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Direct Payments - rate too low to use an Agency - Carers UK Forum

Direct Payments - rate too low to use an Agency

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
Hi - I would be very grateful for your advice. My father lives in central London - he is currently having a new care asseasement undertaken- his health has deteriorated so we have asked for an increase in his hours. The Social Worker has advised that should any extra hours be allocated the rate of payment will remain the same as under his current plan. This is the minimum wage plus some money to cover annual leave/sick pay/insurance and tax. Unfortunately we have been unable to find anyone willing to work at this rate with my dads complex needs. The local Agencies all charge at least double this rate. I am at a loss at what to do. We are very keen to have direct Payments as in the past it has enabled greater flexibility and choice (some of the carers sent by the Council have been truly awful and we have had very little influence or ability to change them). I just don't know what to do. Can the council give us a personal budget that is so little that we can't purchase the care through an Agency that his care assessment has identified him as needing?
I have just had exactly the same results here in Devon.

My partner has dementia and increasingly complex medical needs - I am his sole carer 24/7/365. We rent our property so are not self funding.

Yesterday I was absolutely at my wits end as we had had an awful time since Boxing Day - I rang Direct Payments and spoke with a social assessor as the only way I could see me coping was to have a respite care plan.

We have been assessed as needing SIX weeks respite PER YEAR, in order for me not to go completely under. They then happily tell you that they will pay for the six weeks at the rate of just over £400 per week BUT then they admit that this realistically will only buy 9 days/night care per year....So instead of making me feel completely undervalued and overwhelmed why don't they just say you can have 9 days/nights respite per year and they will pay for it. Why tell me I NEED SIX WEEKS and then not have the funding to pay for it?

They also will not tell you where you can get this respite and just refer you to the Care Quality Commission....... it's all a complete nonsense and waste of time...... Do let me know how you get along xxx
The rules are clear, the LA must give you enough money to buy the care that someone needs. It is UNLAWFUL to set payments at a level which won't actually buy the care. Go back to the LA, make a formal complaint. If the person concerned is on benefits, apply for Legal Aid.
Thank you - I've made a formal complaint but am not very confident of them finding in my favour (it seems to be their policy). I have never used a lawyer before- do you know how to find one who I should experienced in disability/ personal care issues. Thank you once again.
Mary- I'm so very sorry you are also experiencing this problem as well. It's so very difficult and soul destroying. It just feels like everything is such a waste of time and worthless. I can't believe I gave up all my annual leave from work to help with the assessment (four social work visits, OT, Gp etc), for them to come up with a plan that they won't fund. They knew it's impossible to get someone in to provide the specialist care that my dad needs at a minimum wage (why on earth would anyone do it when Tesco pay so much more) yet they persist. Sometimes you just reach the end - only the love of my dad that is keeping me going. Makes you wonder why you do all the 'proper things' pay tax, go to work and care for someone when you have absolutely nothing to show for it : completely exhausted, ill and worn down. I suppose it's the love of our family that make you keep going but my resentment to the out of touch people that run this country grows each day!,
If a local authority is acting unlawfully, then the "remedy" can be found through taking legal action.
I now have legal aid for my son, I just googled "Legal Aid Hampshire" and a list of approved lawyers appeared. I just rang them up, and they told me what to do, i.e. go and see them with some ID and take some details.
The only way we will ever be able to stop local authorities short changing us is to make a stand, but when you are an exhausted carer it's not easy. The solicitor will write letters on your behalf, must easier to have someone fighting your battles for you.
Hi both,
This is an issue where we live too. The cost of care went up but funding was not increased to match this. Clearly with each increase to the Living wage, this is only going to get worse. I can see there being a landmark legal case that sets a precedent, a bit like when a group of disabled people and carers took a local authority to court over plans to only fund critical care needs and to no longer fund care for those with substantial needs.

I sought advice from the Carer's UK helpline which helped me to eventually secure the funding, it was a.tough fight, but their help was vital. I recommend trying this first.

Melly1
Thanks. I'm planing to call the helpline on Monday. Wth the minimum wage going up in April I imagine this will become an issue for many. I've tried advertising in so many places for the past six months but getting a reliable carer who can meet my fathers complex needs for minimum wage in central London just seems to Ben impossible. The rate the council is providing is half the amount the cheapest Agency want - just haven't a clue what to do but hopefully the helpline will be able to assist. Thank you.