When starting out on a Direct Payment, your Local Authority will give you a financial assessment to see how much they will ask you to pay towards your care. This is called the Client Contribution.
In order to reduce the amount you have to pay for your care, your Local Authority should take into account any Disability Related Expenses (DRE) you have, which they should disregard as available income, reducing the amount of your client contribution.
DRE are any extra costs linked to any disability you have.
You should make sure that when you have your financial assessment, you have a detailed list of all the DRE you have, so your contribution is as cost saving as possible.
It can be tough to think about Disability Related Expenditure. We know from personal experience that your life is simply what you experience every day, and you are probably not used to considering what costs you incur each month that arise from your disability and which do not.
If you can’t think which costs relate to your disability, try and think about your day-to-day life and what items and services you use.
Ask yourself, what is different between what you have to spend compared to a relative, friend or neighbour who does not have your disability or health condition.
But don’t just think about the short term; think about a week, month or year in your life. You may use some items and services more at different times than others.
It may help to look through records you have about your disability and any invoices/bills/receipts to see what you spend in a week/month/year and which costs arise from your disability.
Disability Related Expenditure costs usually fall into one of these three categories:
Specialised items and services: you may use things that are made especially to help with your disability, such as wheelchairs and care support. These items may have additional costs, like repair and insurance.
Increased use of non-specialised items and services: you may have to use things more because of your disability, such as transport or heating.
Higher cost non-specialised items and services: you may have to use things that cost more than the average, such as home delivery.
How do I calculate the costs of my DRE?
How to calculate the cost of each item/service depends on what it is. The financial assessment form asks for a cost and frequency. This means how much you spend and how often. You can estimate when unsure.
Equipment/aids: take the item’s cost and divide by its predicted lifespan.
This will give its cost over time. For example; if you bought a special mattress due to medical needs that cost £480 and you expect it to last two years: £480/24 = £20 per month
Regular payments for services such as care, gardening and housework can be given however often you pay them. Remember to include things that only happen annually, such as wheelchair insurance.
Extra utility costs: use the cost minus the average for your size of household. Average costs can be found online. Try to use a year’s cost to account for different amounts of use over the year.
The council ask for any evidence you have for Disability Related Expenditure.
This is proof of the cost, such as bills/invoices/receipts, contracts, and bank statements. It is also proof that the cost is related to disability, such as a letter from a health professional or a care-plan that states a need which has not been met by the council.
What Happens Next?
The council may require more evidence for things you have listed as Disability Related Expenditure, or disagree in some cases. Not all costs will be considered as eligible. For instance, if you choose to buy items/services when there is a cheaper alternative that meets the need, or if it is something provided by the NHS for free. The cost must be paid by you, not covered by a grant or donation.
After the assessment, you will receive confirmation from your Local Authority of your personal contribution and overall budget amount.
Calculating Disability Related Expenses, live in Sussex or Croydon and would like some additional support?
If you want to have a chat about DRE’s, call us on 01903 219482, or send an email to email@example.com.