Thursday, November 23, 2006

Home care plans

The Welsh Assembly Government has announced plans to cut the cost of home care services for disabled and older people on low incomes in Bridgend.

Yesterday, First Minister Rhodri Morgan gave details of how part of a £76m fund would help over 10,000 older and disabled people in Wales remain independent in their own homes and that £600,000 would be made available to purchase more motorised wheelchairs.

The Welsh Assembly has also launched a public consultation on its proposals for changing the way local authorities like Bridgend charge for home care so that people on low incomes and the disabled are left with more money in their pocket after receiving their benefits and paying for home care.

I warmly welcome the extra money for the financial support for home care users and for more motorised wheelchairs. These proposals will mean that elderly and disabled people will receive the same support wherever they live in Wales.

By making sure that the elderly and disabled don’t pay for home care out of the income support and other benefits they receive, the Welsh Assembly is guaranteeing that home care users aren’t being punished financially for the using these invaluable services.

These new plans show the Welsh Assembly’s commitment to helping the most vulnerable people in Bridgend get both the home care and financial support they deserve.

The public consultation will run until 5th January 2007 and the relevant documents can be found on the Welsh Assembly Government website:

· The first proposal notes that currently, those on basic income support levels must be left with their entire benefit plus a ‘buffer’ of 25 per cent after they’ve been charged for their care. The new proposal seeks to increase this buffer to 35 per cent.

· The second proposal is to give a disability related expenditure disregard of at least 5 per cent of an individual’s basic Income Support. This additional flat rate relief is on top of the 35 per cent and will ease some of the financial burden of home care for those who already have high outgoings.

· Subject to the outcome of the consultation, The Welsh Assembly Government plans to implement these changes as statutory guidance to local authorities with the changes taking effect from April 2007. This makes sure that service users receive the same financial benefit across Wales regardless of where they live.


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