Direct Payment contributions advice please?

I haven’t been on here for a while because my days have been taken up with caring for my husband who needed 24-hour intensive care from me (no additional support from LA or CHC).
I was assessed as having eligible needs myself for care and support by our local LA in January 2020 due to having my own illness and health care and support needs and how caring for 19 years (at that time) had taken a toll on my physical health and well-being.

Originally I had a ‘nil’ contribution. When I reached state pension age that rose to £34.50 per week. Just had a new financial assessment and been told that my contribution will rise to £100.26 per week (nearly trebled) and will be back-dated to June 2022 when my husband died. The reason given for the increase in my contribution is a “substantial increase in income”.
The household income decreased the day my husband died.

In 2019 I was receiving state pension and the enhanced care and enhanced mobility components of PIP. I did not get pension credit at that time because we were a “mixed age couple” (my husband was a few years younger than me).

A couple of months after June I discovered I qualified for a small amount of pension credit and I received a small pension from my husbands pension (£14.09 per week - he only paid into the pension plan for a very short time before he was forced to give up work due to his illness 20 years ago). We did not have any savings, everything was used to provide for my husband.

During the LA financial assessment I was only asked about my income, never asked how much I have to spend a week on household bills, shopping, etc should this figure have been included in the assessment?

Have also noticed that on my Pension Credit letter it states: “Your appropriate amount: This is the minimum amount the Government says you must have each week taking account of specific circumstances. Because you are single : £182.60; And because you are severely disabled £69.40; Which gives you a total appropriate amount of £252.00.”

Yet the LA only disregards a Maximum Income Guarantee of £194.70 and Disability related expenditure of £17.Making a total disregard of £211.70.
Making a difference of £40.30 that the Government says I must have per week to that which the LA says I am allowed to keep.
They quote the Care Act but did the Government not implement the Care Act? If so then why are the two amounts so different? Plus the LA are not making any allowance for the cost-of-living crisis, increase in fuel costs etc.

The difference of £40.30 per week may not be much to some but is a fortune to someone like me, who has been an unpaid carer for 22 years and who did it because I loved my husband so dearly. People like us save the LA and government thousands of pounds yet if/when we get to the point that we need care and support ourselves the LA appears to want us to live in poverty with no regard to how we will manage all of our other needs not covered by the support plan.

Any advice would be greatly welcomed. I have looked on the internet and usually my brain can compute what I read but right now my brain is all like mush. Thank you for your help

Hi - sorry to hear about your financial problems - it sounds like the last thing you neee. Have you tried contacting Help the Aged or Citizens Advice - I think both organisations and certainly Citizens Advice have benefit specialists who should be able to check your situation with you and help you if are paying too much.

Ring our Carers UK helpline, who are experts in this sort of query, whereas those of us on the forum can only speak from personal experience.