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Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33821
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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A council has changed declared financial information in an

Customer Question

A council has changed declared financial information in an assessment form for a care home resident to enable them to amend the residents level of contribution They declare in writing that they have decided to do this as the amount concerned is a private works pension and they declare this is a non-standard benefit.

They also state it is "under" the 2014 Care Act. I am unable to find any references  to such a claim . All Council departments, people who answer phones are unable to explain the issue. In all the guidance documents for the public incluing the sections in the Care act guide section 8 " charging and financial assessment" make no mention of this or the appendices at the end of the 200+page document

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 1 year ago.
Hello,
I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.
I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.
Thank you!
Nicola
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 1 year ago.
Hello,
I apologise as we have not yet been able to find a Professional to assist you. Do you wish for me to continue to search for someone to assist you or would you like for us to close your question at this time?
Thank you for your patience,
Nicola
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 1 year ago.
Hello,
Please understand it is rare for us not to be able to find the right Professional to assist our customers. We can close this question and return your good faith deposit to the original funding source on request.
Please let me know how you wish to proceed and again I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
I hope you will give JustAnswer a try again in the future,
Nicola
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I assume, if a Council with a hat full of legal advisors has decided this is possible someone in the UK must know if it is a valid ,within the care law.

I have had many dealings with this particular council and they are prone to playing dead (that is not responding ) or failing to bother to give an answer.

I have resorted to the Government Ombudsman in the past to make sure they understand their resonsibiities.

So if you would be so kind as to proceed as the existence of a 92 year old lady and our declaration as her attorneys is being ignored.

***** *****on

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Further to my previous response . I am happy to wait for verification for as long as it takes. As I said, I find it difficult to believe that a council would change declared factual information for a person,s attorneys regarding their financial status because as they say "we have decided to apply an increase to all benefits that are non-standard; an example could be other income, such as private work pensions."

As this is an undefind statement, i.e. it does not specify "non-standard" benefits in detail, it would appear to not be a decision thaey can make within the rules/law under which the issues are decided.

***** *****on

Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 1 year ago.
Hello,
We will continue to look for a Professional to assist you.
Thank you for your patience,
Nicola
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I understand your difficulty in providing an answer. I am not conversant with such activities as this council appears to be able to carryout without apparently any explanation. That is the reason that
I am happy to pay you the fee to find an answer.

I have also contacted the Government Ombudsman,s office and will be discussing the situation with them.

Thank you for your kind attention

***** *****on

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Could you explain a little more about what has actually happened in this matter?
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Attorney for my mother-in-law. She is in permanent residential care.Cost of care part paid by my mother-in-law, part paid for by Council. Amount paid by my mother-in-law assessed annually. 2015 Council has decided that the works pension received by my mother-in-law has increased by 1.2% as part of her financial assessment. Works pension has been the same amount for 27 years. I has her attorney am legally obliged to declare her financial assets for this assessment. 2015 Council have ignored my declaration and made up an amount that she is not receiving, because they say they can?? That is the question can a council change financial information given by an attorney in order to change the assessment for a person's contribution to their care.

I thought I had given this information to your organisation previously. If not I apologise. If you cannot answer the question please say so.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

It would be extremely helpful if you can find an answer as this council does not appear to be able to understand simple logic. They have a procedure for submission of factual financial data to calculate a service user's level of contribution. This is based upon the person receiving the service or their representative providing this information. However despite this system they then have decided to change the service receivers financial information and change their assessment of the service receivers level of contribution.

In simple terms you park your car in a council carpark ,the payment is clearly stated as £1.00 for 3 hours. You put a one pound coin in the meter. A council person approaches you and states the cost is £1.50 for 3 hours. You ask why? The council employee says because we have decided it should be. You say the stated cost is £1.00, they say yes but we have decided it is not and you must pay £1.50. So what should be the course of action be??

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
For clarity then.
The pension has NOT increased in any way - is that correct?
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The private works pension has been the same for some 27 and as far as I am aware it will not change in the future.

However the Council have decided that for the purpose of making the 2015 assessment of the persons' income they will use a figure some 1.2% above the actual amount received.

They have now e-mailed me stating that this within the DWP guidelines on inflation and complies with the 2014 Care Act.

I cannot find any reference to this being possible within the Section of the 2014 Care Act regarding financial contributions by service users. I now asked them to give me details of where in the Care Act 2014 this information is specified. I do not believe them. I am being fobbed off by their customer services department who have idea what they are saying

***** *****on.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

To update you attached Council response to queries

***** *****on

Attachment: 2015-04-09_153005_lcc_care_assess_2015.pdf

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
Have you obtained confirmation from the Pension provider that there will be no change?
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The pension provider has confirmed in a written statement that the pension amount for 2015 is exactly the same as it has been for the past 27 years.

I do not believe the council has the authority to change declared financial information on a whim.Increase a private pension by 1.2%. Claim this is allowed under the 2014 Care Act. I cannot find any reference to this type of change in the ACT.Part 1 sections 14/15/17/25/26. I might have missed the relevant section, but I believe this council is making it up.If so this council is acting outside the rules.

The other defining factor is that appear not to be able to tell me under which section of the act this "changing of declared factual financial information" is allowed. I find this very suspicious as if they are operating within the act,they could easily tell me??

Regards

***** *****on

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
You need to look at the Regulations here
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/366104/43380_23902777_Care_Act_Book.pdf
Particularly page 257 and Notional Income.
This does not mean that they are right - it depends on whether or not your mother in law COULD have bought an annuity instead
However it should give you the basis on which to challenge it
Please ask if you need further details
Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33821
Experience: I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
Clare and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Clare,

Thank you for your answer.Sorry for taking up some much of your time.!!!

The issue of notional income is relatively clear,in that it is income available, but not being accessed by the contributor. As this pension was granted some 27 years ago, it might be a stretch to argue she could have taken an annuity.In these pension rules there is no mention of an annuity being available with this scheme.I have spoken to the pension provider and confirmed all relevant details concerning payments and scheme detail. As I did read the relevant Care Act sections before asking any questions of the council, I did expect them to know how this change in actual income to fictitious income was possible, but received bog standard "we follow the rules".

In the 21st century with people being able to escape from the earth's atmosphere, I thought that a council would be able to answer a simple question,unfortunately I was wrong. So they have to be persuaded, by use of the Government Ombudsman and others.This is time wasting and costs money. But for the 92 year old lady who worked,paid taxes,was a volunteer ambulance driver in WW!! helping bomb victims in a city,now with severe Dementia,on a moral basis it is justified in my opinion.

Thank you for your time and efforts

Mike Harrion

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Just one more thing. If when you are old or have elderly relatives in need of care or funding (very unlikely on solicitors income) from a council, never ever become involved with Lincolnshire County Council.

Thank you again

***** *****on

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
HI
I do still believe that the council have erred.
You need to write back and point out that your mother in law could not have accessed an annuity and that accordingly they were not entitled to do this
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Clare,

Writing to the council does not always elicit a response.

I will do that,( re-checking date of pension commencement date, it is actually 34 years since the pension was granted.) Pension rules have changed significantly since then.

The problem is they do not appear to want/be capable of giving me an answer despite telephone to their advised contacts or e-mail.

They have not explained if they are using the notional income rules or any rule at all. This silence on their part simply means they are then faced with the Government Ombudsman and others to obtain a response. This wastes considerable time and money,for something that could be established by contacting the decision maker within the council,who obviously knows why the council can do this.

I am sure you are correct but as quoted by a local solicitor in the past when dealing with the council. "It is no good me writing to the council on this matter as they will simply ignore me". For a medical assessment the local GP said "The council do not listen to me"

As I said do not use Lincolnshire county council, unless you are employed to act on someones behalf. So if the professionals are ignored what chance do I have?

Thank you again for your time

***** *****on

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
You can now refer to the specific regulations and point out their error.
Copy it to the Chief Executive AND the appropriate Cabinet member on the elected Council
Clare

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