Disabled Adults in Danger of Funding Black Hole

  • The Health Secretary's statement on social care did not answer the questions raised in charities report on the deficit in disability funding.

    In Jeremy Hunt's announcement only confirmed for the group of charities that in fact there is a group of disabled adults who will be missing out on basic support under the reforms.

    The charities Scope, Mencap, National Autistic Society, Sense, and Leonard Cheshire Disability believe there may be a £1.2 billion deficit in adult disability funding under the new proposals.

    The Health Secretary's speech did not correct the problem found in the report The Other Care Crisis, that showed that up to 105,000 disabled people may not receive any basic support as a result of the new proposals by the government.

    Present Funding Crisis

    The main concern from the report that has not been reassured by Mr Hunt's speech to parliament is that there is already a huge funding gap in the social care sector, and many are unable to receive support at present as the support that is offered is stripped back as far as it can go

    The cuts made to social care are already having a major impact on the lives of disabled people and their families.

    Four in ten disabled people receiving care are failing to have their basic needs met, and underfunding is "turning back the clock" on disabled people’s independence. Almost half of disabled adults services aren't supporting them to get out into the community as services are pushed to their limits.

    Richard Hawkes, chief executive of Scope, said:

    The Government's plans ignore the crisis in social care.

    There is a £1.2bn funding black hole and almost 40% of disabled people tell us their local support doesn't meet basic needs.

    The group of charities have until 19th March to submit their evidence to two parliamentary groups who will be looking in to the case.

    Reality of the changes

    Despite assurances from Jeremy Hunt that those with disabled needs when they turn 18 are guaranteed free social care for life, and that those who develop a health care need past this age will only have to pay up to a reasonly cap £75,000 of care costs before they are funded, in reality this second group are likely to struggle.

    The money they pay before reaching the cap does not include regular living costs, such as food and accommodation in a care home, and it does not cover the actual money that a disabled person will pay.

    In fact, the amount that will count towards the capped £75,000 is the cost that the local authorities would have paid for the support, which is much lower than the amount that a self-subsidised person would pay.

    This means that before reaching this care cap, the person receiving care will have had to pay much more than this to include accommodation, and the difference between the local authorities cost for care, and what a self-subsidised person would actually have to pay.

    This is likely to take years before receiving any funding towards their social care needs, and anyone considering most people who have a disability are already struggling to make ends meet, with two thirds of those receiving social housing benefits being disabled, where will this money come from?

    What will the changes change?

    Underfunding of care has already been pushed to it's limits by cuts to local authority funding, which has led to councils removing care and support from all but a minority of those with the seemingly most complex needs.

    Since 2008, over 90,000 disabled people have lost care and support, and the new reforms are looking to make this trend Government policy.

    The report shows that since 2008 the number of people using care has fallen by at least 90,000, or one in six of all people using care

    The report shows that it will be even further exacerbated by the new reforms, and will take more care away from those still eligible to receive it under current criteria.

    It will also remove many preventative measures that currently stop disabled people from needing further care, which could end up with needing more care than if these measures were in place and therefore a higher cost for these people that will result in more money from the government to fund this.

    The charities say that to create a reform we need to consider the people who need the service, which involves looking at the reality of their lives - this seems to be unseen by the politicians making these decisions, who's main focus is to reach targets instead of create a system that works.

    Despite the intentions to reform the welfare system for the better, these will all be undermined if the funding crisis is not looked at realistically.

    The report says:

    To its credit, the Government has recognised the crisis and has set out a bold vision for the future, built around independence and wellbeing for all.

    But for the vision to become reality we must make decisions based on a proper understanding of everyone who uses the system.

    The way Britain has been thinking about social care has been dominated by concerns about the ageing population – it is vital that we also recognise the needs and aspirations of the one in three people who need social care and support who are under 65.

    Without such an understanding, the positive vision the Government is aiming for will be undermined.



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