Wednesday, 15 December 2010

How to withhold 'personal contributions' elements of DPs?

On Ouch today someone complained about an amount they'd been asked to contribute towards their personal care package. The LA in question was imposing a levy from the persons DLA towards their DPs. Another Oucher suggested withholding payment altogether; citing the councils very often capitulated to this form of passive resistence.

However, if you’re in receipt of Direct Payments refusal to pay your ‘share’ of the care costs presents problems. My package comes from the council and ILF. Both these parties have assessed my income and as a result I make a contribution to both pots of money.

The point is that I have to physically pay that money into my DP’s account; as my DP’s are paid to me minus the amount I’m expected to pay. Therefore, if I refuse to pay I’m the one penalised as I’ll not receive care to the value of my contribution.

It’s quite ingenious really; you’re stuffed if you do and stuffed if you don’t. Coughing-up the ackers leaves you in Penury Place, but at least you’re clean and dressed; by reneging you’re in Easy Street, but you smell a bit and are naked from the waist down.

Rebelling against the system is fine when you hold some half-decent cards. However, when the establishment is the banker and dealer holding all the cards; well, it’s very difficult to rebel.

Should I decide to cease my personal contributions tomorrow it would only be a matter of time before my LA sent in the social workers to reassess my care needs. By withholding my contribution I’d be denying myself around 7-hours care per week; and, I’m quite sure they’d reassess me as not needing these hours as I’m managing without them.

In the days before DPs many disabled people did refuse to pay for personal care. This care was directly provided by the council (or through a third party in the form of an agency); and, the client was invoiced by the provider, thus giving the client the opportunity to withhold payment.

Under those circumstances quite a few councils ‘caved-in’ under pressure from disabled who refused to pay. Of course, these were one-offs. While the LA might have buckled under pressure from one tenacious client they still imposed charges on the rest – the majority.

It is very sad that we can’t take some form of class action with such issues. Collectively we’d stand a great chance of having some of these financially punitive measures lifted. As individuals all we can do is fight our corner; sometimes win; and, when we win sign gagging orders in order to protect our oppressors.

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