Home Help

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Domiciliary social services, also known as home help, have attracted a relatively low level of charges or have been provided free of charge.

However, below are the notable exceptions.

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Adaptations and Equipment

Regardless of whether you are over or under 75 years of age, you should not be charged for community care equipment. Nevertheless, you may have to contribute to the cost of adaptations.

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Home Help Scheme

A means-tested charge has been applied to the home help service which can include basic household tasks and personal and social care duties.

This model home help scheme outlines the criteria for assessment and charging of individuals under the age of 75. People over 75 are not charged.

This is regularly amended to take account of increases in social security benefits which are applied when assessing your ability to pay for the service.

Those receiving Pension Credit or Income Support should not be charged for home help services.

Any attempt by a Trust to apply a charging policy which is inconsistent with the guidance may be challenged by judicial review.

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A standard subsidized charge (not subject to a means test) is set and reviewed annually by the Department of Health and Social Services and Public Safety (DHSS&PS) for meals provided at day centres and by the meals-on-wheels service.

Help with costs: Family or Carer Contributions

As a general principle, the financial assessment should only take account of your income and capital and that of your partner or spouse.

In practice, it is often suggested to your other family members or carers that a contribution should be made by them towards the cost of care services provided in your home. This happens particularly when the Trust exercises a capping policy on the amount it will pay towards an intensive domiciliary care package. Nevertheless, there is no legal basis for asking for such a contribution.

Help with Costs: Grants and Benefits

A range of grants and benefits are available to help you to live independently in your own home. These include Community Care Grants and the Independent Living Fund. Social Security benefits such as Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Carer’s Allowance, Pension Credit, and Income Support, may also help you meet the extra cost of care in your home. However, you should not be asked to use your benefits to pay for services privately.

There are also grants available to help people with the cost of adaptations to their homes. For further information about these grants, visit the Northern Ireland Housing Executive website.

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