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March 19, 2016

First the good news. I got the outcome of my carers assessment yesterday and for the first time in seven carers assessments, it actually produced an outcome. It didn’t stop with signposting me to services that I might find useful.

I requested the assessment with only one aim in mind. I wanted an extra respite night. Not to do anything flash with (Night time potholing, dinner dates with Jay from Bucks Fizz). No, it was just to try and get another night’s sleep. So, all my focus during the questioning was in trying to demonstrate how useful an extra night’s sleep could be. I tried to pass all the other questions through a sleep filter. “What is your exercise regime like?” “Too knackered”. That sort of thing.

Yesterday, I received an email from the Carers Champion with a copy of the full assessment and the decision in a paragraph at the end. I’ve been awarded £18 per week, subject on Panel agreement to what I decide to spend it on.

£18 is a quarter of a night shift rate. I could use it to cover 1 hour and 55 minutes each week, or save it up and get an extra night’s sleep once a month. If panel agree that is wise use of public funds.

I think I’ve been RAS’d. £18 seems such a random figure. It doesn’t bear relation to anything.

Here is the key paragraph from the accompanying letter:

“The Carer’s Assessment does not generate a budget amounting to the cost of an extra night’s respite per week, but I have sent the Carer’s Assessment to my line manager, which he has signed off and agreed. You do have a Carer’s budget of £18 per week, this is only indicative and subject to agreement at panel. However, from our discussion the other week, you may wish to consider requesting use of this budget for something like a gym membership via your own direct payment?”

Does that make sense to anyone? I have no idea what it means. I’m guessing that I’ve been through the RAS machine because of words like “generate” and “indicative”. The decision box on the form says that I’ve come out as a “Band Three”. What does that mean? How many bands are there? Is £18 the standard, set figure for all of us Band Three Carers? Who knows?

It’s funny how gym membership came up. I mentioned a couple of times that I haven’t been to the gym for ages but I didn’t ask to have my gym membership fees covered. I don’t want them to. If I want to go to the gym, I can afford that myself. I wanted a respite night.

So, what else could the £18 be used for? If it’s for any kind of night time treat (?), then there isn’t really £18. Supposing I asked Panel if I could use it to go to the cinema once a week (Not that I want to), I would still have to pay a carer to be with Steven whilst accessing the Odeon. That’s £10 for the support worker’s wages. That leaves me £8. Popcorn is out. I could sneak a Kia Ora from home. And I’d have to leave halfway through the film as the “award” would only cover the support worker wages for an hour. (I might use the first £18 to buy a pair of roller skates as I’m going to have to move myself to get there and back within an hour). Basically, whatever I decide to spend it on, I’ve got £8 to play with because anything I chose will require paying a support worker during my absence.

What happens next? I need to report back to the social worker what I want to use the £18 for and she will take my decision to Panel, who will decide if my decision is worthy. And whilst this bureaucratic steamroller trundles along, I’ll try and catch 40 winks whenever, wherever I can.



Update: 19.3.2016 18.49

I’ve been rereading the carers assessment. I don’t want to, obviously. But it’s a bit like spotting a dog turd on the floor in Burger King. You want to get on with eating your Whopper but your eyes keep getting drawn to the package.

There is one glaring omission from the 7 page form. No mention anywhere despite me bringing it up at least four times during the assessment. My time each day/week is comprehensively detailed but there is no account at all of all the time I spent managing the Personal Budget and the Deputyship stuff. It’s a huge chunk of time every week. Take this week. I spent 90 minutes of my respite on Monday phoning the tax office. The hour I have free before work on Wednesday was spent meeting the lovely lady from DASH who helped me sorting out the new tax codes. Today I received letters from HMRC superseding the tax codes they sent me last night, which meant I had to calculate the figures all over again. Oh, and half an hour on Friday phoning the Office of the Public Guardian to pay Steven’s annual supervision fees. Actually, quite a quiet week as I’d got ahead of myself last week and did the council’s monthly Personal Budget audit. None of this is recorded, so presumably is not factored into the RAS system. Daily detail of when I eat but nothing about the mountains of bureaucracy.

It annoys me because it sort of perpetuates a lie. The burden on the carer in having a Personal Budget is never mentioned. You read a lot about the benefits for the person receiving the budget but the schmuck carer doing all the admin is airbrushed out of the story. Like my assessment.

Call me a stubborn Sidney but I want this acknowledged and recorded in the final document.

I could be waiting a few more weeks before I get my £18.

From → Social Care

  1. Jan permalink

    Did you see the new Problem-Solving Toolkit produced by Cerebra? I think it might be useful to you:>)

    • Lizzie D permalink

      Luke Clements, who wrote the Toolkit, is very keen on insisting that family carers have no legal obligation to provide care – so, in theory, this is about Steven’s need for a night time carer, not your need for respite. Unfortunately, we all know the game of chicken that ensues if we try that one.

      • Jan permalink

        Yes, it is a long process but it can be successful if you persist along the lines recommended in this toolkit. I guess you just have to put your Ninja suit on!

  2. What if, you just asked them each Carers Assessment, to just reimburse you, for all the hours you have wasted on it ?

    Say, at the very least on the minimum wage rate, with heating, lighting, office, ink on top.

    At least, you get something back, even without their discretion.

    But then, if you hadn’t bothered, you’d be in same position.

    Just think of the hours you, and we, all waste, making jobs for them , whilst they, create an empire around not doing their jobs and supporting the vulnerable and their family carers.

  3. Georgina permalink

    The Panel
    I wrote this recently after we were turned down for extra respite (we were only asking for 3 nights a month as we get 2 at the moment)

    The phone rings
    I’m sorry to tell you she says,
    The panel says no
    You do not have enough points to reach the threshold
    Why? I ask
    You will be informed in a letter
    What is the threshold and how are the points earned?
    The letter will explain it all
    Who are The Panel?
    They decide if your child gets help or not
    You never meet them or know who they are
    They never meet your child or your family but they decide if you get help
    The panel are faceless and nameless but they make judgements about you
    The panel make you feel helpless, worthless, undeserving, greedy, needy
    I wonder if they know this?
    They should know this
    This is real

    • Jan permalink

      Look at the cerebra problem-solving toolkit! The panel cannot say no to a reasonable request!

  4. Well I’m not an expert on the Community Care Act law (though I hope to be after our Community Living magazine Belinda Schwehr seminar end of June in M/C when she’ll deal with carers assessment and services) but I’d have thought an assessment which might recognise you’re knackered from not enough sleep might agree that respite from a night a week/even per 2 weeks would met your needs – not sure how gym attendance would…..The law says that all assessments must be carried out in a manner which:
    > is appropriate and proportionate to your needs and circumstances
    > ensures that you are able to participate effectively in the assessment
    > has regard to your choices, wishes and the outcomes you want to achieve
    > takes account of the level and severity of your needs (Maybe you should have had an assessment after a disturbed night and fallen asleep)
    So wonder how they’ve done here??
    and it should take account of numbers of things including your caring role and how it affects your life and wellbeing, and your health – physical, mental and emotional issues. It also says in deciding if you’re eligible if there is likely to be a significant impact on your wellbeing as a result of you caring for another person, and 3 considerations for them
    > Are your needs the result of you providing necessary care?
    > Does your caring role have an effect on you? (ie your physical or mental health is at risk of getting worse)
    > Is there, or is there likely to be, a significant impact on your wellbeing?
    Can you achieve the outcome (ie not being knackered) without help(so you’d need help/ can but it causes pain/distress or anxiety/to do so endangers yours or another’s health and safety.
    So difficult to see how £18/week can meet your needs – maybe you should ask them how it could relieve your need for sleep and point out that being knackered means distracting activities don’t get you sleep!! Must be appeal-able surely? Is it meeting the legal requirements?

  5. Julie Owen permalink

    I received a rather odd email recently from our local Clinical Commissioning Group stating that they could not offer any financial help towards the maintenance of my car. Astonishing news as I have never at any point asked for any money towards the maintenance of my car, and had no expectations of financial assistance not until I part exchange it for an ambulance anyway.

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