Public to be consulted on increased charges for non-residential care
A REVIEW of charging for non-residential care services, which could see people paying between £10 and £20 a week more, has been approved by Lancashire County Council's cabinet.
The proposed changes will now be the subject of an eight-week consultation, to be announced shortly, giving people the opportunity to share their views.
Non-residential services run by the county council include home care, outreach services, day care, direct payment and personal budget services, supported living and the Shared Lives Scheme.
Once completed, the results of the consultation will be considered before the new way of charging is introduced in April 2018.
Meanwhile, the authority has defended the move pointing out that the charges were last reviewed in 2011.
Non-residential care services support people with disabilities and elderly people to live as independently as possible in their community.
The proposed charging policy calculates how much people may need to pay towards their non-residential care based on a comprehensive financial assessment.
In line with legislation and with the current policy, people will only be charged for non-residential care according to their assessed ability to pay.
Currently more than 51% of people receiving non-residential adult care services are either assessed as not having to pay, are funded by the NHS or are exempt under the Mental Health Act.
County Councillor Graham Gooch, Lancashire’s cabinet member for adult and community services, said: “The rates we currently charge people are based on 2011 figures and since that time costs have risen by over 14%. Given the county council's current financial position this situation can’t continue.
“Under these proposals, as with our current policy, people would only be charged according to their ability to pay for their non-residential care. Inevitably some people would have to pay more, but most people would not see a significant increase in care costs.
“Of the 5,694 people paying for non-residential care services, 92% would see an increase in care charges of less than £20 per week. For more than 4,000 people, this increase would be less than £10 a week.
“It’s crucial that the system is fair and as part of the ongoing financial assessment process, we already include a free check to ensure people are claiming all the benefits they are entitled to. This will continue under the revised scheme.
“The proposed charging policy is consistent with those introduced by other councils across the country and is in line with the guidelines set out by central government in The Care Act 2014.”
The council say revising the charging policy for all non-residential care services will help to ensure it can cover the costs of providing them in the future by generating an extra £2.9m per year.