Is Social Care A Right?

With more pressure on Local Authorities in the UK to provide more services to more people at a high quality and give more service options to their service users, it is no wonder that LA’s are stretched to their limits.

It is reported that with in the next 20 years the number of Adults requiring access to social care services is going to increase beyond the realms of belief.  The number of people living longer and the expectation of quality of life is growing and growing, but with the economic crisis that is happening, how are the public preparing for this ? ..many are not, they expect Local Government to come up with the resources.

So how do we educate the public into understanding that responsibility comes down to them?  That they need to start by looking after their own body and mind, by exercise and keeping active.  As well as some sensible financial investing for their futures.  Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that this alone will not reduce the need completely but the more active and healthy we are for longer into old age,  the less of a strain will be put on the social care budget.  I also know that this will take time and an alternative way of thinking, not just by the public but the government bodies as well.

I want my father, who is now 80, to be safe and secure.  To know he is able to call on services that are good quality and value for money.  His generation seems to be thankful for any help that is given, that they are almost embarrassed to have the local authority assist them.

But will the next generation ? Have we created a generation that assumes that it is their right to receive state help, that they are entitled to what ever they can get? 

We have just experienced some horrendous scenes of riots and looting, to me this shows how a  minority of people feel they have the right to take what ever they want.  I pray that we have not left it too late to help them understand that this isn’t acceptable.

I don’t believe that Social Care is a right, I believe that it is a privilege that we have.  That we should care about each other as well as ourselves, taking responsibility for our futures and making it better for everyone.  Many countries don’t have a social care system, they look after their elderly as part of the family.

I am in no way suggesting that we don’t have assistance and help where needed but merely shape a better future.  Making changes now to support a long-term sustainable plan that encompasses some creative initiatives for the older population, adults and children with mental health issues and disabilities. I believe that Direct Payments may be the answer to encourage Care Workers to think outside the box and give more flexible approaches to the care environment.

Let’s start educating people now, it doesn’t have to be doom and gloom, lets create alternatives that are safe and friendly.

I am 43 and I know that I will blink and I will be 70+, but I intend to make provisions now for a comfortable fun filled future that excites me. Here’s to health and happiness and getting old on our own terms!

(getting off the soap box now!)

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What are Direct Payments ?

What Are Direct Payments ?

Direct payments are made by councils to people receiving social care services, instead of the council providing the service directly. Find out whether you can get direct payments, what you can and cannot use them for, and how to apply for them.

About direct payments

Direct payments are made by the local council. They’re for people who are assessed as needing help from social services, and prefer to arrange and pay for their own care and support services. This is instead of receiving them directly from the local council.

You must be able to give your consent to receive direct payments. You must be able to manage them even if you need help to do this on a day-to-day basis.

Eligibility

If you already receive social services

Your local council must offer you the option of direct payments in place of the services you currently receive. There are some limited circumstances where you are not given this choice. Your council will be able to tell you about these.

If you are not receiving social services

To get direct payments, you need to contact your local council to ask them to assess your needs. Social services – and therefore direct payments – are normally available if you are:

  • disabled and aged 16 or over
  • a carer aged 16 or over, including people with parental responsibility for a disabled child
  • an older person

If you have been refused social services

If your local council has decided that you do not need social care services, it will not offer you direct payments. If you think your needs or circumstances have now changed, ask your council for a new assessment.

How much you can get

The amount you receive will depend on the assessment your council makes of your needs.

How it is paid

Direct payments are made directly into your bank, building society, Post Office or National Savings account.

If you need someone who cares for you to collect your money, or you are registered blind, payment can be made by sending a cheque. This can be cashed at the Post Office.

How to apply for direct payments

If you already get services, ask your local council about direct payments.

If you’re applying for services for the first time, your social worker should discuss direct payments with you when they assess your care needs.

Use the link below to search for your local council website where you can find out more or apply online. Please note that this service is only available for English councils.

What you can use direct payments for

The money is to pay for the services and equipment which will meet your needs, as assessed by your local council.

Generally, councils should let you to choose how best to meet your assessed needs. This is as long as they are satisfied that agreed support arrangements are being met.

What you cannot use direct payments for

You cannot use direct payments to pay for permanent residential accommodation. But you may use direct payments to pay for occasional short periods in residential accommodation, if your council agrees that is what you need.

Unless your council decides that exceptional circumstances make it necessary, you cannot use direct payments to pay for a service from:

  • your spouse (husband or wife)
  • your civil partner
  • a partner with whom you live as a couple
  • a close relative with whom you live, or the spouse or partner of that close relative

Record keeping

If you receive direct payments, you will need to account for the money you spend. Your council will tell you what records you need to keep and what information you will be expected to provide. Examples include timesheets signed by personal assistants, or receipts for services from agencies.

The council has to be satisfied that the needs for which it is giving you direct payments are being met. They should tell you how they will go about this. This may involve a visit to your home.

Carers and direct payments

If you are a carer aged 16 or over, you may be eligible for direct payments for yourself.

You cannot use direct payments to buy services for the person you care for. They can only be spent on getting the support you, as a carer, have been assessed as needing.

Effect on other benefits

Direct payments are not a replacement of income and therefore do not affect any other benefits you may be receiving.

What to do if your circumstances change

If your social services needs change

If your needs change, contact your local council as soon as possible so that they can reassess the level of payments you require. It does not matter whether the changes are long- or short-term.

For example, if you do not need to spend the full amount they may need to adjust your payments. This might be because your condition improves temporarily, or you go into hospital.

If you do not want to continue with direct payments

If you decide you do not want to continue, your council will arrange services instead. If the council decides you cannot manage with direct payments, it might decide to stop making direct payments and provide services instead.

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