Dagenham mother says son should not pay for day care

The 80-year-old mother and carer of a man with learning difficulties says her son will have little money after being forced to pay transport and day care costs for the first time in 36 years.

Patricia Jones says Graham, 56, has never paid for care and travel to Maples Day Centre, in Gascoigne Road, Barking.

Last month the council wrote to Graham, who lives with his mother, to say, in line with the government’s New Fairer Contributions policy, he will now have to pay �10 a week.

Patricia, of Hollidge Way, Dagenham, said: “He only receives �158 a week in income support and disability allowance. The government says �138 should cover one person’s living costs like food and bills – that means he has �15 left.

“If �10 is spent on care, that leaves him with �5. Which is far too little.

“I will pay the money as I’m not going to deny my son his time at the centre. But I worry about other people who won’t be able to pay. We may go back to how it used to be with people like Graham being forced to stay at home all day.”

A council spokesman said the contributions policy for community based adult social care had recently been reviewed following government guidance.

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He added: “The proposed policy was consulted on and the views of residents led to changes in the way that disability benefits were considered.

“Residents will be asked to pay what they can afford towards cost of services. The way in which we decide this is a national calculation (income support plus 25 per cent), but we have added extra safeguards for local people – e.g no charge if contribution is less than �5.”

He said the charge has been capped at �10 until March 2012.