New charging approach for social work services

ANGUS Council will bring in a new charging policy next month which will apply to people who receive social work services but live in their own home.

Around 820 people in Angus will see changes to their charges and they are being contacted by letter this week to explain the position more fully.

All of these service users will be offered a financial assessment to ensure that they are not paying more for services than they can reasonably afford and that they are receiving all the state benefits to which they are entitled.

Convener of social work and health Councillor Alison Andrews said: “We wrote to all service users in May explaining our new charging policy, which is simpler and fairer and takes the place of a policy created 15 years ago.

“We have now had the opportunity to look at individual situations and are notifying those people, currently with protection or exemption from charges, who will see a change in the payments they make for their services.”

She continued: “In 2003, we changed our charging policy to introduce some protection for service users who already received services. In the same year, the Scottish government introduced an exemption which entitled people who received housing benefit to also receive housing support services for free. This exemption was removed by the government in 2006 but Angus Council chose to continue this protection or exemption until now.”

Councillor Andrews added: “The introduction of the new policy from July 11 will ensure that the way we charge for services is fair and equitable for all.

“Some services are not charged for if the person is assessed as requiring them, for example, laundry services, extra help in the home for four weeks after leaving hospital and personal care for people aged over 65. There are, however, charges for other services including help with housework and shopping.”

Social work staff will contact users to discuss details of the changes but anyone with questions or concerns should talk to their care manager or any other member of social work staff or call the council’s ACCESSLine on 08452 777 778.