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Penny Pinchers

May 6, 2016

It’s Groundhog week. I’ve had another week of massive resistance to doing all the admin connected to the Personal Budget and Steven’s finances. My block is partly down to the never ending monotony of it all. But it’s also an ethical resistance as well. Each time I begin to fill out another form, I start to feel angry about the level of scrutiny applied to a learning disabled person and their carer.

My avoidance tactics are pretty shameful. On Wednesday afternoon, two of my clients cancelled, so I had an ideal opportunity to knuckle down to the monthly Personal Budget audit. Instead, I found myself watching five back to back episodes of Four In A Bed.

It’s funny. The other day I wrote a blog about how professionals use client confidentiality to escape scrutiny of their actions. But when it comes to a learning disabled person’s income and the way it is managed by the carer, confidentiality goes out the window and it’s open season for microscopic, intrusive attention. The other galling aspect is that the scrutiny seems to have its roots in an embedded position of mistrust.

I think we’re in Parkinson’s Law territory here. The more the State pushes the line that the intense scrutiny is about safeguarding, the more I suspect the State is up to no good. Any idea of safeguarding is just a projection.

On Wednesday, I got the good news from the OPG that last year’s accounts have been agreed and signed off. They didn’t pursue the missing receipt for Steven’s latest Me Bean DVD. Unfortunately, the OPG is still unhappy about the naming on the bank accounts. HSBC insist I can’t just change the name but have to open a new account and as it’s a Deputy account, the account will have to be a business account. Which of course will attract the higher business account charges. It’s actually just an account for Steven’s DLA to be paid into and for a direct debit to pay his Leisure Club membership to. Why should he be paying business rate charges? When the bank clerk starts asking me, “Which countries will Steven be doing business with?”, you know we’ve lost the plot. To resolve all this nonsense, I’ve made an appointment with a new bank next week and we’ll start all over again with new accounts.

OPG out of the way, I can turn my attention to the monthly Personal Budget audit for April. I got an email last week reminding me that I’ve not been submitting receipts for the cab fares. I’ve got them all, stuffed in the sideboard drawer but it’s a job and a half scanning in 500+ receipts. I don’t have the spare time nor the staying power to do it all in one go, so it’ll have to be a weekend job.

Is this discrimination? We know that if you’re learning disabled the State has complete control over capacity assessments, best interest decisions, where you live, how long you can be detained. But this shows how the State has control over how you spend your money too.

I think it is discrimination because no other part of the population are treated the same way. If you receive a State Maternity Benefit, you are not asked to detail how you spend every penny of it. After Julie died, I got a Bereavement Allowance for a year but I didn’t have to furnish the DWP with receipts on what I’d spent it on. My friend has started getting her State Retirement Pension but she’s not told what type of bank account she needs to keep the pension in. None of this latitude is afforded to the learning disabled person.

I’d like to write more but the week pushes on and I’ve got the support worker’s wages to do and I need to pop to the bank to pay the April tax bill.

There’s always something or other….


From → Social Care

  1. Fiona permalink

    I think you are right, it is discriminatory. It would be good if a top barrister would bring a test case to court along those lines (crowd funded?).

  2. Why, apparently is little, or no scrutiny applied, when in comparison huge sums are paid for LA HSC FOR their commissioned care.

    When my daughter was a resident for 2/3 of the year in NAS school ,they were paid 177,000 per year, we got 1,000.

    When she refused to return, they were given three months payment for nothing ie £43,000, we were given £240 for all her support etc 24/7.

    When we got support, after the 3 months, the agency, were paid by LA £24 HOUR, jet only £8 is allowed for Personal budget services.

    It is not only the scrutiny that is worse, but the huge diferential between amounts paid.

  3. Banks are clueless about Deputy’s accounts, and it is a nightmare to get one opened. But I am pretty sure that it doesn’t have to be a business account. I don’t pay charges on our account. The bank really, really struggles with the idea that is my daughter’s money, but the account is in my name. I think the OPG is aware of this – and may help.

    Agree with you about the taxi receipts though – I have a drawerful as well. This is for my tiny (carers) personal budget, and I only have to do accounts every six months. No way I am copying all of them.

  4. It was easier with the ILF payments.

  5. Do you mainly use just one taxi firm? If so, it is worth asking if they would be willing to do you a monthly, itemised invoice – I did this for my Access To Work stuff and it cut down on the admin no end.

  6. Sally permalink

    Nobody has thought this through. Nobody has assessed this from the Carer’s point of view. If they had, they would think:” But that is an enormous amount of admin and so on…our payroll and HR workers do this and are paid…this is absurd. We can’t possibly push so much payroll and HR onto Carers…After all,they will be doing this in the tiny amounts of time they have free, what will that do to them..
    Nope. It was not considered from the Carer’s point of view. Indeed, the assumption is its our job, and we are lazy disorganised, reprehensible, perhaps even untrustworthy, if we are not tip top admin workers. (“You haven’t got your 500 receipts in? What are you trying to hide??”)
    Every parent I know in this situation , lives in a miasma of guilt and anxiety, with horrible forms and receipts piling up accusingly all over the house.
    You sound like an excellent administrator.
    Sometimes it is necessary for one’s sanity to watch the box set, go for a walk or stare into space.
    There should be a way for the process to be rationalised so that the arrangements are sensible, clear and as brief as possible. To do that would mean for someone to just climb into the other side of the counter and consider what life is like for the parent .

    • It is not that the government have not thought it through.

      This, and all the legislation, MCA, Carers Act, rules, etc, are to try to stop/discourage family care.

      They have, and have always intended, to create a commodity for profit, out of those that need care.

      The government intends to harvest the disabled, and allow only the state, via private company provision, with scant oversight, to care for them, on an ever more efficient, profitable basis, and even use their future guaranteed government income potential, as a buy out, audit tool, for even more profit on the venture capital balance sheet.

      LIFE is therefore made, as difficult as possible for the carer, their care is over monitored, and they live with the constant treat of removal of their loved one, and even their access to them being denied.

  7. Shirley Buckley permalink

    Again Finola I couldn,t agree with you more. This must have been planned, because it works so well. Ive not had Martin at home since he was sixteen (apart from holidays) but £2,000,000 has gone into the coffers of the investment firm. I can prove it – but who cares

    • Its called extortion, and, there is a huge conflict of interests.

      No one will admit, that the whole thing is as simple as profit.

      No one wants to help the vulnerable have normal lives, they want to assess them as needy as possible, to claim the maximum, and ensure they control their iincome source for life and spend as little as possible on them,.

      And DLA/carers allowance, is reduced ie we are now down to 103 and £62……………………

      Whilst court fees go up CA since April 528

      And, all we hear about, are benefit cheats,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, yes we are all well and truly controlled and stitched up.

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