Social care charges will affect about 250

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SOCIAL care users in the county are being reassured that few of them will be left out of pocket by new charges on the way next month.

Northumberland County Council is bringing in a new policy on charging for care at home and related social care services from Monday, April 9.

The new charges apply to care services delivered at home.

Residential care will still be fully paid for by those able to afford it.

The new policy requires users of social care to make a bigger contribution to the cost of support at home if they have the means.

The maximum fee will be set at 60 per cent of the cost of residential care – but means testing will take account only of savings and income.

Only about 250 of the county’s 3,200 service users are expected to have to contribute more.

The council’s executive member for adult care, Ian Lindley, of Morpeth Stobhill, said: “Most people who use social care services will see little change to their charges, and many will actually pay less.”

In the current financial situation we have an obligation to protect services for the most vulnerable.

“Only those who can afford the extra cost of this care, will be expected to make that contribution.

“We think this is a better option than reducing services. We are also awaiting Government’s response to the recommendations of last year’s report on how people could benefit from greater protection against the impact of care charges Anything that can be done to achieve this, will obviously be very welcome.”