Care Funding : Paying for Care – it’s your choice!
An enormous change is taking place in the way social and health care funding is paid for throughout the country: ‘Personalisation’. The Government has given an unequivocal commitment to making this ‘the corner stone of modernised public services’. In future everyone who receives social or health care support, regardless of their level of need, in any setting, whether from statutory services, the third and community or private sector, or by funding it themselves, will have choice and control over how that support is delivered.
Self-Directed Support is a process by which you are offered choice and control over their support you need to go about your daily life.
Government, councils and health departments across the country have worked with people and their carers to create this transformation. This is based on the understanding that people and their carers should have a choice and control in their lives. They should be directly involved in thinking about how the money being spent on social and health care should be used in better ways. This will be partly about meeting basic support needs like help in the home.
It could also be about people and their carers thinking about how some of the money could be spent in a way that recognises their individual circumstances (e.g. in terms of family relationships and interests). This approach also takes account of the support needs of those people who provide assistance to disabled people as unpaid carers.
Everyone who is eligible for social care will have a Personal Budget. There is no obligation for people to manage their budgets themselves, and a range of options is available to help plan and arrange suitable care for each individual. In some cases individuals may continue to require Community Services to arrange services to meet their needs or a key worker to arrange services to meet their health needs.
Your social worker will be able to tell you what this will mean for you personally, which will depend on where you live and when you need to look at your social care needs.
How does it work?
Firstly, your needs are assessed. This establishes your Personal Budget. You then draw up a support plan outlining the care that will meet your assessed and eligible social care needs. You can ask anyone you feel comfortable with to help with this, for example a family member, a friend, your key professional, or support broker.
The support plan encourages you to think about what would make a difference in your life and what you would like to achieve. It enables you to describe the changes or improvements that could help address the difficulties you face or describe what you need to stay healthy, safe and well. It will say who will provide the support you need, how much it will cost, and how it will be arranged and managed. Finally it sets out the practical steps that need to be taken to make it happen.
The important difference is that Personal Budget can be used for care solutions you would benefit from which may currently not be within reach. It offers more flexibility than the current care system allows. As long as the care solutions:
. meet your eligible social care needs, the use of the Personal Budget is:
. legal and would not bring the council in disrepute,
. is not considered day to day living (e.g. food, rent), and
. is not provided by a health professional, you should be free to spend your Personal Budget in ways that makes best sense to you.
Each support plan will be carefully considered and approved to ensure is meets your needs.
Direct Payments can be made to:
. People aged 16 or over who are in need of community care services.
. People with parental responsibility for disabled children.
Carers aged 16 or over may have a Direct Payment for a specific carer’s service following a carer’s assessment even if the person for whom they care declines an assessment or service.
What is the point of Direct Payments?
The Aim of a Direct Payments is to give more flexibility in how services are provided. People have greater choice and control over their lives and are able to make their own decisions about how their care is delivered. Following a Community Care Assessment, or reassessment, you can now choose whether to have services provided directly by Community Services or have direct Payments.
What am I allowed to spend the money on?
You can use the money to employ a personal assistant or you can use an agency to provide staff for you. Or you can ‘mix and match’ and have some of your support provided by Community Services and take some as Direct Payment. You must use the money as agreed in your support plan to meet your social care assessed needs.
What else do I need to know?
You will need to open a separate bank account to have the money paid into and send Norfolk County Council a monthly bank statement from this account. The Direct Payment Support Agency will give you all the help you need to operate Direct Payments.
Direct Payments are not a social security benefit, will not affect any means testing benefits you are entitled to and are not taxable.
What happens if my circumstances change?
Your social worker should review your assessment at least annually. This will provide you with a regular check on how well your arrangements are meeting your needs. If at any times, you feel your circumstances have changed or that costs have increased, you should contact you social worker to request another assessment.
If you wish to apply for this service or ask for more information, contact Community Services.
Paying the full cost of care yourself-being a ‘self-funder’
If you have to fund your own care, you still qualify for a social care assessment by Community Services. This assessment will help to identify your needs which may include help to remain living independently in your own home or residential care. If you expect your capital to fall below £23,250 as a result of paying for your care, Norfolk County Council may then help you with the cost.
If you are moving into residential care, you may be entitled to some of the following financial assistance and support:
This is a non-means tested, non-taxable benefit from the DWP. It’s paid at the lower rate of £49.30 a week if you need care by day or night, and at the higher rate of £73.60 a week if you need care during the day and night. Everyone who needs care can, and should, claim Attendance Allowance. If you are paying the full cost of residential care, with or without nursing care, you will be entitled to the higher rate.
If you feel you need more help or guidance on the matter of paying for care and in respect of ‘Personalisation’ of care needs, please Contact Quartz Healthcare.