More detail on the Personal Care Rebate
We welcome the Scottish Government plans to extend Free Personal Care to all adults who require social care. However, we have concerns that the intention and ambition of this policy may be undermined by the mechanisms used to implement it.
In announcing this policy, the Health Secretary, Shona Robison said
“We will now take forward the work of extending free personal care to everyone who requires it, regardless of age. At least 9000 people will benefit from this change and we will work closely with local government and others to implement these changes so that all those who require personal care are able to access it.”
We understand that the government is likely to implement this policy by amending existing legislation, producing new guidance, then transferring additional funding to local councils, with the expectation they will use this additional resource to reduce care charging for disabled people.
If this is the mechanism used to deliver the extension of free personal care to under 65s, then we have evidence that it will only benefit a small proportion of the 9,000 people who access personal care and will fall far short of the government’s ambition for this policy that ‘all those who require personal care are able to access it.’
We believe that if this proposal is to deliver the change that is expected by the Scottish Government and disabled people, then a fairer method of implementation is needed. In order to deliver the Extension of Free Personal Care, each adult under 65 receiving care would still be assessed and the balance between personal care and other support in their care package would be identified.
The current charging regimes would still be applied with all the income thresholds, allowable expenses, taper rates and service rates. However, at the end, after the current calculation has been made, a Personal Care Rebate is applied to the charges deducting the individual cost of personal care hours.
The Cost of Personal Care is a simple calculation of number of hours times the local hourly rate. This establishes the maximum possible level of rebate. The value of the rebate can never be greater than the “original contribution/charge”.
- Where the cost of personal care was higher or equal to the “original contribution/charge” a null charge would be set.
- Where the cost of personal care was lower than the “original contribution/charge” a reduced charge would be set.
The Scottish Government would still set the amount it was going to transfer to each local authority in lieu of personal care charges in its normal budget setting process
We have published a more detailed paper that goes into more detail and looks at the equality issues about treating older people and younger adults differently. Download the full paper
Failure To Deliver
Two years ago, the Scottish Government agreed to give an additional £6 million per year to Integrated Joint Boards to raise care charging Income Thresholds for 2016-17 onwards. In Feb 2016, the Cabinet Secretary said that “This would benefit more than 13,000 people who will pay a smaller contribution towards the cost of their care and around 900 people who will be taken out of charging altogether.”
In February The Scottish Governement published the Local Government Finance Statistics which looked at the income from social care charges for this year. It showed that instead of 2016-17 income from service users falling by £6 million there was a rise of £1.67 million! An additional £7.67 million of charges had been raised on disabled people.
To see what was happening we examined the amount of money that was allocated to each local authority to increase thresholds and what change this led to in overall income from care charges.
The new Scotland Against the Care Tax Care Charge Calculator. This online tool will help you see what difference the Scottish Government's proposed extension of Free Personal Care will make to you and others. Enter a few simple details in the calculator to get a personal result or just change the council area to see how things vary around the country.
The Personal Care Calculator or click the Our Calculators link on the right of the page.
Sample Letter to Protest the Care Tax
If you like the video that Kiana has produced, then we would ask you to write to your MSP to tell them about the Care Tax. You can download a word document here that will serve as a starting point. Don't forget to put your own address and the name of your MSP in as well.
Thanks for your help
18 months on Scottish Councils still ignore Government policy on Care Charges
In January 2016 the SNP Government was proud to announce it was investing an additional £6 million funds in making Social Care Charges fairer. As part of the budget settlement with local councils, the Scottish Government included the money to increase income thresholds so disabled people would have to pay less for social care charges. And each council’s share of this was to be about £187,500 per year. Each disabled person affected could have been expected to be about £10 a week better off. This was to be a step to meeting the demands of campaigners such as the Frank’s Law campaign who argue that making people under 65 pay care charges is unfair.
The main aim of this was to see Income Disregards increased for disabled people by changing the way they are calculated. However 18 months on and Clackmannanshire Council is still using the old system. This can cost over £500 per year to the worst affected. It seems that Clackmannanshire has taken the money and run to the detriment of local disabled people.
Why is the Scottish Government still relying on local councils to do the decent thing? They should use the powers that they already have under the The Community Care and Health (Scotland) Act 2002 and end Care Charges once and for all.
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