Charges, Benefits and Financial Assessment for Social Care
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This page contains information on charges and benefits for those accessing care:
- Residential Services (including nursing home care)
- Non-Residential Services (this would include care at home, day care, equipment, etc)
- Care at Home
- Disability Related Expenditure/Housing Costs/General Living Allowance
- Financial Assessment
- Payment/Contract Arrangements
In accordance with national policy you are expected to pay for this type of service in accordance with your ability to pay as determined by Financial Assessment Regulations.
More Information can be found in the Guide to Paying for Care in a Residential or Nursing Home. (Opens in a new window)
Unlike residential services there is not a national policy where you are expected to pay for such services. However, if a local authority decides to charge for these services it has to follow national guidelines in the way it determines what you can afford. Wiltshire Council has decided to charge for certain services as below.
More information can be found in the Guide to Paying for care in Your own Home. (Opens in a new window)
Depending on your age and/or disability you may be entitled to benefits from the Department of Work and Pensions and in order to ensure you are receiving all you should be, the council has a team called the Financial Assessment and Benefits team to undertake this review. This team as well as being trained to undertake welfare benefits checks, they also complete the financial assessment necessary to determine any charges for residential care and care at home. These welfare benefit checks and financial assessments are generally carried out in your home.
If you have more than £23,250 in saving/capital (including the value of your home or other property) you will normally be required to pay the full cost of your care, be advised to make your own arrangements and will not be entitled to financial assistance from the council (see below regarding property) If you have saving/capital below £14,250 this will be disregarded but if you have savings between £14,250 and £23,250 the council will add £1.00 per week to your income (called tariff income) for each £250.00 or part thereof between these amounts (ie £15,000 savings would attract a tariff income of £3.00 per week as this is £750 over the disregarded savings).
Generally all of your income (including benefits) is included in a financial assessment in accordance with the charging regulations to determine the contribution you will be asked to make towards your care home fees. Some income is disregarded from the financial assessment, such as mobility allowance, as is a figure for your personal allowance presently £24.40 per week.
If you are only going into a care home for a short period of up to eight weeks your contributions will be based on your assessed contribution for care at home services.
If you are a temporary resident but the period cannot be determined at the start or is going to be longer than eight weeks a financial assessment will be undertaken taking your income and savings between £14,250 to £23,250 into account but allowances to maintain your home will be included in any assessment.
If you qualify for financial assistance from the council you will be given details of care homes that provide care at an ‘agreed price’ that the council is prepared to pay or the council will indicate this ’agreed price’ in order for you to choose a care home that suits you. However if the care home you choose charges a fee above the ‘agreed price’ you will need to find a ‘third party’ ie someone else, to meet the shortfall. Any contribution that you are asked to make towards your care will go towards the ‘agreed price’ the council determines. You cannot meet any shortfall yourself.
If you own, or have an interest in, more than one property it is very likely that your capital assets are more than £23,250 and therefore would be expected to pay the full cost of your care and would not be entitled to financial assistance from the council. In certain situations some capital assets may be disregarded, these can be discussed during a financial assessment.
If you own your home only (or have an interest in it valued at more than £23,250) but you have savings of less than £23,250 you may be entitled to financial assistance from the council for up to 12 weeks initial funding by the council to assist with your care home fees. At the end of the 12 weeks, although you will then be liable to meet the full cost of your care, you can ask the council for a loan to help meet care fees pending the sale of the property. If the property is on the market the council will offer a loan by means where your solicitor dealing with the sale will agreed to repay the council on completion of the sale. If you do not wish to sell your property immediately the council can still offer a loan which is termed ‘a deferred payment’ whereby the council will place a legal charge against your property to secure the loan. In both instances you will have to make a contribution towards the full fee based on a financial assessment of your income as indicated under ‘INCOME’ above and the council will loan the difference to make up the full cost of your care fee.
Once a care home has been identified, placement date agreed and contributions determined, the council will draw up a contract for your care to include the care home provider, the council, yourself and any third party. All parties will sign up to the contract of care which sets out care standards, fees etc and a copy will be provided to you. The contribution you are asked to make should be paid direct to the care home and the council will pay its share direct to them as well.
These services are not provided or funded by the council if you have capital/savings in excess of £23,250 but this would exclude the property you live in). Look at the Information for Self Funders if you have savings or capital over £23,250, excluding your house if you own it.
This would include Direct Payments as an alternative to provision of services by the council.
The council applies the same principles for savings as indicated above under residential care, only the house you live in is disregarded as an asset. If you have savings in excess of £23,250 or own a second or more properties valued at more than £23,250 then you are generally required to make your own arrangements for care at home services.
The council generally applies the same principles for income as indicated above under residential care but any earnings are also disregarded.
When the council undertakes a financial assessment to determine what it believes you can afford to contribute towards your care at home the expenditure you incur as a consequence of your age/disability will be offset as would costs to maintain your home. These costs would need to be evidenced for the council to allow them. There is also a general living allowance disregarded based on 25% above Income Support/Pension Credit basic amounts that you are allowed to retain before any charges are applied.
War Pensions - All payments to veterans under the War Pension Scheme (except for Constant Attendance Allowance which is specifically intended to pay for care) will also be fully disregarded in financial assessments
The total of your income plus a tariff on savings is added together and disability related expenditure/housing costs/general living allowance are deducted. This figure is the amount you will need to contribute towards care and support costs.
Once the service is set up a contract will be drawn up by the council to include the Service Provider, the council and yourself. A copy will be made available to you. Any contribution you are asked to make should be paid direct to the Provider and the council will pay its share direct to them as well.
The council applies no charge for equipment nor is there any charge for minor adaptations costing less than £1,000. For adaptations costing more than £1,000 you will be directed to apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant.
For more information contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0300 456 0111
Tax Help for Older People is a service provided by the charity Tax Volunteers, offering free, independent and expert help and advice on personal tax matters to older people (approaching 60 or over) on low incomes (less than £20,000 per year). The service operates across the UK, with a national helpline and a network of over 450 professionally trained tax volunteers. For further information visit www.taxvol.org.uk or call 0845 6013321
Financial Ombudsman: http://financial-ombudsman.org.uk/
Wiltshire Council Charging Policy: With other policies, the charging policy is available to download at http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/adult-care-policies
Getting Ready for your Financial Assessment: Information about how to prepare for a financial assessment