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This is a disgraceful situation and only goes to prove that the benefit system is not ‘fit for purpose’.

It also goes to show that the ‘so called’ , health professionals are not trained sufficiently to consider all aspects of each individual condition they will come across when they are assessing the various claims being put before them.

For some of these health professionals are asking claimants who have progressive life-long conditions when they expect they will recover, this just shows their ignorance for you do not recover from life-long progressive conditions only get considerably worse.

From the vast numbers of claimants who have had their claims turned down only to be awarded on appeal shows their complete lack of understand what they are doing. Or is it they are not there to correctly assess a claim, but to go to any lengths to turned as many claims as they wish to.

I believe each assessor should be assessed on their ability to assess correctly by using the appeals process as a measure of each individuals assessors ability to assess correctly and then they should be remunerated accordingly.

What is really the situation here is it to grant benefits to persons who are entitled to them or is the first priority to turn down claims. From the publicity and the stated statistics which are published it would appear to be the later.

Britain Isn't Eating

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Unpaid carers missing out on vital support as ‘public is unable to recognise friends and family that care’

More than half (51%) believe they ‘don’t know’ a single friend or family member, looking after a loved one, despite 1 in 10 people in the UK being carers.

The general public remain ‘in the dark’, as a majority drastically underestimate the number of carers in their own family, friendship groups  and places of work, according to new research by Carers UK released for Carers Rights Day (24 November).

The research released today shows that more than half (51%) believe they don’t know a single family member or friend who cares, whilst as many as 3 in 5 workers (62%) believe they don’t know ‘any work colleagues’ who help look after a loved one. In reality, 1 in 10 (10%) people in the UK are carers and 1 in 9 people in the workforce are juggling their paid job with unpaid caring[1].

The findings come one year after Carers UK’s Missing Out report showed the impact of carers not being identified quickly enough. Amongst carers who ‘struggled’ to recognise their roles, more than half saw their finances (52%) and mental health (78%) negatively affected as a result[2].

Alarmingly, even amongst those members of the public who did manage to recognise that a friend or family member looked after someone, as many as 3 in 5 (58%) did not ‘suggest where to find further information on caring’ and the number rose to 65% amongst those who knew carers in the workplace.

Amongst all of those polled, including those that had not recognised carers in their social circles or at work, two thirds (67%) said they would feel confident providing ‘emotional support’ to a new carer. Yet, only 2 in 5 (42%) would feel confident pointing people in the direction of information about caring. Carers UK is asking the public to equip themselves with more knowledge and understanding of how to support carers, to improve confidence in reaching out to carers.

The findings also revealed differences amongst men and women, carers, and non-carers, and those of different ages:

• Gender: Women are more likely to say they know a friend or family member who is a carer (43%) compared with men (34%). Female workers (27%) are also more likely than men (17%) to say they know a colleague who is caring.

Among those that know carers, women were more likely (42%) than men (34%) to have suggested sources of information to friends and family and significantly more likely to have suggested information to colleagues with caring roles (35%) than men (25%).

• Age: Despite being at the peak age of caring themselves, those aged 45-54 are only slightly more likely (40%) to say they have any family or friends that are carers compared with 39% of the wider public.

• Carers and non-carers: Unsurprisingly, those who have never had an unpaid caring role are more likely (59%) to say they don’t have any friends or family who care. Only 17% of current carers say they don’t have any friends or family that are caring.

Heléna Herklots CBE, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:

“More and more of us are stepping into caring roles, yet carers all-too-often remain hidden in plain sight at work, in friendships, and even in the families. Often, it takes somebody else to tell us that we are a carer before we recognise ourselves as such.

This year, we are encouraging every member of the public to learn more about caring and where to go for advice and assistance. It is only through our concerted efforts to identify and support carers that we can alleviate some of the emotional and practical challenges facing the 6.5 million people looking after an ill, older or disabled loved one.”

Every year, Carers UK uses Carers Rights Day (24 November) to reach the 6.5 million with crucial information about the rights, financial support, and practical help they are entitled to; including benefits, such as Carer’s Allowance, respite, equipment and technology.

This year, under the theme of ‘Make Connections, Get Support’, Carers UK is reaching out beyond the 1 in 10 of us who care, calling on the general public to equip themselves with enough knowledge to feel confident identifying and directing carers towards support.

Carers UK has developed a range of tools in time for Carers Rights Day, to help both the general public and carers early in their caring journey get the information and support they need:

• Looking after someone’, its annual guide to carers’ rights and the practical and financial support available: www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/get-resources/looking-after-someone

• Carers UK’s local directory, which allows carers to find support hubs, services, respite, and charities near you: www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/get-support/local-support

• Upfront, the first online guide of its kind gives tailored financial and practical information to those who are new to caring: www.carersuk.org/upfront

• Online factsheets and guides on financial and practical support available for carers: www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice

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Source : Carers Rights Day poll: Carers ‘not recognised’ by friends or family : Care Industry News


Govt Newspeak

It’s a sad indictment of our society that in the run up to Christmas, many people feel the need to focus their charitable efforts on ensuring that children in the UK do not go hungry.

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The cumulative impact of austerity and the relentless rollout of Universal Credit mean that many children could face a Christmas which is Dickensian, in all the wrong ways.

Yet some people see Victorian times not as an era from which we have thankfully progressed, but as a source of inspiration as to how we can tackle the problems we face today.

In a recent article by Simon Lofthouse on the Tory Workers website, Modern Philanthropy, A Second Victorian Age of Altruism, philanthropy was advocated as, “the acceptable form of wealth distribution for the 21st Century; the radical free market response to today’s challenges.” The author claimed that, “In Victorian times, the wealthy used philanthropy very…

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The tactics being taken by Government’s revenue agency HMRC is taking a spectacular new turn in dealing with the sleep in crisis says VODG the group that represents disability charities.

Government’s recent announcement of a new Social Care Compliance Scheme raised more questions than answers. The lack of clarity has prompted VODG and other agencies to work together to compile a consolidated list of questions and concerns which have been shared with HMRC and other Government officials in writing.

This scheme and the lack of clarity on key issues has strengthened employers concerns that Government has failed to step in and fund the long-running sleepin crisis.

Now in the latest turn of events the leaders of charities and their trustees are receiving ultimatum letters from HMRC. There are variations to the letters but all introduce the Social Care Compliance Scheme and “invite” the organisation to join. Some demand a telephone call with the recipient on a fixed date and time. So far all of the letters received give just 30 days to decide whether to take part in the scheme.

VODG chair Steve Scown said:

“There are too many unresolved questions for providers to make an informed decision as to whether to join Government’s compliance scheme. In the absence of answers, and funding to cover the back pay bill, HMRC’s approach and the timeframe they are imposing is unhelpful to a sector that is at full stretch financially.”

While the chief executive of a disability charity, who wished to remain anonymous, said:

“This appears to be a concerted and planned campaign by government to undermine the sector when a constructive not punitive approach is needed. At a time when we need more funding for social care, the sector is instead being hammered by the HRMC intent on taking away resources from the sector. As a charity working with thousands of people we are deeply concerned about the impact to services such as care and support for elderly relatives, families already struggling with disabled children and young disabled adults who may not only lose their services but the charities who have supported them over many years. The public should know that the very services who support them are being pulled apart. I am concerned and dismayed that our sector is being treated in this way.”

VODG is working with other sector bodies including Association for Real Change, Care England and Learning Disability Voices to demand that Government funds the mistaken back pay.

VODG chief executive Rhidian Hughes said:

“The unspoken cost pressures on social care employers continue to mount as Government drags on the sleep in crisis. The Treasury must find the money to remedy this situation to enable local authorities to contract with providers at a level that covers the full cost of legal requirements. The long-term chronic under-funding of social care must be reversed and we demand the Chancellor takes action in the Autumn Statement.”

 

Source : Sleep in crisis will not be resolved by HMRC’s bullish tactics-VODG comments : Care Industry News


Disabled people aged 18-64 make up a third of all social care users, yet they are not getting the support they need

Young man with crutches sitting on hospital chairs

For too long, discussions on social care have overlooked those who need care and support earlier in life. Photograph: Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

There’s no doubt that one of the biggest challenges facing Britain is how we deal with our ageing population. The countless warnings about the crisis in social care leave no room for doubt. Over the last seven years, budgets have decreased by more than £6bn (pdf) in real terms, and more than 1.2 million older people are struggling to get by without proper care.

The government’s promise to consult on social care in England provides an opportunity to bring about change. But for too long, this debate has almost exclusively focused on older people, overlooking those who need care and support much earlier in life.

More than 280,000 working age disabled adults rely on social care to lead independent, healthy lives. When done right, it empowers them not just to live, but to have a life.

At the MS Society, our new report, End the Care Crisis: Stories from people affected by MS in Englanddemonstrates the transformative impact social care can have for people with multiple sclerosis (MS). From Edith, whose support enables her to get to work each morning, to Martyn who, with the support of a carer, is able to do things others might take for granted, like go to the cinema.

It also highlights the devastating consequences when people aren’t able to get adequate support. Take Angela, for example. At just 35 with two young children, her husband (and carer) is at breaking point. And yet the first time she contacted the council for support, she was told help was only given to people in wheelchairs.

The system continues to fail us, and that is totally unacceptable.

Disabled people aged 18-64 make up a third of long-term social care users, accounting for almost half of the social care budget. We already know that younger people with MS are less likely to get proper support – only 32% of 18- to 29-year-olds with MS have all their care needs met, compared with 73% of those aged 70 to 79. But this isn’t the only thing illustrating the age divide.

Perhaps one of the most worrying symptoms of our failing social care system is the number of younger adults living in care homes for older people. A Freedom of Information request by the MS Society revealed more than 3,300 adults under 65 are in this situation in England. This indicates that, across the country, almost one in seven younger disabled adults in residential care could be in homes with mostly older people, and potentially missing out on the specialist care they need.

Not only are care homes for older people rarely equipped to meet all the needs of younger adults, living in such settings can be extremely isolating, and have a damaging impact on their quality of life and mental health. This is just one example of a much broader, deep-seated problem.

As a country, we do not provide younger adults with conditions such as MS the care we know they need. The question of how we fund and deliver quality social care has been a subject of debate in this country for at least 20 years. We’ve seen 10 government consultations and reviews of social care in that time, yet our politicians have failed to make the difficult decisions on the back of these.

Social care remains in crisis and there will be a £2.5bn funding gap by the end of the decade. While it’s promising that the government last month finally acknowledged the need to improve social care for younger as well as older people, we must hold it to account on this.

There is increasing evidence that fixing the social care system makes sense – not just ethically and morally but financially too. Reform could help prevent and delay acute needs from developing, reduce pressure on the NHS, galvanise local economies and, most importantly, enable disabled people to live independent, dignified and productive lives.

This latest consultation has to involve disabled people of all ages, offering real action and a bold vision for the future. One that recognises the experiences of everyone who depends on social care, and finally gives us a system that works for all who need it.

Michelle Mitchell is chief executive of the MS Society

 

Source: We can’t fix social care if we think it’s just for older people : The Guardian


The UK is approaching a perfect storm with an ageing population and many people unprepared for the future

Former Liberal Democrat cabinet minister Ed Davey (centre) and campaigners protest against Theresa May’s social care policy during the 2017 general election campaign. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

For a short while, it seemed like the issue of social care funding would finally be addressed after years of government procrastination. The Conservatives promised a consultation on social care reformU-turned on the so-called dementia tax and, instead, confirmed their intention to cap the amount people pay towards care.

But now that plans to introduce such a cap have been scrapped and the social care consultation is rumoured to have been delayed until next summer, it seems that the government has followed previous administrations and kicked social care funding into the long grass.

Such a decision is worrying and flies in the face of public opinion. A cap on care costs will increase the fairness of social care, so it’s risky to turn our backs on this idea without an alternative plan in place. There are too many vulnerable older people at risk.

Following an election campaign full of confusing messages about social care, Anchor, England’s largest not-for-profit provider of care and housing for older people, conducted a public poll to gather insight into people’s understanding. Our research found that 70% of British adults believe there should be a cap on social care costs, while almost half believe that social care – including dementia care – should always be paid for by the state.

Sir Andrew Dilnot, who first proposed a cap on social care, has cautioned that plans to abandon it could cause a “catastrophic risk” of poverty in older age. And councils have warned that they cannot afford to pay for all those in need of state-funded care if the dementia tax is introduced, putting many providers at risk of going out of business.

The question of how we fund social care remains unanswered, and the most recent suggestions fail to get to the crux of the issue.

Jackie Doyle-Price, the social care minister, suggested that older people should sell their homes to fund their care. But this doesn’t take the full picture into account. There is a perception that all or most older people are well-off and own their own home – this isn’t the case. For those older people who are home owners and are, to quote the minister, “sitting in homes too big for their needs”, we know that two thirds would like to downsize but can’t due to a lack of suitable options.

Again, this comes down to a lack of funding and supportive policies, despite the fact that more retirement housing could save £14.5bn to the public purse over 50 years.

Whichever direction the future of social care funding is heading, and whether a cap is introduced or not, the government must be open and honest about how social care will be paid for so that everyone can plan for the best possible life in older age. At present, this is far from the case.

More than a fifth of people wrongly believe the state pays entirely for care needs in later life, and more than half underestimate social care costs by up to 20%. Considering these misconceptions, it’s no wonder that just 14% of us are currently saving for our care in later life.

We’re approaching a perfect storm where the future of social care funding is unclear, the population is getting older, and most of us are unprepared for the future. We need a transparent and sustainable long-term strategy that integrates social care, health and housing. Recognising, and acting on this, is our only option.

  • Jane Ashcroft is chief executive of Anchor

Source: Social care funding can’t take any more setbacks. It needs reform now : The Guardian


New guidance means providers are being forced to pay for the government’s mistakes, and puts the future of the care industry at risk

By Matt Wort

Organisations have a year to identify what they owe, and those with arrears have three months to pay up. Photograph: Alamy

The government’s latest policy update on sleep-in shift pay has once again put the future of the UK care industry at risk.

Some may be forgiven for hoping that given the level of opposition and the magnitude of a looming £400m back payment billthis saga might come to a positive conclusion. However, what we are instead left with is a Social Care Compliance Scheme (SCCS) that encourages some already stretched care providers to calculate the extent of their own insolvency.

Policymakers assert that the scheme affords providers who may be liable for historic repayments for sleep-in workers more much-needed time to access the reserves needed to settle their debt, as the government calls it. Organisations have a year to identify what they owe, and those with arrears at the end of the self-review period have three months to pay up.

This is once again an ill-considered move by the government that could have dire consequences for vulnerable individuals needing care.

There is an alarming lack of clarity in the guidance – care providers are being instructed to self-assess their national minimum wage liability, with no indication of how far back these payments may stretch.

Despite this confusion, which may still see providers liable to top up what has been paid for sleep-in shifts dating back six years, the government admits that until February 2015 its guidance was “potentially misleading”. In fact, data uncovered via a Freedom of Information request shows that as late as February 2016, HMRC was issuing guidance to its own staff that stated care workers were not entitled to the national minimum wage while asleep, other than in exceptional circumstances. This inconsistency must be resolved.

For the majority of the back-payment period, local authority and NHS commissioners won’t have funded providers sufficiently for the shifts in question to compensate this shortfall. Forcing care providers to pay for the government’s own mistakes and leaving essential services at the mercy of HMRC is both unethical and nonsensical.

As well as potentially putting hundreds of care services out of business, the government has stated that individuals who pay for their own care are liable for back payment – leaving thousands of vulnerable individuals, many with complex disabilities, at risk of bankruptcy. Again, it is highly unlikely that in many of these cases, local authority-funded personal care budgets were sufficient to cover this additional cost.

In a climate of such uncertainty, it is vital that businesses and individuals do not sign up to the self-assessment scheme until they have further clarity. Not only are they lacking essential details relating to the scope of back payment, but Mencap’s upcoming court of appeal case due to be heard in March 2018 could change the position as to whether sleep-in care workers are entitled to the minimum wage.

This latest announcement aside, the government must take a long hard look at the inherent unfairness in the way social care is paid and legislated for, ensuring budgets reflect the increased cost of sleep-in care and the wider estimated shortfall in funding of £1.3bn for residential care.

Furthermore, while sleep-in workers are entitled to the national minimum wage while asleep, this is not the case for live-in care staff, as this is classed as “unmeasured work”. There is no difference in the level of care provided, so the courts and HMRC must consider taking the same approach to sleep-in shifts that it does to live-in care.

What care providers need now is clarity, consistency and common sense from the government, and quickly. Those affected by the latest announcement would be well advised to seek further information before taking action; in such a pressurised financial environment, doing so could prove vital.

Matt Wort is a partner and health and social care expert at Anthony Collins Solicitors

Source : Policy on sleep-in pay could have dire consequences for people needing care : The Guardian


Campaigners have blasted forces for breaking the decades-old tradition, but senior officers say they have no choice because of Government budget cuts.

Source: Poppy Day is cancelled by the police amid budget cuts | Daily Mail Online


Today is national Anti-Slavery Day. Why does slavery need its own day? Well in the UK modern slavery is a rapidly growing criminal activity but we’re only just beginning to understand the scale of the crimes being committed. The National Crime Agency estimate that there are over 10,000 potential victims of slavery in the UK right now, with potential victims recorded in 2016 coming from 108 different countries.

So let me tell you something about modern slavery, what we’re doing as the Co-op, and how you can help too.

Vulnerable

Slavery is the second biggest illegal trade in the world and it preys on the most vulnerable men, women and children destroying their lives by trapping them in crime, domestic slavery, the sex trade or forced labour. Figures show that 1 in 4 victims are children, whilst up to 34% of victims of slavery go on to be re-trafficked.

You can find out more at http://www.antislavery.org

The Co-op Blog

586 words, approx. 2.5 minutes to read.

Today is national Anti-Slavery Day. Why does slavery need its own day? Well in the UK modern slavery is a rapidly growing criminal activity but we’re only just beginning to understand the scale of the crimes being committed. The National Crime Agency estimate that there are over 10,000 potential victims of slavery in the UK right now, with potential victims recorded in 2016 coming from 108 different countries.

So let me tell you something about modern slavery, what we’re doing as the Co-op, and how you can help too.

Vulnerable

Slavery is the second biggest illegal trade in the world and it preys on the most vulnerable men, women and children destroying their lives by trapping them in crime, domestic slavery, the sex trade or forced labour. Figures show that 1 in 4 victims are children, whilst up to 34% of victims…

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When Lauren Pitt graduated with a 2:1 degree in Theology and built up an extensive list of volunteering experience, she didn’t imagine she would have too many

Source: “I’ve got a good degree and great CV but I’ve been turned down for 250 jobs because I’m blind” | DisabledGo News and Blog

SouL SpeakS

He started Writing, The paper started speaking...

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Govt Newspeak

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