Update: 16 September 2021

We are pleased the public protest against the adult social care charging was acknowledged at yesterday’s Health and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee.

However, the scrutiny of the financial assessment changes, which have caused concern that vulnerable adults can no longer afford their care, has been deferred to January 2022

We believe people can’t wait for this, and as we confirmed at the meeting, we will be hosting a public webinar (details to follow) to help West Sussex residents and our community partners to understand the financial assessment process, to communicate what people can do when their charging is unaffordable and how they can make sure that their disability-related expenses are recognised and included in a calculation. 

We want to provide people with the resources needed for a reassessment of their financial contribution and are continuing to work with West Sussex County Council to highlight the issues so that appropriate changes can be made.

Under the Care Act 2014 , anyone can request a care needs assessment if they have physical or mental impairments. This is carried out by Social services, (for people with a disability from birth/childhood they will be supported by the Lifelong Services team), in West Sussex. The assessment will result in a care and support plan, which details how the care needs will be met.

For most children and adults this is delivered by domiciliary care or for a personal assistant (PA) to provide a number of care hours per week and sometimes days at a day care centre. In more demanding cases this might require a care home or supported living accommodation.

The cost is calculated along with the income (such as benefits) of the person receiving care. West Sussex County Council (WSCC) will decide how much the person concerned will pay towards their care in a financial assessment, unless the person has over £23,250 in savings, as this would mean they pay for their care support themselves.

People who have been assessed to pay towards their can will then receive a charging order and are invoiced monthly. 

In 2019, the cabinet member took the decision to reduce the amount the WSCC pay towards this care, but this was not implemented until January 2021. This has now resulted in more of the person’s ESA and PIP or other income being paid to the WSCC.

Many are now struggling financially with some going into debt to maintain the care they need or going without some of the care. 

We are collecting data and case studies to present to WSCC to inform them of the hardships now being encountered. We have asked the Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committee to scrutinise the decision and operation of the financial assessment service and the impact the decision has had on people. The committee have power to make strong recommendations and to hold services to account.

Downloads

We are asking you to feedback to the Council on your experience of financial hardship or issues relating to the reassessment of the charging/contribution towards your care costs. To support you to do this, we have provided a template letter (below) that can be personalised.

You can also contact our helpdesk team for further information and advice on 0300 012 0122 or helpdesk@healthwatchwestsussex.co.uk

Healthwatch West Sussex - Financial Assesssment Process Influencing Brief (August 2021)
Financial Assessment Letter Template (August 2021)

Share your experiences

We are keen to hear from you if you have experienced an unexpected change in what you are expected to pay or are worried about how you will pay. We also want to invite you to share any questions you would like the scrutiny committee to put to the Council about this issue.

Email us at helpdesk@healthwatchwestsussex.co.uk

Call us on 0300 012 0122

 

We are working with West Sussex County Council on this issue and have called for an urgent review of the process and charges made in some cases. The WSCC Welfare Benefits Advice Officers provide a support line - 01243 642121