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LA charging policy for non-residential care - PIP Care query

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Client Affairs Service Hampshire County Council

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When the claimant used to be in receipt of DLA Care component at the highest rate but did not need to have any overnight care in their care package, our Financial Assessments and Benefits team used to disregard the difference between the middle rate and the higher rate from the claimaint’s means test for their care contribution.

With PIP, where the claimant has the enhanced rate for Care and again no overnight care in their care package it seems FAB takes the full PIP Care component into account in their means test, now.

I’ve been scrutinising our Paying For Care procedures & etc but can’t find anywhere that this is set out in writing, so I’m wanting to verify (though I realise this may vary from LA to LA).

Anyone able to offer any assistance?

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Information and advice resources - Age UK

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We keep coming across similar issues.

There was a case called Carton which related to Attendance Allowance which decided that when HR AA was in payment and LA funded care services were only provided for day time support, the “night-time” element should be disregarded as income in the financial assessment. Because DLA was structured in same way, this was also held to apply for DLA as well.

Since Care Act 2014 and introduction of PIP, many LA’s are taking the view that they can take the entire amount of PIP into account regardless because (1) PIP doesn’t have the same distinction between standard and enhanced rate of daily living and (2) the charging regulations do appear on the face of them to allow this approach.

We’ve tried to encourage challenges to this but haven’t really got anywhere the LGO refused to intervene in one case as they said it’s a legal matter and not for them.

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Principal WRO - Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation

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Financial assessments for social care are covered by the Care Act 2014. Prior to this,  local authorities made up their own policies based on Fairer Charging principles.

The standard principle under Fairer Charging was that basic IS/PC amounts (i.e. not including SDP) plus 25% should be allowed plus any housing costs and disability related expenditure (DRE).  Most local authorities adopted some kind of banding system for DRE based on the rate of DLA care component or rate of AA received. Frequently, including here in Northumberland, people on the high rates of DLA care or AA included the difference between middle and high care DLA or low and high AA on top of their standard amount on an assumption that if their care plan didn’t include night time support that “bit” of benefit couldn’t be counted.

The Care Act introduced prescribed amounts for a minimum income guarantee (MIG) which in the first year were broadly equal to the basic amounts plus 25%. These amounts were updated the following year but have not been increased since which mean that actual income from benefits, for older people at least, has increased but the amount of income protected has not. But, some local authorities didn’t follow the Care Act figures and continued to use IS/PC plus 25%.  Over the last few years as efficiencies are being sought, some of these are now reverting to the statutory minimum laid down in the Care Act regulations. Also over the last few years, probably most have also sought to reduce the amounts allowed for DRE. The combination of both factors will have led to increased charges for many service users albeit within the scope of the regulations. (Regarding banded amounts of DRE, local authorities must, if asked, carry out an individual assessment of DRE if the person feels they spend more than their council’s set amount for them.)

The introduction of PIP,  where the difference between standard and enhanced DL isn’t based on a consideration of night time needs led to many authorities revising their DRE calculations by removing the amount of that difference in rates based on the new assumption that it wasn’t relevant to night time needs.

So, SJN of CAS, the best place to look to find when Hants changed their policy might be in a committee report related to making “efficiencies” for the budget one year.