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Have your say on proposed changes to non-residential adult social care charging policy

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Norfolk County Council has launched a consultation on its proposals to change the way it charges some people for their non-residential adult social care services.

The changes would affect the Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG), which is the term used to describe the minimum amount of income that those receiving local authority arranged home care need to cover their living costs, before a charge for care can be applied by the council.  

The proposals would see the Norfolk Minimum Income Guarantee changed to be in line with the minimum level set by national government.  

The measures are part of £41.5m of savings that Norfolk County Council needs to make to balance its budget for 2024/25.

Councillor Alison Thomas, cabinet member for adult social care at Norfolk County Council said:
 “We are committed to providing high quality and sustainable adult social care services, but we also face significant financial challenges and rising demand. We must make tough choices to balance our budget and ensure we can support those who need care.

“It is important that we hear from people about these proposals. This will allow us to understand the full impact of any changes and I would encourage everyone to give us their views.”

The council currently uses a Minimum Income Guarantee of £187.13 a week for people aged 18 to pension age, which is above the minimum level set by the government. The council is proposing two options:

  • Option 1: Reduce the Minimum Income Guarantee for people 18-years-old to pension age from the current Norfolk County Council rate of £187.13 to government rates for 25-year old to pension age, which is currently £171.75
  • Option 2: Reduce the Minimum Income Guarantee to the government rate of £171.75 for people aged 25 to pension age, and also introduce a reduced rate for people aged 18 to 24 of £150.25.

It is estimated that option 1 would affect 1600 people who might have to pay between £2.50 and £18.00 a week more for their care. 

Option 2 would see around 95 18–24-year-olds pay between £2.50 and £40.00 more per week for their care, and around 1505 people between 25 – pension age pay an additional £2.50 to £18.00 a week.

The changes would add between £1.2m and £1.29m in additional income for Norfolk County Council’s adult social care services.

The proposals do not include any changes for people who have already reached pension-credit age as the council policy is already at the government-advised level.

The consultation is open now and runs until 17 May 2024. The county council are hosting a series of drop-in sessions at libraries to help people understand the proposals and express their views. Accessible versions of the consultation materials are also available.

People can share their views on the proposals in a number of ways:

  • Online at www.norfolk.gov.uk/savingsproposals
  • By email at [email protected]
  • By post, writing to: 
    The Minimum Income Guarantee Consultation 2024/25
    Freepost Plus RTCL-XSTT-JZSK 
    Norfolk County Council, Ground floor – south wing 
    County Hall, Martineau Lane 
    Norwich, NR1 2DH.

The results of the consultation will be reported to Cabinet in July 2024. The full consultation documents can be found here.

ENDS

Public drop-in sessions 
Monday 26th February Great Yarmouth Library 10:30am-3:30pm 
Monday 4th March  Dereham Library  12pm-4pm 
Tuesday 5th March  King’s Lynn 10:30am-3:30pm 
Monday 11th March Dereham Library  12pm-4pm 
Thursday 14th March Norwich Library 10:30am-3:30pm 
Friday 15th March North Walsham Library 10.30am-3.30pm 
Monday 6th May Dereham Library  12pm-4pm 
Tuesday 7th May King’s Lynn Library 10:30am-3:30pm 
Monday 13th May Dereham Library  12pm-4pm 
Tuesday 14th May Norwich Library 10:30am-3:30pm 

How people’s care charges are calculated:

In calculating someone’s contribution towards the cost of their care, the county council follow national rules. These are the steps we go through:

  • We look at all income
  • We ringfence and protect some types of income which people keep in full – this includes some benefits such as housing benefit, council tax benefit, mobility benefits and any earnings. (This is known as ‘disregard’)
  • The remaining income is then added up
  • The cost of their care is added up
  • People then pay either the full, partial or nothing towards the cost of their care. Everyone must be left with the Minimum Income Guarantee amount – as well as any other income that is ring-fenced or ‘disregarded.’

Everyone is different and everyone has their contribution worked out individually. There is no blanket contribution.

The full list of income that are protected and people keep in full are:

  • Earnings from employment
  • Housing Benefit
  • Child Working Tax Credits, Child Benefit and Child Maintenance Payments   
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Mobility, and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) Mobility
  • War Disablement Pension and Armed Forces Independence Payments and Mobility Supplement
  • Council Tax (reduction)
  • The difference between the enhanced rate and standard rate of Personal Independence Payments Daily Living (£33.65 currently)*
  • Bereavement Allowance*
  • Maternity Allowance*

*types of income that are protected in Norfolk but aren’t covered by the care act

Who would be affected

  • The county council currently provides chargeable non-residential adult social care services to just over 4,320 working age adults.
  • Under both options, 2,720 people will see no change to the amount they pay, either because they will continue to pay nothing or the amount they pay will remain the same.
  • 1,600 people would pay more for their care either because they are paying for the first time or because the amount they pay will increase.

Example case studies of how this could affect people are set out in the full consultation document.

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