Making charges fairer for adult social care and support
We have reviewed our charging policy. This is our policy about how we charge people for a contribution towards the cost of their adult social care and support service.
We already charge some people. The reasons for the review were to make sure that the policy:
- supports 'personalised' care and support arrangements
- remains fair and affordable for everyone in the future
- is financially sustainable for the county council in the years to come
The Care Act 2014
The Care Act provides a single legal framework for charging and for recovering debts. It says that when a council arranges care and support to meet an adult's needs, it may charge them unless the law says the care and support must be free of charge. In cases where we may charge, we must only ask people to pay what they can afford. So some people will be entitled to financial help based on a means-test, and other people will be entitled to free care and support. (A means-test works out how much, if anything, a person will contribute towards the social care they receive. The means-test looks at a person's income and capital).
We are making sure that the way we charge for care services in Dorset reflects what the Care Act expects.
The review of our charging policy included a ten week public consultation to encourage people in Dorset to have their say about the decisions that can be made locally by our county councillors.
The consultation took place from 1 December 2016 to 13 February 2017. We received 372 responses.
What did the review look at?
- the review was about the way that we charge people for a contribution towards the cost of their adult social care, it is not about your social care and support, or the people that provide it for you
- nothing in the review affected a person's entitlement to claim benefits - the review looked at how we can support more people to claim all the benefits they are entitled to
- nothing in the review affected the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment or Disability Living Allowance - the mobility component will continue to be disregarded in the means-test
- nothing in the review affected the Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) given by the government - the MIG is there to make sure that a person is left with enough money to meet their needs, and to stay independent and part of society
The council will phase in a revised, means-tested policy which will come into effect on 1 April 2017 that is fair to everyone and will deliver a personalised service. From this date, new service users will be assessed under the revised policy.
Nothing will change for existing service users until a personalised means-test has been undertaken. We will also offer people a free check to make sure that they are claiming all of the welfare benefits they are entitled to receive.
The council will no longer automatically disregard the initial 25% of disability-related benefit income in the financial means-test. In all cases, it will continue to be the means-test that determines the person's financial contribution towards care - to ensure charges are affordable. Some people will not have to pay any contribution.
Fees and charges for non-residential care services will increase by up to 5% from 1 April 2017. This is the first time these fees and charges have increased for five years.
People who responded to the public consultation emphasised the importance to them of good and clear information and advice. So the council will work to develop access to this for people.
Cabinet reports are available on ModernGov (opens in a new window).
If you have any questions about the review, please email or telephone 01305 221085.