Substantial increase in capital threshold approved by committee

Councillors have today agreed to substantially increase the maximum amount of capital a person in Aberdeenshire can have before they become liable to pay the full cost of their care.

The increase from £16,000 to £26,250 for non-residential charges follows feedback from those who receive care that the threshold is too low.

The decision was taken by Councillors on the Social Work and Housing Committee and will be backdated to April this year. This will bring it in to line with the residential charges threshold.

Officers visited very sheltered housing schemes and day centres earlier this year to advise service users how recent changes to care charges affected them. Feedback about the threshold came from these discussions.

The officers returned during August to discuss with them proposals to increase the threshold and invited them to complete a short survey. 89% of those who completed the survey said they were in favour of the change.

The committee agreed to a report going to full council which will look at whether removal of the 35% cap on care charges should be retrospectively phased in. The report will also look at how income and capital are considered in a financial assessment when the person receiving care has a partner.

Chair of Social Work and Housing Committee Cllr Anne Allan said: “The decision taken today by the committee shows we have listened and acted upon the concerns that were expressed.

“Where appropriate we will make good any overpayments that have arisen as a result of the increase being backdated to April.

“It is important to repeat that no one is asked to pay more than they can afford and officers are always willing to speak to people about their care charges.”
 
Vice Chair of Social Work and Housing Committee Cllr Raymond Christie said: “I think most people agree with the principle that those who can afford to contribute more towards the cost of their care should do so.

“We have listened to those who rightly pointed out the £16,000 threshold does not leave an individual with a reasonable sized reserve. With the changes approved by committee today I believe we have now struck the right balance

“We continue to offer support to people and urge them to take a financial assessment so we can make sure they are claiming everything they are entitled to”

Key points from committee:

The Social Work and Housing Committee agreed:

(1) to revise the capital threshold for non-residential charges to  £26,250 for all areas of charging covered under this policy;

(2)  that an information bulletin report be provided to the Social Work and Housing Cttee on the implementation of the Non Residential Charging Policy, as agreed at the meeting of Social Work and Housing Committee in December 2015, and the “lessons learned” from that implementation exercise, and

(3)  to  refer to Full Council at the meeting on 29 September:-

1. consideration that phasing be applied to the implementation of the policy, retrospectively, with an effective start date of 11 April 2016; and that the phasing be applied over a period of 5 years; and that the report, includes information on the financial implications of the phasing proposal, and
2. that the report to Full Council , include information to allow members to consider the application of the Non Residential Charging Policy as applied to couples. 


The report to Social Work and Housing committee can be found here: (item 4)
http://committees.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/committees.aspx?commid=14&meetid=18287