Disabled man denied care cash
CHESHIRE East Council has been slammed for denying vital care payments to young disabled man which resulted in his mother giving up work.
He suffered a serious spinal injury while playing sport at university in September 2013.
After two months in hospital he asked for his mother, a lone-parent, to provide his round-theclock care.
But when he asked for his direct payments to be used to employ his mother for 76 hours a week, the council refused, using the Working Time Regulations (WTR), which says an employee should not work more than 48 hours a week, unless they choose to.
The row delayed payments for eight months and had a ‘significant impact on the family’ and resulted in the mother giving up work to become his carer.
Now, following a complaint the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) has ruled the council was wrong to refuse payments and should have balanced the choice to be cared for by a family member against the risk to their carer of working long hours.
The council has been ordered to pay the mother almost £65,000 in back pay to January 2014, less direct payments already made, £250 compensation to the man, and £350 to the mother.
Dr Jane Martin, Local Government Ombudsman, said: “Direct payments are about giving people flexibility and choice, and in this case while the young man was adjusting to significant life changes, he wanted his mother to provide his care. The council did not give proper consideration to the exceptional circumstances the family found themselves in and, while we would not normally criticise a council for considering the risks of employing a family member as a carer or working unreasonable hours, the absence of a risk assessment or detailed discussion in this case casts doubt on the council’s decision.”
Cheshire East Council said the assessment was not as robust as it should have been and apologised ‘unreservedly’ to the family for the ‘unacceptable delays’.
Chief executive, Mike Suarez, said: “We have already implemented a number of the actions recommended by the ombudsman. We will work with this gentleman to ensure that his needs are appropriately met and that he is supported to lead as independent a life as possible.”