Why we need change
We all want to live a good life, with meaningful relationships and doing things that are important to us. Many Disabled and older people need social care support to do the simple things in life. Unlike the NHS, however, social care support is not free and even people on very low incomes, including those on means-tested benefits are often asked to pay for it.
There is no time for delay and no room for excuses. The Government must urgently reform and invest in social care. It should be on equal terms with the NHS and free at the point of delivery. It must be system designed and based on the lived experiences of disabled people, older people, parents and carers.
Social care on equal terms with the NHS
We are demanding social care that is free at the point of use, on equal terms with the NHS, that pays staff well and supports the human rights of disabled people.
Scrap care charging
Social care charging is unfair and a post code lottery. Thousands of disabled and older people throughout the Covid pandemic have experienced social care cuts and increases in care charging. Families and carers are struggling to make ends meet and pay the week’s shopping bill. Others are being pushed into debt. It is time to end the social care charging scandal.
Paying for care - the myth of “only being asked to pay what Disabled adults can afford”.
The Care Act 2014 gives councils a “power”, or choice, to charge for care services in the person’s home. One council, Hammersmith and Fulham, does not charge. All other English councils do.
Deciding how much a person is able to contribute though is not a matter of asking the person how much they can afford to pay - nor does that person have a full “income and expenditure” assessment to find out what “disposable income” a person has.
Instead, councils that choose to charge, must follow the Care and Support (Charging and Assessment of Resources) Guidance. This instructs that a person must be left with, at least, a certain amount to cover basic living costs - this is called the Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG).
If a person has more than the MIG, anything over this amount can be taken for care charges, up to the cost of their care.
The problem is that, in additional to being too little anyway, the amount that the Government says a person needs to be left with for their daily living costs has not increased since 2014 despite the fact that Disabled people have experienced increases in disability related costs.
Impact of the Covid Pandemic
Social care was struggling before COVID-19 arrived but these last fifteen months have made things worse. Tens of thousands of disabled and older people have died before there time from the virus. If social care had been properly funded some of those lives could have been saved.
It really is a choice for some people between heating their home, or eating or paying the care charges. As Sue explains: "Out of the blue in August, my son got a bill for £4,500. He's nineteen, profoundly disabled. He lives in a care home. I have no idea how we can pay for it."