Littlehampton dad fears he will lose home amid increase in social care bills

A Littlehampton dad who suffers from a mental illness said he is facing extortionate increases in his care bills which is putting a strain on his mental health.

Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 3:04 pm

David Jones who lives in a flat in the town centre, said he is facing an increase in his social care payments to West Sussex County Council from £40 to £151 a month.

“It’s difficult to budget already and would be impossible if I had to pay these charges, but the main impact on me is on my mental health,” said the 60-year-old, who has bipolar disorder.

David relies on two hours of support a week from his landlord Aldingbourne Trust, which supports people with learning disabilities and/or autism to live independent lives. His personal independence payment (Pip) bills to the county council pay for this.

David Jones, of Littlehampton

But he now fears he will lose his home as he ‘simply cannot afford it’.

“I can’t make ends meet at the moment, so for them to ask me to pay this huge extra amount is insane and grotesque,” said David, adding his dog, Megan, would also have to go.

He said when he received a letter from the county council about the increased charges, it said if people could not afford the charges, they should contact the council.

“I have done this twice but they have completely ignored me,” added David.

David Jones with his dog, Megan

In response, the county council said it wanted to support people like David, adding it encouraged anyone who had concerns or worries to get in touch so they could be worked with on an individual basis.

A spokesman also said: “For many years people of working age in West Sussex were able to pay less for their social care services, because we allowed them to keep more of their income for day-to-day living.

“This is because we did not apply the minimum statutory rate, as advised by the Department of Health and Social Care, of the Minimum Income Guarantee. This specifies the level of income someone must be left with after their social care contribution has been deducted.

“However, because of decreased funding from central government this now isn’t possible, and we have had to bring our charges in line with the statutory minimum as other councils have done. Our charging arrangements follow national guidance and are based on an individual assessment of a person’s financial circumstances.

David Jones with his dog, Megan

“We continue to be there to support customers. We have asked people to contact us if they will find it difficult to pay so we can work with them on an individual basis.

“We continue to work with providers who have themselves raised the national funding issues and the impact that has on local services.”