capital exceeds 16k due to county council direct payments

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  • #31757
    david kearney
    Participant

    Any thoughts on this one.

    Customer in supported accomodation, at intervention an account is declared with significant capital in it. Turns out that this is Direct Payment account into which direct payments from County Council are paid and from which he pays his support provider. Problem is there is a monthly surplus of around £500 which has been accumulating over the years.

    The account is a standard bank account in the customers names only, there is little activity other then the monies going in and out, but every now and then other payments have been made from the account. His carers have stated that cust does not have access to the account and the funds there are held to cover the support he requires.

    Since our involvement we have now recived a letter from the County to state that they have invoiced cust for £10,000 “to reclaim the high balance in your Direct payment account”, and this £10,000 has been re-paid

    I now have a period of at least two years where the capital has often exceeded £16,000, and capital over £6k for the whole period. Can we argue that this capital is not to be treated as his for the period in question?

    Cheers

    #88832
    snowy1965
    Participant

    I am no expert on these matters, but as this capital is for an intended purpose, being the provision of accomodation, care and support, and customer has no access to it, I fail to see how we can treat it as available capital for the purposes of Housing Benefit.

    #88833
    John Boxall
    Participant

    Might be worth looking at the rules for Direct Payment.

    My immediate reaction was ‘Quistclose’

    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the god of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and—and in short you are for ever floored.

    Wilkins Micawber, Ch12 David Copperfield

    #88834
    Kevin D
    Participant

    I agree with the first part of John’s post – the basis of payment and any restriction on expenditure is relevant.

    However, Quistclose requires some caution here. In my view, if the claimant is/was free to use the money as he pleased, it’s difficult to see Quistclose being applicable. For example, HB is paid to enable rent to be paid; DLA paid for care needs. Both happen to be disregarded in any case, but I don’t think Quistclose would in any case apply if the monies were not used for their intended purposes. In the case of DLA, it is paid on the basis of assessed need; not the basis of expenditure incurred.

    #88835
    John Boxall
    Participant

    I think that there is some kind of audit of Direct Payments, hence as in this case the request for a refund of the lump sum which had accumulated.

    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the god of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and—and in short you are for ever floored.

    Wilkins Micawber, Ch12 David Copperfield

    #88836
    david kearney
    Participant

    Thanks for the replies. The customer certainly doesn’t appear to have benefitted from this. I’ll make further checks on the other payments made from the account. Auditors eyes are likely to glaze over at mention of anything like Quistclose so that may be the solution. One thing that does amaze me is the level of the direct payments. Over 3K a month and cust only iro LR mob. Thanks again.

    #88837
    Anonymous
    Guest

    See para 58 of sched 6 HB Regs – direct payments are ignored as capital. Also ignored as income (para 57 of sched 5 – useful notes in CPAG).

    No need to get into Quistclose arguments, though any money would be a specific purpose trust as it can only be spent on community acre services as agreed in the care plan.

    It’s quite common that a surplus builds up, in which case it is repayable to the social services authority and they were tardy in allowing such a surplus to accumulate.

    There is a problem with language – social services depts (or adult social care services) use different names to describe these payments.

    The number of people receiving these payments is increasing.

    #88838
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Agree with Neil, and the issue will be increasingly common as the transfer from commissioned services to Self Directed Support/Personal Budgets is ramped up over the next 12 months.

    The new Govt appear committed to giving more power to individuals to take control over their lives, and that includes making payments for care/support. Surpluses within year are permissable, although I’m sure that if people don’t seem to be using their full resource allocation over a consistently long period then Social Services departments will investigate whether or not some kind of clawback is appropriate.

    Probably best to leave the clawbacks to commissioners though, otherwise irate calls from Social Workers are inevitable!!

    #88839
    Anonymous
    Guest

    [quote:11259574b1]one thing that does amaze me is the level of the direct payments. Over 3K a month and cust only iro LR mob.[/quote:11259574b1]

    Social care services are not cheap – there’s a need for well trained staff, proper supervision and sometimes quite intensive support. It’s not unknown for care packages for the most severely disabled to cost £100,000 pa. The assessment process should be quite thorough and not the decision of one individual social worker unless it’s a cheap and short term care package (eg some home care support and meals on wheels after a hospital discharge).

    It’s still cheaper than the alternative – putting people in long stay care homes or hospitals as used to happen, not to mention providing a far better quality of life.

    #88840
    david kearney
    Participant

    Okay thanks all, para 58 will do me. Didnt spot there was an equivalent capital disregard.

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