Disability related expenditure is relevant to charging assessments whereby one’s own money, spent privately on things or services that are incurred on account of one’s disabling illness or condition, and which are ‘needed’, not merely in the sense of being accepted as ‘eligible’ needs under the Care Act, but things or services which are objectively definitely ‘needed’, and not merely indulged in or just wanted – is deducted from one’s income count, so operating to reduce the remaining net income and thus the maximum charge for care.
DRE is only taken off one’s other assessed income if one is in receipt of disability related benefits and they are being counted in by the council’s discretionary charging policy in the first place. Some councils have flat rates of DRE which they will allow to be claimed, regardless of proof; amounts over and above that, need to be established by reference to average household expenditure for non disabled people, and/or receipts, invoices, payments out, etc.
The LGO reports highlight that the Council’s DRE policy and the Care and Support Statutory Guidance both state that each person should be financially assessed on theirindividual needs and circumstances, because of the general principle of affordability underpinning charging. There is no exhaustive list of items a council should or should not include as DRE. Councils are found at fault if they fetter their discretion by refusing to consider higher amounts for DRE based on an individual’s needs. The LGO has noted that councils must take notice of cultural issues such as specific hair care for different ethnicities.