The Scottish Government claim that this policy is about treating people over 65 and under 65 equally. In her response to the Petitions Committee, the Cabinet Secretary repeated “Our aim in extending free personal care was to move to a consistent approach for under and over 65s rather than maintaining a separate approach for different age groups.”
If that was really true, then why has the Scottish Government taken no action over the blatant age discrimination in COSLA’s 2018-19 charging guidance that sees single people over 65 not pay charges until their income is over £204 per week while single people under 65 pay charge when their income is over £134 per week? This can mean that younger disabled adults pay as much as £70 per week more in charges for exactly the same service.
The difference this makes can be seen in one of the poorest and most rural areas in Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway. Figures published only two weeks ago show the local Health and Social Care Partnership have increased their income from social care charges by 60% in a single year (2017-18), taking an additional £1 million from younger disabled adults under 60 differently, by simply cutting their income disregards down to this lower figure of £134 per week.
If the Scottish Government was serious about treating people over 65 and under 65 equally then they would prioritise the equalisation of the income disregard level.
We wonder when the Scottish Government plan to make COSLA alter its guidance to treat people over 65 and under 65 equally.