Shropshire Star

Telford & Wrekin Council proposing increased social care charges

Hundreds of people who receive social care in Telford and Wrekin could see their charges increased next year as part of proposals going before the council’s cabinet.

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The changes are being considered by Telford & Wrekin Council

Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet will discuss a report on Thursday about the proposed increase for people who receive care at home, day care, and transport and pay the council for those services.

If approved the plans will then go out for consultation with a proposed implementation date in January 2024.

Of the 1,882 people who receive chargeable care in the borough, 943 (50.1 per cent) could be affected by one or more of the above proposed changes – depending on their individual financial circumstances.

Councillor Paul Watling, cabinet member for adult social care and health systems said: “Throughout the past nine years, we have maintained a generous approach to social care charges, resulting in significantly lower charges compared to national guidelines and other local authorities.

“With less government funding and a growing demand for social care services from an ageing population and from people with complex support needs, it is becoming increasingly challenging for us to cover the rising costs of care provision. This is despite the council investing an extra £7.26 million into adult social care this year.

“We are therefore proposing changes to our adult social care charges to bring them in line with national guidelines and those of other local authorities. Our goal is to continue to deliver the highest standard of care to people who use our social care services, while ensuring that their contributions to the care they receive are affordable and based on their individual circumstances.”

Under the plans the calculation of how the Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) figure – a level of income to cover living costs – in financial assessment will be brought in line with the level permitted by DHSC.

That could see as many as 913 people required to give an increased contribution towards their adult social care – if financially able too.

Tariff income – from capital – will also be introduced into financial assessments. It is also proposed to lower the lower capital limit from £23,250 to £14,250 – mirroring the limits set by DHSC – potentially impacting 147 people.

People who have a council funded Community Alarm could have new monitoring and administration costs fee of £15 a month, which could impact 680 users.

Some 247 people claiming the ‘highest rate’ of Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance Care component (DLA) could end up paying £33.65 more a week

Those people who self-fund their care and ask the council to source, arrange and administer their care could face new charges.

The proposed change is to implement a £300 set up charge and an annual administration charge of £182 (£3.50 weekly) which could affect 33 people.

Individuals who are unable to manage their own finances and where there is no other person, family, or friends able to offer this support to them can receive an Appointee and Deputy Service.

Plans being considered by cabinet are to introduce a weekly administrative charge of £10 potentially affecting 122 people.

Bank and pre-payment charges and an annual property management fee are also included.

Those people who choose to delay payment of care and support, until a later date, against equity in property they own or part own could also face an increased charge – a legal set-up fee of £360; cancelling the charge and/or ending the agreement will cost £120; an annual administration fee will also be £120.

The report to the council’s cabinet adds: “Whilst no person will be required to pay more than they can afford towards the cost of their care under the new charging policies the changes will result in an increase in charges for some individuals.

“The council will track the people impacted by the recommended changes to identify any trends in the reduction of service use and potential for any safeguarding issues. Where there are concerns over the welfare of a person, a review assessment and if appropriate, safeguarding procedures will be followed.”

If the cabinet approves the changes on Thursday a consultation period for 11 weeks will follow starting on June 20.

The council will write to each person impacted by the proposal and will hold virtual and face-to-face meetings.