Delay in guidance worries charity

government’s new guidance for councils on fairer charging for home
care services has been criticised for being too little too

by health minister Jacqui Smith last week, the guidance says home
care charges should not reduce users’ incomes below a basic amount
equivalent to income support plus 25 per cent of the benefit.

It also
says an assessment of each user’s disability-related expenditure
should be made before disability benefits can be taken into account
as income. And for the first time, councils are to disregard
earnings in assessing ability to pay a charge.

guidance will be implemented in two phases. By October 2002 all
service users receiving income-related benefits whose overall
income equals or is less than the defined basic level should not be
charged. The rest of the guidance comes into effect in April

But an
Age Concern England spokesperson said: “We are extremely concerned
that local authorities will be able to delay the enforcement of the
guidance until April 2003.”

Fairer Charging Policies for Home Care and other
Non-Residential Social Services

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