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COVID-19 – What will happen regarding Social Care?

In reaction to these unprecedented times, the Government has drafted the Coronavirus Bill 2020.

The Coronavirus Bill is currently being scrutinised by Parliament and is yet to be enacted but it is expected this will be in the coming days.

When the emergency measures are put in place, it would temporarily end many of the Local Authorities duties to those in the community to provide social care to support and meet their needs.

The Government’s concern is that at the peak of this pandemic it may become difficult for Local Authorities to continue to undertake and be accountable to the same standard of care. As the demand for those wanting access to Social Care will likely increase and the resources available will be limited. 

Therefore should you or a loved one receive care or support from your Local Authority you may be affected. 

How will I be affected?

The Local Authority would not have a responsibility to complete assessments of an individual’s needs, or a carer’s needs for support. The Local Authority currently have a duty to meet the needs of all those who are eligible. This would be suspended and the Local Authority would be able to prioritise whose needs and what needs are met.

Additionally, there would be no duty to provide care or support plans or review those plans.

It is also notable that the Local Authority would also have no obligation to undertake a financial assessment of an individual whilst providing social care to them. This would mean that the individual would not be charged at the time the services are received during the emergency period. However, the Local Authority would not be prevented from retrospectively charging the individual for the services received during the emergency period, should they have financial resources over the financial limit.

If these measures were enacted, it does not mean that the Local Authority would not be expected to continue to meet all of their duties if they are able to do so. It is also expected that the Government will issue guidance on how Local Authorities should allocate resources should many of their duties be suspended.

When people are refused an assessment and/or services by the Local Authority, or there is disagreement about a proposed change to the services received, one of our community care lawyers can help.

Cartwright King has lawyers in most areas of law, and the current information we are sharing is written by court of protection lawyer Andrea Prescott of Cartwright King.

This was written on 27th March 2020, and is based on the draft legislation available at this time.

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