Government issues new guidance on charges for home care services

Given the wealth of guidance provided by the government on
charges for residential accommodation it has always been surprising
that there has been so little guidance issued in relation to the
discretion to charge pursuant to section 17 of the Health and
Social Services and Social Security Adjudications Act 1983

Circular LAC 2001(32) draws the attention of local councils to
the issue of guidance ‘Fairer Charging Policies for Home Care’ and
other non-residential Social Services,
issued under section 7 of the Local Authority Social Services Act
1970 and, importantly, at the current time, there are a number of
parts of the guidance which had to be implemented by 1 October

Councils should ensure that users receiving income support or
job seekers allowance (income based) (JSA-IB), whose overall income
equals the defined “basic” levels plus the 25 per cent buffer, are
no longer charged from no later than this date.

Users receiving more than 10 hours care weekly, whose Disability
Living Allowance (DLA), Attendance Allowance (AA), Severe
Disability Premium (SDP), Constant Attendance Allowance (CAA), or
Exceptionally Severe Disablement Allowance (ESDA) is included in an
assessment of income should also have had an individual assessment
of their disability-related expenditure no later than 1 October
2002. For users receiving 10 hours or less home care weekly,
councils may, as a transitional measure, continue with existing
charging policies in relation to DLA, AA, SDP, CAA and ESDA.

For other users, regardless of the amount of service received,
councils should not introduce a new charging policy, which takes
these benefits into account for the first time, without also
providing for an individual assessment of disability-related

Earnings should have been disregarded as part of income in
charge assessments from no later than 1 October 2002. Systems
should have been in place by 1 October 2002 to ensure that the
guidance is implemented and the service users affected are

There are a further raft of provisions which are due to
introduced in April 2003, which will be reviewed at the time.

Stephen Cragg

Doughty Street Chambers

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