Charges for social care costs will be brought into line with the latest Department of Health (DH) guidance if proposed changes are introduced, councillors will hear.
Durham County Council’s Cabinet will be asked for approval to consult on proposed changes to the charging policy for non-residential social care services which will bring it in line with Department of Health national guidance.
When the Care Act came into force in April 2015, the Government set a minimum amount of income a person must be left with after being charged for care and support.
However, councils have the option to allow people to keep more than the minimum amount, referred to as minimum income guarantee (MIG).
Until now, Durham County Council has used MIG+25%, meaning individuals are left with income plus an additional 25% buffer when calculating their contribution to care costs.
The Department of Health issued guidance earlier this year confirming a buffer of MIG+18.6% should be used.
The council is now proposing to change its policy to bring it in line with the DH guidance. The proposals will not impact on people who already contribute towards their social care costs and will be brought in so that they apply to new users from April 2018.
Other councils across the region are already applying the new guidance.
If agreed, a 12-week consultation will begin to inform a Cabinet decision next spring.
Councillor Lucy Hovvels MBE, Cabinet member for adult and health services, said: “Our means-test financial assessments ensure that people only pay what they can afford and these changes will mean everyone is treated fairly and consistently.
“We encourage people to take part in the public consultation which opens later this month and which will be taken into account before a final decision on the proposals is made next year.”