New charges for people receiving care in Peterborough are coming into effect with some people who refuse to sell their home expected to pay interest on the funds they receive.
Seven charges which might adversely impact people in care were this morning (Monday, January 18) approved by Peterborough City Council’s cabinet to go alongside six charges where the financial impact is either neutral or beneficial.
The new charges are expected to bring in £260,000 to the council over a whole year but a guarantee has been given that the charges will not hit people who are unable to pay them.
The changes will see care charges introduced for prisoners who can afford them, while interest charges will apply to residential care home loan payments made by the council on behalf of people who own their former home but choose not to sell it.
In addition, for people who receive care and are part of a couple, care charges will be based only on the finances of the person receiving care and not the joint finances and circumstances of the couple.
Care charges will also now apply from the date that the care started, rather than the date of the financial assessment.
Councillor Wayne Fitzgerald, deputy leader and cabinet member for integrated adult social care and health, said the charges mirror what is going on in other local authorities.
He added: “If you cannot afford to pay these charges you will not pay.
“If you looked to use a lawyer they would charge you and we are doing the same.
“But we would not expect to do it for people that have less than £23,000.”
The other charges will see elements of some disability benefits (the higher rate of Attendance Allowance and the
higher rate of Disability Living Allowance Care Component) which are currently disregarded in the calculation of the care charge for some people, now fully taken into account.
And an administration fee will be charged for arranging care services for people who have capital above the national funding limit.
Also, charges for respite care home stays will now be based on an individual’s own finances, not a fixed, standard charge.
As a result of the changes, 440 people could see their weekly care charges increase by more than £25 (depending on their individual and financial circumstances), up to 60 people could see their weekly care charges increase by up to £15 per week, and up to 200 people a year who first start to receive care could see the period to which care charges apply increase by an average of two to three weeks from the start date of their care.
A six-week consultation on the charges was held from August last year and the changes were scrutinised by councillors last week who asked that any additional money taken in by the council be ringfenced for the adult social care budget.
Currently, around 60 per cent of people in receipt of a care and support service make a financial contribution towards the cost of their care.
Income from care charges in the 2015/16 financial year is estimated to be £6.7 million which would represent 16 per cent of the council’s adult social care budget.