'Top Up' for mum's home care

Discussion in 'Legal and financial issues' started by Marnie63, Jun 26, 2018.

  1. Marnie63

    Marnie63 Registered User

    Dec 26, 2015
    1,591
    Hampshire
    I've recently requested a re-assessment of mum's care needs from Social Services as the direct payments we receive no longer cover the level of care she needs. Am awaiting someone to be allocated and to visit to do this (no particular worries about this as, thankfully, this has always worked very well in the past and the people have always been very helpful - so many awful stories on here about SS, but they deserve a praise from me for this at least).

    We have always received direct payments for her home care (as opposed to carers sourced by SS), and I have always used the same agency, but because I've had to up the number of calls as mum is now bedbound, and because the agency are raising their fees, the monthly amount we get from SS, plus mum's assessed contribution, will no longer cover the monthly invoice from the agency.

    When I spoke with someone today, they talked about the rate they pay being less than my agency charges (yes, correct), and that I would have to 'top up'. I'm not really sure why they say this as the whole point of DPs, as I understand it, is that I get an amount, and then I use that to buy suitable care for mum. In our case the agency we use is most suitable as they have several carers who speak one of mum's languages. I have always used the amount they pay me and converted this to buy as much care as I can for mum (their rates are around £5 less an hour than I have to pay the agency).

    What puzzles me is where they expect the 'top up' (if there was one) to come from? From my £64.60 a week Carers' Allowance?!! As I understand it, I am not allowed to top up from mum's savings (not much anyway). So if I am a full time carer, in receipt of Carers' Allowance only, do they expect me to start using my savings to pay extra for mum's care, or take my pension early to cover it?! I would always be prepared to spend my own money on my mum if I had to, but are they assuming I have some other income that I can pay the possible top up from? How am I supposed to achieve that if I care for her full time?
     
  2. Rosettastone57

    Rosettastone57 Registered User

    Oct 27, 2016
    980
    I'm sure others on here can give better advice but for care in the home i believe you can use your mum's savings . The 3rd party top up rules I think only apply to care homes. I may be wrong but others will be along soon to point you in the right direction. I know with my MIL who is self funding I asked her agency once about their council contracts and they said they would take on a top up fee and this is usually from the client's funds.
     
  3. Marnie63

    Marnie63 Registered User

    Dec 26, 2015
    1,591
    Hampshire
    Thanks very much. If that's the case, then I can use up mum's savings. I guess that's what these things are for. She doesn't have much so, depending on what extra funding they may or may not allocate her, this will get used up quite fast. I wonder what will happen then. Can a third party (ie. me) be forced to top up? I never thought I would have financial worries on top of everything else, but here they come.
     
  4. sah

    sah Registered User

    Apr 20, 2009
    332
    Dorset
    You cannot be forced to pay a top up; whatever SS say, they have the responsibility to make sure she is cared for in the correct way. The only way you could be asked to pay is if they had a suitable option that was cheaper and you wanted a more expensive one-but their option must meet her needs. Don't listen to anyone who tries to get you to sign anything! It may be worth a visit to CAB? I also found Age Concern's fact sheets/website very useful. Good luck. Sah
     
  5. Marnie63

    Marnie63 Registered User

    Dec 26, 2015
    1,591
    Hampshire
    Thanks sah. The issue is that I think SS would provide their own carers, but I chose to use a particular local agency because they have several carers now who speak a particular language, so are able to communicate better with mum. The agency is very reliable and I've had an excellent service and good relationship with them for over two and a half years now, so am not going to give that up as mum moves into the later stages of this vile disease.

    I think because SS have their own offering, at the rates they pay the hourly direct payment to us, then their stance is that if I use a more expensive agency, then I have to pay the extra hourly rate. What I have been doing is having fewer hours, and doing more myself, so that the amount they pay us covers the costs. I think, depending on who you get from SS, they either think this is OK (one said it was OK for me to use the DPs for someone to be with mum while I went to work), or stick to the rule that I have to have the hours mum has been assessed for, and pay the 'top up'. I also doubt that any carers they could provide would 'meet her needs' in the language stakes and with a group of only 4 familiar carers calling, but I suspect they would probably say that they could! I know it's all about cost. Hopefully I will get someone who will agree to me using the DPs flexibly. I have learnt that with SS you have to be careful how you word things and how you offer up info. I tend to just sit and answer questions carefully rather than offering up lots of info at the assessments. I'm not a dishonest person, but know that you have to play things a little carefully with them to get what you want. I will continue to do this to get the best care and service for mum!
     

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