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|04 Aug 2015|
Speaking Up, Speaking Out
Research by the disability charity Scope estimates that on average, disabled people spend £550 a month on disability-related expenditure, including higher heating bills, buying specialised equipment, paying for taxis to get around or covering higher insurance premiums.
Paying for social care charges can make this even worse so it is important to have such Disability Related Expenditure properly recognised when it comes to any financial assessment
Legal Basis for Charging and Disability Related Expenditure
The Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 provides the legal basis for charging for non-residential care. Under s87 of the Act charges must be both “reasonable and practicable” for an individual to pay.
Understanding the associated additional daily living costs of living with an illness or a disability is essential if local authorities are to ensure charging levels meet this test. Failure to take Disability Related Expenditure (DRE) into account as part of the financial assessment could result in charging levels which cause financial hardship and undermine the right of people living with an illness or disability to live independently.
COSLA’s National Strategy & Guidance on Charges Applying to Non-residential Social Care Services 2015/16 recognises the importance of taking DRE into account and states in paragraph 7.31 on page 31 that “to ensure the extra costs of being disabled are be taken into account by charging policies councils should be proactive in considering further disregard of income where additional expenditure is incurred by a service user as a result of living as a disabled person.”
While we are still waiting for the main political parties to publish their election manifestos, there is a chance to catch up on what they might do to help people with learning disabilities. You can watch a video of spokespeople for the three big parties in Scotland by clicking here.
So far only the Scottish Green Party has published a manifesto but we will be supplying shortened Easy Read versions soon afterwards. Hopefully some of the parties will supply Full Easy Read versions later.
We thank you for the opportunity to respond to the Cabinet Secretary’s letter of 19th March 2015.
We are pleased to note that Scottish Government remains in discussion with COSLA over this matter. Resolving the question of social care charges is a key issue in establishing a fair Scotland which respects the human rights of disabled people.
This has been a difficult problem for many years and one that has grown worse in recent years. We are not surprised that it will take time to resolve. It is heartening to see that our concerns are being taken seriously and are being discussed.
We are do not believe that the Cabinet Secretary has answered the question that was put to her. At the meeting on Tuesday, 17 February 2015 Jackson Carlow said:
"It was all a bit equivocal at the end of the evidence that we heard last time. I think that we want to get a much more specific idea of the timetable that the cabinet secretary is working towards. It would be useful.
“I welcome the approach that was being articulated, but nonetheless there is an urgency and a desire on the part of the committee to move this forward. The next step would be, after reflecting on the evidence given, to ask when the cabinet secretary expects things to coalesce into something a little more definitive."
It would appear that there is nothing more definitive that she can say nor is there the sense of urgency the committee was looking for.
Our March newsletter has just been published and is being sent out to regular subscribers. If you would like to get your own copy by email then please let us know.
Our first article is a Conference Report from our Life's Getting Harder, Let's Make It Better conference that took place in Glasgow. This was a major piece of work designed and organised by people with learning disabilities and we hope you enjoy the energy and enthusiasm we have tried to capture on the video excerpts. Read the article here
Our second article in on the petition for new national guidance on the use of restraint and seclusion in schools. This will be heard by the Petitions Committee on Tuesday 17th of March. Read the article here
Finally we report on the dropping of the 20 bed Care Home proposal by Glasgow City Council. We think it is important to let everyone know that this is now not going ahead. However we conclude that there is a concern that it still remains too easy for people with learning disabilities to be placed in care homes for older people. We are working on some research into this matter and will feature it in a future newsletter. Read the article here
You can also download an Audio version of the newsletter here. And please remember all our articles on this website can be read aloud by simply highlighting the text and clicking on it.