Autistic man’s ‘care’ bill not fair, says dad

By Helen Morton

5:00pm Friday 20th April 2012

DISABLED people are soft targets for cash-strapped councils, an autistic man’s father says.

 John and Kevin Kearney


Kevin Kearney, of Western Way, South Ham, Basingstoke, suffers from autism and struggles with communication, and for most of his life he has been attending courses which allow him to learn new skills.

Currently, he attends courses four times a week, all of which are partly funded by Hampshire County Council and for which he does not pay. But Kevin has been told by the county council that he must pay £23.94 every week towards ‘care services’.

The 39 year-old, who lives with his parents in Basingstoke, does not receive, or need, any care at home.

His courses include training for and taking an NVQ in hospitality at Cafe Dome, in the Brighton Hill centre, a course with Speakeasy, New Road and a woodwork class held weekly in West Ham Industrial Estate.

His father John, 74, said: “It’s as if they are targeting the vulnerable. It has always been discretionary for the council – they could have charged at any time – and I understand they need to make savings because they can’t put the council tax up.

“But to go from not having to pay anything to this amount of money does not seem right.”

He said the bill for £23.94, seemed to have been plucked from thin air.

John and his wife Una, 72, who have five other grown-up children, are just one of many families who have been hit by the bills across the county.

When the changes were introduced, Councillor Felicity Hindson, Hampshire County Council’s executive member for adult services, said: “Social care services have never been free, and the old policy which charged some people for some services was neither fair nor consistent.

“We needed to update our contributions policy so that everyone is treated in the same way, regardless of what services they choose. People will only pay what they can afford, and the amount people pay will differ from person to person, based on their personal budget and their individual financial assessment.”

In total, 1,100 service users across Hampshire, including Kevin, have been asked to contribute more towards the cost of their care.


One Response to Autistic man’s ‘care’ bill not fair, says dad

  1. Jane Beooks says:

    I’m really puzzled by the comment that contributions are based on the personal budget AND the financial assessment. In my experience it is the FA that determines the contribution regardless of how much budget you receive and in recent times these have been cut drastically but the contributions have not. Councils are definitely targeting the vulnerable to rake in the money but at the same time making savings by decreasing funding and services. Hitting these people on two fronts is totally unacceptable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available