A consultation on proposals to increase adult social care charging in Cambridgeshire has gone live.
The county council said the plans to change the charging policy would bring it into line with the majority of other local authorities as it seeks to balance its budget.
Many people who receive social care from the council receive disability benefits which are paid specifically by the Government to help meet the costs of their care and support.
Since the introduction of the Care Act 2014, councils have been allowed to charge for certain non-statutory adult social care services and take into account some disability benefits when charging. The majority of councils across the country have subsequently introduced such changes.
Cambridgeshire County Council reviewed its charging policy two years ago and made no changes at that time. However, since then the financial situation has changed - it is currently the sixth lowest funded county council per person and the number of people aged 80 or above is expected to grow by 30 per cent by 2024.
The council is holding the 12 week consultation on five proposed changes which will end on Sunday, December 15.
People will be able to give their views by a variety of methods, including: an online survey, paper survey (which is also available in Easy Read and large print versions), at community events and at meetings run by other interested groups.
Those people who may be directly affected by the proposed changes will receive a letter from the council with a paper survey and a pre-paid envelope enclosed for a reply.
Cllr Anna Bailey, chairwoman of the Adults Committee, said: “The Adults Committee has held a wide ranging debate regarding the review of the adult social care charging policy and has voted to consult on the proposals.
“We have thought long and hard about this and we are one of the last councils to explore this option. However, due to the significant budget pressures and the temporary nature of government funding for adult social care, it means we are now having to make difficult decisions.
"If we don’t explore this, the other options we would need to pursue would be to reduce those free preventative services we provide that help keep people safe, well and living as independently as possible. There would also be the danger that we would not have enough budget for care packages.
"We will make sure that if introduced, the new charges are individually affordable for each person affected and we will be consulting fully with those that are affected and with voluntary organisations.
“We want to hear their views to understand the impacts and to help shape these proposals further.”
To take part in the consultation visit www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/chargingforcare-yoursay.