The results of a consultation into proposed changes to the way Northamptonshire County Council works out how much people who receive social care services contribute towards their care and support will be considered by cabinet on 11 February.
Last year the council held a 12-week consultation into its Fair Contributions Policy for adult social care which is due for review to bring it in line with national guidance and to incorporate some new elements.
The consultation included writing to all existing customers to explain the proposed changes and ask for their feedback. Customers were also invited to attend public meetings and offered a 1 to 1 meeting to discuss any concerns or questions they had.
Cabinet members are now being asked to agree three proposed changes to the policy.
To introduce a single standard rate of Disability Related Expenditure allowance (DRE) set at £23 per week. This is at a level between the two current rates of DRE allowance (either £18 or £28 per week). An allowance for DRE is made when a person receives disability benefits from the Department of Work and Pensions, and makes sure that they keep enough of these disability benefits to pay for any DRE outside of their care and support plan.
With this change a personalised DRE assessment will still be provided to those who choose it because they believe they may need additional allowances. People who currently have a personalised DRE assessment will not be affected by the change.
To change the older person’s standard income disregard to bring it in line with the statutory minimum amount set by the government. The statutory minimum amount of income an older person must be allowed to keep to pay for their normal living costs (food, utilities etc.) is £189 per week. This is a reduction of £5.50 per week.
To see the amount of income kept by customers in residential colleges stay the same as it would be if they lived in the community. This means that those who access residential colleges would need to contribute less towards their stay.
Councillor Ian Morris, cabinet member for adult social care said:
“Reviewing the Fair Contributions Policy regularly ensures that it is up to date and in line with national guidance, as well as meeting the needs of Northamptonshire residents who receive adult social care services.
“We have consulted on these proposals and while we understand that there is concern around the changes, the new policy will be fairer and simpler to understand.
“And although one of the changes being put forward would see a standard rate for the DRE allowance we must emphasise that the option of a personalised DRE assessment will always be available to make sure individuals are retaining enough of their disability benefits to meet their disability related costs.”
If agreed by cabinet these changes will be reflected in the new Fees and Charges Policy for adult social care.