Paying for care services at home

General guidance notes

If you have needs that you feel could be supported by care and support being provided in your home environment, you should make contact with our Adult Care Team on 0800 085 6666. They will take details of your circumstances and arrange for a Care Manager or Care Co-Ordinator to contact you to discuss your situation.

They will be required to assess your needs to determine what type of care might be appropriate and to help make a decision about arranging and assisting with any contribution towards the cost of your care.

The processes that need to be completed are as follows:

Your Care Manager will arrange to meet with you to discuss your needs and goals to understand and agree the best way to meet these.

This assessment could identify a number of outcomes, for example:

  • No care and support needs identified
  • Signposting to other agencies/charities where appropriate
  • Equipment purchase or provision of equipment which could assist with the needs identified
  • Care and support in the home to be considered
  • Day Care or Day Centre Attendance
  • Consideration may be given to suitable alternative accommodation

Once the care plan has been agreed, the Care Manager will identify the cost of meeting this need, known as your personal budget, and make an application for the council to agree that they are willing to make a contribution towards the cost. At the appropriate time, the Care Manager or Co-Ordinator will refer your details to the Financial Assessment and Benefits (FAB) Team for a financial assessment to be conducted. At this time the FAB Team will make contact to discuss this further.

Following an assessment of care needs, where applicable, the Care Manager will apply to the council on your behalf, for the agreement that a contribution towards the costs can be considered. When this agreement is in place, you will be contacted in order to discuss the care package being sourced and put in place. The local authority may only pay a contribution toward the cost of your care and you may also be required to pay a contribution.

If care and support needs have been identified, the Care Manager will refer your details to the Financial Assessment & Benefit (FAB) Team. The FAB Team will make contact to obtain a full financial declaration from you.

The information that will be required is as follows:

  • details of your income, benefits, capital, savings
  • details of any other investments along with details of any property, land or other assets you own except the property you live in as your main, only home
  • details of certain household expenses
  • details of any disability related expenses you may have

You may choose to refuse to make a financial declaration and in such cases the individual would be assessed as liable to pay the full cost of their care. You may however request that a full financial assessment be completed at any time in the future.

If you hold over £23,250 in total capital, savings and other investments, you will be classed as self-funding and will therefore be required to pay the full cost of your care. You will be asked to sign a declaration confirming that you have above the capital threshold. Should you refuse to sign the declaration, you will be assessed as liable to pay the full cost of your care due to non-disclosure of information.

Capital investments that include an element of life insurance may be disregarded from our assessment of capital.

Capital held in joint accounts will be apportioned equally between the joint account holders. You may wish to seek independent financial advice with regards to managing joint accounts.

Approximately 3 months before your capital reduces below the £23,250 threshold, you should contact the Adult Care Team on 0800 085 6666 to advise them that this is the case. They will refer your details to a Care Manager or Co-Ordinator to start the process of arranging a needs assessment.

You may continue to be charged the full cost of your care by your care provider until such time as the local authority have agreed they are able to make a contribution towards the cost of care

Tariff income is calculated where you hold a capital balance between £14,250 and £23,250. Tariff income is calculated as shown below and included as a weekly income available to you in our assessment.

If your capital is assessed as below £14,250 there will be no tariff income.

If your capital is assessed as being between £14,250 and £23,250, a tariff income will apply and is calculated as a £1 income for each £250 of savings or part thereof, you hold above £14,250. For example, if you held total capital of £19,000, tariff income would be calculated as below:

  • £19,000 less £14,250 disregard = £4750 divide by £250 = £19.00 tariff income

If your capital exceeds £23,250 you will be assessed as liable to pay the full cost of your care.

If you own, or part own, any property or land other than a property you occupy as your main, only home, this may have an impact on the financial assessment and you may be assessed as liable to pay the full cost of your care. If this is the case, we would advise you to seek independent financial advice regarding your options to fund care fees, secured against the asset

The financial assessment is completed by:

  • calculating your weekly income
  • calculation and deducting any income that should be disregarded
  • calculating any tariff income from capital
  • calculating your Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG)
  • calculating any necessary household expenditure which is allowable
  • calculating any additional expenses you may have as a direct result of your need, this should be identified as a need in your care plan
  • calculating your disposable income which is weekly income, less MIG, less household expenses, less DRE = Disposable Income

The disposable income figure is the maximum weekly amount you will be asked to pay toward the cost of your care. If the total weekly cost of your care is less than your disposable income, you will pay the actual cost of care. If the total weekly cost of your care is more than your disposable income, you will pay the disposable income figure only.

For example, if the disposable income is £40 per week and the cost of care is £150 per week, the individual would pay £40 per week OR

If the disposable income is £40 per week and the cost of care is £35 per week, the individual would pay £35 per week

Please note: Where the disposable income figure is either nil or a negative figure, the individual would be assessed as nil contribution and they would not be required to contribute toward the cost of any care and support

All income should be declared. Certain income may be disregarded in the financial assessment. The assessment officer will consider any relevant disregards when completing the assessment

Should you have anyone living in the property with you who is over the age of 18 for example, a relative, spouse or partner of a relative, lodger, boarder or friend, they would be expected to make a contribution toward the household costs.

Where you have a lodger or boarder who pays a rent, an element of that rent will be included as income in our assessment. You will be required to provide evidence of the rent that is paid and a breakdown of what the rent includes. For example, does the rent include all utility bill plus food and use of the room, room only or room and utilities?

Where you have an adult over 18 who is a relative or friend, the amount we would expect them to contribute would be based on their gross weekly income. The amount they would be expected to pay is as determined by the Department for Work & Pensions and is called a non-dependant deduction.

The local authority is required to identify the minimum income you would require to meet you normal day to day expenses. This is called a minimum income guarantee and is determined using guidelines issued by the Department of Health. It is the minimum amount you would need to pay for normal utility bills, food and other day to day living expenses.

The MIG is calculated based on your circumstances, for example, age, any benefits received or whether you have any dependent children.

The local authority is required to ensure that you have additional money to cover the cost of certain household expenses such as payment of a mortgage or endowment policy linked to a mortgage, rent, council tax, ground rent or service charges. If you receive benefit or other assistance to help you pay some, or all, of any of these expenses you must declare this. The council can only take into account the actual amount you pay after any benefit or other assistance is deducted.

The local authority is required to consider any additional expenses you may incur as a direct result of any need or disability as identified in the assessment of need or care plan conducted by the Care Manager. For example, this could be employing a cleaner or gardener as you are unable to do these tasks yourself. DRE cannot be considered for any services that would be provided in another way. For example, incontinence needs and chiropody should be provided for by NHS.

If care and support is provided at home, the individual has a choice as to how that is sourced, provided and paid for.

There are 2 options as detailed below:

  • Direct service: a situation where the care provider invoices the local authority who will then invoice the individual for their contribution towards the cost of the care as identified by the financial assessment
  • Direct payment: a situation where the individual chooses to source the care themselves and pay for this from the allocated funds. The individual is required to open a direct payment account which is used solely for the care budget. The local authority will pay the weekly assessed personal budget, less the assessed client contribution, to that account monthly. The individual must pay their assessed weekly contribution to that account also. The monies should then be used for the provision of their care. There is a requirement for the individual to present accounts showing the monies deposited and spent from the account when requested to do so.

If the individual, or their financial representative, is unable to manage the accounts themselves, they may choose a managed direct payment where a company called Enham are engaged to manage the budget for them. In this instance, the council and the individual pay their contribution to Enham as explained above and Enham make all payments on behalf of the individual in respect of their care as well as managing and providing audit information as required.

When completing the financial assessment, the assessor will look to ensure that you are in receipt of all income and benefits you may be entitled to and you may be advised to contact the Department for Work and Pensions to request a review of your benefit entitlement. Any additional income or benefit awarded as a result of this review could affect your weekly contribution toward the cost of any care. You have a duty to notify any change to the income or benefits immediately.

In some circumstances we may include an amount in respect of benefit or income you are entitled to pending the outcome of your application for this to be paid.

Should you fail to make an application for that income or benefit, the local authority may continue to include an amount as income you are entitled to and haven’t claimed, this is known as notional income.

The Care Act 2014 states that only the cared for person’s income should be taken into account. However, there are some circumstances for example, where a couple receive joint income or benefits such as pension credit or universal credit, where it is necessary for us to consider the income of the couple and completed a joint assessment where we apportion the income accordingly.

In addition, there may be circumstances where it may be beneficial for us to consider you as one of a couple. Where a full declaration of joint income, capital and assets is made we will apply the calculation that benefits you most.

If your spouse or partner does not want to declare their income, capital or assets, they are not required to do so

You have a duty to notify this department immediately should there be any changes that may affect our assessment.

This could include:

  • changes to your income, benefits, capital
  • changes in your household, for example, someone moving in or out of the property
  • changes to any property ownership, for example, anyone moving out of a property you own including your changing address and/or selling a property
  • a change of address
  • any other change that may affect our assessment

You do not need to notify this department should the level of care you receive change. The level of care you receive is not a factor that is taken into account in our assessment

Where an individual has been assessed as lacking the requisite capacity to make decisions in respect of Health & Welfare or Property & Finances, it will be necessary for an Attorney or Deputy to act on that individuals behalf.

If the individual has already nominated a Power of Attorney, that individual must ensure the Power of Attorney is registered with the Court of Protection before they have authority to act in this capacity.

If an Attorney or Deputy has not already been appointed or registered via the Court of Protection, it will be necessary for a Deputyship application to be made. We would advise that you make further enquiries and you may wish to seek independent advice regarding this matter. Further information can be found on the Government website.

If you are unsure regarding the capacity of an individual, you should seek further advice from their GP or Care Manager.

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