Pinch of homecare costs to be revealed

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PENSIONERS will find out this month how much extra they will pay for homecare, with many of those who require most care facing double the previous maximum charge.

OAPs and other vulnerable adults who are entitled to the support of home helps to carry on living at home will hear from Lincolnshire County Council how the cut in subsidies will affect them.

Anyone with more than £23,500 in the bank must now pay 90 per cent of the cost of care up to the new £250 maximum.

After means assessment, 42 percent of service users will continue to pay nothing and others less than the new full hourly rate of £13 on a sliding scale – but many who paid nothing previously may now face charges.

Home helps visit regularly, often up to three times a day, and help their clients get up, washed and dressed, prepare their own meals and go to bed at night.

Age UK’s Lincolnshire spokesman Barry Earnshaw said: “While many people get free homecare, that still leaves a majority of 58 percent who have to pay, and even with means testing, everything is getting more expensive.

“You’d hope that people with acute needs won’t be cutting down on services they badly need because of this.”

This increase, bumping up the full hourly rate from £10 to £13, is the first since charges were doubled to £10 per hour five years ago.

A county council spokesman said: “We have reviewed the charging policy to make it fairer, based on people’s ability to pay rather than the type of service.

“This is an ongoing review of adult social care, and not part of the major spending and revenue review for the 2011/12 budget.

“Many other councils across the country are charging more for care services.

“Lincolnshire has previously charged very little compared to other authorities and we cannot keep doing this, especially in the present financial climate.”