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Disability benefits: Where does the Care and Support Green Paper stand?

So going back to the meeting that I was discussing in my previous blog, I will expand on what they were saying about moving the finance that funds disability benefits into the budget that funds social care.

Phil Hope wanted to be clear that it was only Attendance Allowance (AA) and not Disability Living Allowance (DLA) that was included in the proposal, and seemed a little mystified that people may have thought otherwise.

Of course, the reason why was that the Green Paper was not explicit (my italics below):

“We think we should consider integrating some elements of disability benefits, for example Attendance Allowance, to create a new offer for individuals with care and support needs.” (p 15)

“There might be a case for integrating some disability benefits such as Attendance Allowance into the care and support system.” (p 103)

It was explained that the reasoning for this proposal is related to resources. Attendance Allowance is a non-means tested benefit meaning rich and poor get it alike and their proposal is to use the money that funds Attendance Allowance to target social care support for those of less means. It is what they described as a “trade-off” (see previous blog, I fear this term could become ubiquitous jargon) where some lose and others win; a universal cash benefit is lost to enable greater free social care support for those eligible.

A colleague asked whether all of the money used to fund AA would be transferred to social care budgets, or whether a saving would be made by only transferring some of it. The reply was that all of the money would be transferred.

There appears two main objections: Firstly, at the same time as the Government says it wants to give individuals more choice and control, they take away a cash benefit free to use as the individual thinks best so that government/local authorities can disburse as a personal budget or direct service. So does this restrict individual choice and control?

Secondly, the Green Paper says that while people currently receiving AA will continue to receive the same level of support after any change, the same could not be said for those after the change who would have been eligible for AA. This is clearly linked to the “trade-off” described above.

Our briefing contains more details on this and there is a survey as well. There are also discussion forums running on this and other Green Paper issues.

Take Care, and in the spirit of my last blog’s sign off, Take Part

Gordon

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September 11, 2009 - Posted by | Social Care | , , , ,

11 Comments »

  1. AA ?

    What of the common situation wherein we have an elderly caree with his \ her son \ daughter the sole 24 \ 7 caree … a situation I endured for 10+ years ?

    To remove AA from the total family income would be plain madness , all caring done by the sibling … finances could be break even at best , the loss of AA enough to lead to essential cutbacks that neither the caree or carer can bear.

    In these situations , the only way to view finances is to treat the situation as a partnership wherein the caree receives the income , supplemented by the carer … to decrease that income ?

    Even in carer circles , the uniqueness of the lone caree \ carer situation has long gone unrecognised , both by government and the supporting circus … great caution must be exercised whenever trying to apply solutions on a general basis.

    Comment by Paul | September 12, 2009 | Reply

  2. Gordon,
    I think it would be a great shame if AA was means tested. I have heard it said, more than once, that when someone is faced with the shock of caring for someone seriously ill, the small amount of AA given without question, had been a great help and comfort to them.

    I wonder if you could explain what this headline means?
    http://www.egovmonitor.com/node/27908
    Why will English councils benefit and what is the Trust asking about it?
    thanks
    Wendy

    Comment by Wendy Chill4us | September 13, 2009 | Reply

  3. Hi Gordon,

    With each step it takes the govt are trying to distance themselves from any responsibilities towards the disabled/elderly/carers, in such a way that they will not be held accountable when a new system fails.

    If responsibility for allocating resources is transferred to Local Authorities the right to appeal to an independent tribunal will be lost.Plus there are many people who do not want any involvement with social services, therein choice is being taken away.

    Its been ‘said’ if there were changes, those in receipt of AA would be given an ‘equivilant amount’ via LA’s.Well, if we take in to account that presently,that said person has a family carer in receipt of CA, care to the amount of 35 hours per week MINIUMUM is being provided now.Can you honestly see anywhere near that amount being offered by an LA.

    Day centres are closing at an alarming rate or being priced out of reach.Meals on wheels services affected too.Respite almost non existant in some places.Some care agencies are struggling to recruit staff………..and through all this more pressure is placed on unpaid carers.

    As well as these ‘consultation events’ going on now, each MP should have been instructed to have their own local event, where the very people these measures are going to affect could have had their say.Face to face confrontation would have left the MPs in no doubt at all of the anger regarding these proposals.

    Also, with the introduction of the new ESA last year, it will be harder for people to claim DLA,they will be steered towards ESA with necessary topups, if unable to work.Again less identified carers.

    Job centre plus now have/will have Care Partnership Managers, which is a good step for those carers that need advice and support regarding employment.However,does this also mean that the proposal for carers moving to JSA is still on the cards? The govt have been extremely quiet on that front.

    With both Welfare reform and providers of care,it is going to be the private companies that will eventually have full control, they will determine the rates for workfare/care.All their profits is money that should be ploughed back in to services.

    Until the likes of Phil Hope,Yvette Cooper, and the same shadow positions from other parties, openly state that they do not intend to slowly abolish CA, nothing they say will be believed, and as much as Mr Hope says DLA not in this current paper, I ( along with many others ) do not believe it is safe if the AA proposal goes ahead.

    Their long term aim is to have a single working age benefit and to achieve that they are attempting to streamline benefits now.

    .

    Comment by Rosemary | September 14, 2009 | Reply

  4. As my mothers sole carer since 2006 i am dependant on her income to support me i have a small private pension and the carers allowance i receive no other help at all, her attendance allowance is in fact subsidising her own care by paying me indirectly, the A.A. has over the years become part of the STATE PENSION and to remove the A.A. is the same as a cut in the pension as my mother has a war widows pension and a war disablement pension if her war related pensions were not disregarded she would under the means tested system get nothing at all we dont want care staff employed by local authority working within our home i am more than happy to do the work but like any worker i req a payment and the carers allowance and my mothers A.A. just about keeps our heads above water .
    if this A.ALOWANCE was removed many families like me would have no option but to place my mother within the residential social care system at a massive cost to the L.A. or i could care for her without payment but i would have to declare myself bankrupt it`s as serious as that .
    many people forget that you can only receive carers allowance if you care for someone who is in reeipt of A.A. or D.L.A.
    why stop with A.A. as the non means tested benefit what about all the CHILD CARE BENEFITS THAT GO TO ALL FROM THE SINGLE MUM IN HER COUNCIL FLAT TO THE RICH IN THEIR STATELY HOMES TO REMOVE THE ATTENDANCE ALLOWANCE IS LIKE SIGNING A SUICIDE NOTE THIS WELFARE REFORM WOULD FINISH THE LABOUR PARTY ONCE AND FOR ALL .

    Comment by GEORGE HERSCHEL | September 14, 2009 | Reply

  5. A bit late! Do I assume then that if my localcouncil get’s the AA Iinstead of my Wife? If that is the case will they provide 24/7 care that I provide? I,E, getting out of bed 2/3 times a night to help my Wife to the toilet, cooking her meals, washing,ironing and general care a person needs that has lost use of one side of her body ( I am her left handf man!!)

    Comment by TOM KEARTON | September 30, 2009 | Reply

    • Hi Tom

      Yes, the Government’s thinking is that the extra money made available for social care by removing Attendance Allowance would provide you and your wife with more support than you may currently receive.

      Thanks
      Gordon

      Comment by Gordon | September 30, 2009 | Reply

      • Interesting …. Gordon , are you \ your organisation , supporting the Government’s view … bear in mind my original comment ( Number One ) on the effects of removing AA from the budget of a caree \ lone carer situation ?

        Also , if AA is paid irrespective of income , many carees would NOT qualify for ” free ” extra care no thanks to means testing. In that situation , the Government is simply reducing the income without replacing it with care … said care would only be provided at a price.

        Comment by Paul | September 30, 2009

      • Hi Paul

        I hope that my blog on 11th Sept outlines our objections to the proposal. However, I do try to outline arguments for both sides to allow readers the chance to make up their own minds.

        Thanks for your contributions Paul

        Gordon

        Comment by Gordon | October 2, 2009

      • In this situation wherein AA is removed , replacement care may come at a price through means testing.

        In addition , caree may not qualify for care as his \ her condition may not be considered priority.

        Bottom line ? £ XX removed from the caree \ carer budget with the prospect of nothing in return.

        Cross reference with Comment One under this Theme.

        Comment by Paul | October 1, 2009

      • Dear Paul

        You have explained the essence of the proposal perfectly – many could lost out if Attendance Allowance was removed and given to means tested social care budgets. The Government counters this by saying that more funding would be available to local authorities to help those most in need. However, there is general sceptism that local authorities would use the extra money effectively.

        Gordon

        Comment by Gordon | October 2, 2009

  6. Hi

    Thought you might be interested in this video

    http://www.thepatientsvoice.org/Petition_For_The_Preservation_of_Disability_Living.asp

    Belinda

    Comment by Belinda | October 13, 2009 | Reply


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