Changes to adult social care in Cambridgeshire which would impact some of the region’s most vulnerable are considered by county council
- Credit: Matthias Zomer / Pexels Stock
Cambridgeshire County Council is considering changing needs-assessed charges for adult social care, which could cost a combined £2 million for service users.
And the changes would impact some of the council's most vulnerable services users.
Next Thursday (September 12) the council's adult committee will be asked to approve a public consultation on the changes.
According to a council report: "If all the proposals were to be fully adopted and implemented, some 800 people could experience a weekly increase in the share of their homecare costs that they contribute of up to £35.
"These individuals will have higher incomes that will not previously have been taken into account in the financial assessment - but after paying their increased share towards the cost of their care and support will nevertheless be left with income levels that are above protected minimum income levels aftercare charge."
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One of the proposed changes is to lower the minimum income threshold, meaning those with the least could be asked to pay £5.50 more a week for the cost of their care.
In addition to those 800, the council said that approximately 500 others would face "lesser increases of varying levels".
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The council says that currently, 60 per cent of residents receiving council-arranged care contribute part of the cost.
Explaining the rationale for the proposal, a council report says the authority has to choose "between increasing charges for people who have incomes that are deemed to be above government-defined minimum levels in line with the majority of other councils with social services responsibilities, or reducing the extent and reach of Cambridgeshire's adult social care offer".
And it claims "in 2018/19 Cambridgeshire had the lowest budgeted Adult Social Care spend per head of its statistical neighbours".
The council's overall net adult social care budget for 2019/2020 is approximately £150 million.
If approved, all the charges could apply from January 2020.
The five proposed changes are:
- Disability benefits review: those receiving higher rates of benefit disability could be expected to contribute additional care costs. The changes would affect those receiving Attendance Allowance, Care component of Disability Living Allowance, Care component of Personal Independence Payment.
According to the council: "These changes could increase charges for some clients by up to £28.95 per week, resulting in estimated additional income from contributions of £1.2m per annum."
- Respite care contributions: people accessing short term or respite care using "non-residential care" charging rules could see fees increase.
According to the council report: "Subject to the outcome of individual financial assessments, individual client contributions for around 90 clients could potentially increase by up to £140 per week, resulting in estimated additional income from contributions of up to £50k per annum. This is based on the current average of four weeks respite taken by a service user in a year."
- Appointee charges: the charge would apply to service users whose social security benefits and finances are managed by the council, "because the individuals lack the mental capacity or physical ability to undertake this themselves".
The proposal is to charge only those who have a capital balance above £1,000 - applying a weekly charge of £10 for those in residential care, and £12.50 for those living in the community.
The change would affect approximately 40 people, and save the council £20,000 a year.
- Minimum income guarantee: the change would lower the minimum income used to decide on applying charges.
This change would affect around 1,150 people, who would face a contribution increase of up to £5.50 a week.
The council said it could raise £328,000 a year.
- Care arrangement fees: this would increase the fee paid to the council to arrange care in the community for those who are assessed to be able to afford the cost. The current one-off fee is is £75, but this could rise to a maximum of £400.
The council said this would affect those with capital above the government threshold of £23,250.
Around 800 people could end up paying the charge every year, and the council said it could result I additional income of £320,000 a year.
A spokesman for Cambridgeshire County Council said: "At this stage the Adults Committee is being asked to go out to consultation on the proposals.
"We have considered this carefully before putting it forward for consideration - the alternative would be a reduction in the overall budget available to meet care needs or a reduction in prevention and services that help keep people living as independently as possible."