To further support our recipients in both Scotland and Northern Ireland we are applying our award policies more flexibly during this difficult time. We have summarised some of the key changes below and can continue to apply these flexible policies until the end of June 2021.
With effect from the 1st March 2020, ILF Scotland can continue to pay all awards in full (less any recipient contribution) to allow recipients/award managers to use this to continue to pay their PAs and care providers. We will do this automatically unless a recipient asks us to reduce or suspend their award.
We will keep this position under regular review.
Where a recipient wishes to self-isolate and has asked their PA or care provider not to provide support to them in their home, they can, if they wish, retain their PA or care provider and continue to pay them in full. They can ask their PA or care provider to support them in other ways, for example, to collect prescriptions, do their shopping, etc. Recipients can, at this time, use their ILF Scotland awards in flexible ways to meet their independent living outcomes.
Where their PA is self-isolating or shielding, or where the care provider is not able to provide a full service, the recipient can still continue to use their ILF Scotland award to pay for the PA or provider. If a recipient’s PA is self-employed, this will be subject to satisfactory evidence that the existing self-employment status is recognised by HMRC.
ILF Scotland can also agree to pay additional, reasonable, costs for replacement care or support for a temporary period. If ILF recipients need to purchase alternative care or support because their PA or care provider cannot provide this, they can do so from another agency or PA and fund this from contingency / unspent monies (ILF Scotland has lifted the 7-day limit on contingency funds at this time). If sufficient funds are not available, ILF Scotland can consider, on a case-by-case basis, funding the cost of replacement care.
ILF Scotland expects recipients to pay PAs the Scottish Living Wage rate of £9.30 from 1st April 2020 (£9.00 prior to that).
With prior agreement from ILF Scotland, recipients can also employ a friend or family member (including those living in the same household if this is the only option and subject to discussion with an ILF Scotland Assessor). These arrangements will be on a temporary basis until June 30th 2021, to replace the support that ILF Scotland currently pays for and existing support arrangements should be reinstated as soon as possible and ILF Scotland advised of this. The recipient must place the new person recruited to provide the temporary support on payroll to comply with HMRC.
Social Care Workers – financial hardship
Social care workers should not experience financial hardship because of COVID-19. We know that many of our recipients have continued to pay their personal assistants their full pay even if they were not able to support them due to COVID 19. If, however, a PA is/was sick or self-isolating and only receive(d) statutory sick pay or an amount less than their expected income, the recipient, as the employer, can top this up to their normal income, providing their absence is/was because of COVID-19. Recipients can use unspent ILF Scotland funds to meet this cost. If sufficient funds are not available, recipients you should contact ILF Scotland to discuss additional funding to cover this cost for a temporary period.
The above policies are relevant to all recipients in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Scotland only – Personal Contribution
Recipients should continue to make any normal personal contribution towards their support if this is in place. If the support is reduced or not in place at all due to COVID-19, it may still be necessary to pay their personal contribution to retain services for future support. Recipients can decide whether to pay for a reduced or suspended service or not but if they decide they wish to do this, then ILF Scotland can provide additional funds to cover the cost of this, if required.
The Scottish Government has issued guidance and advice for PAs who need Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). More information about this can be found here. PAs can also contact the NHS National Services Scotland Social Care PPE Support Centre on 0300 303 3020.
Thank You payment to health and social care staff
The Scottish Government has announced that it will provide a one-off ‘Thank You” payment to front line health and social care staff. ILF Scotland funded PAs will be included in this payment. We are working with Scottish Government colleagues to identify the best way of organising this and we will write to our recipients as soon as possible to let them know what we have agreed.