family or friends who can help me with this.   I can only access a computer in the local library.  Since the central government and local authority cuts have resulted in the various forms of support which I had being withdrawn, including my advocate, my housing support person, etc..  Even the CAB were unable to help, as their helper was unable to read and understand the content of the report in the one hour appointment they made available, let alone prepare a response.

There are many problems with the report and so I am not prepared to "just sign", I want to go through it and correct all of the errors of fact and indicate where I do not agree with the recommendations (which include, for example, a treatment I have already tried, with disasterous effects).

Therefore I must ask you to provide me with some funding to purchase assistance to write a response to the report and to allow me more time to prepare that response, as the process of preparing it will be much slower than for someone else.
regards ....