Care charges push pensioner below legal minimum income level

Poster from Disability Network Norfolk Group: “Stop the MIG cuts!” (Minimum Income Guarantee)

Norfolk pensioner Valerie Bradley contacted WinVisible about the court ruling against Norfolk County Council, and asked us to publish her statement.

She writes:

“I received an email from the complaints manager Imogen Palmer. According to her, as l am over pension age, she states that the judicial review does not apply to me because l cannot work.

I assured her by my reply that it does apply to me, as my Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) is acknowledged by Norfolk county council, as not falling below £189 weekly [for pensioners]. But then a charge was applied to the MIG that dropped the MIG down to £125 weekly. As l am a widow, severely disabled and receiving the highest disability benefits, l am seen — along with others — as a person with high benefits that they are able to take, to make up a shortfall in central government funding.

It does not matter that their actions cause us all to live below the poverty line, they don’t really care. But l could not afford my charge so l stopped paying the charges.

Also, just in case anyone is having a financial assessment soon, please remind the financial team, that the Care Act states you must be left with your minimum MIG after charges. It is maladmistration to charge you after they have set your minimum MIG. This can be confirmed by looking at the charging system in the 2014 Care Act, any solicitor at CAB will confirm that.

It is a shocking indictment that this council does not know or understand their duties towards the persons they are caring for.

I am now awaiting for the complaints manager Imogen Palmer, to take my complaint further, as it states in their own complaints regulations, that is the next step if the client is not happy about her conclusions regarding their complaint.
The complaints manager Imogen Palmer has stated also in her email that her decision is the end of my complaint. It is not, as there is another stage to be carried out. Which is an independent social worker from another council to come in and collect all the information on my complaint, also what l have to say, listen to Norfolk county council, and study the evidence of both parties. Make themselves familiar with the Care Act — if they already know it, great.

I am expecting Imogen Palmer to resist taking my complaint to the next stage, because Norfolk county council has just lost a judicial review on charging, and for that reason l will have to get help from the CAB and disability organisations.
In no way am l going to be denied a fair assessment of my valid complaint.

If anyone feels they have justifiable reasons to lodge a complaint with Norfolk county council, ask Imogen to send you the Norfolk county council complaints policy so you get a fair hearing of your complaint.”

Valerie

See: Norfolk County Council adult social care complaints page.

See also letter from the Centre for Adult Social Care Advice, Information and Dispute Resolution (CASCAIDr) to local councils about the Norfolk ruling, published by the Local Government Association.

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