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