Reading time: 9 minute(s)
Stage 1 – The Needs Assessment
needs assessment is completed by a social care professional to assess what care and support is required before they can look at how the care will be funded. Their aim is to work out how much help you may need to live as independently as possible.
You should be provided with a written copy; this will allow you to challenge or appeal the decisions made in the assessment if necessary.
There is no charge for the care assessment, and everyone is entitled to one. A care plan should be agreed, and a copy provided to you. If you have a Health and Welfare Power of Attorney, your Attorneys should also be entitled to a copy of this document.
Stage 2 – The Financial Assessment
The financial assessment will look at your capital and income such as savings, property, investments, pensions and benefits (even if you don’t claim them). Your income should always be used to pay for your care (e.g. pensions), however everyone is entitled to a weekly personal allowance (outlined below) which can be used to purchase personal items (e.g. toiletries).
|Personal Allowance per week|
If after completion of the Financial Assessment the local authority decide that your assets amount to more than the upper threshold, you will pay for your own care. Between the upper and lower threshold, fees are partly paid by the local authority and partly by you. If your assets amount to below the lower threshold, the local authority will pay for your care in full (after applying your income towards the cost less any personal allowance, as any income must always be paid towards your care).
|Upper Limit £||Lower Limit £|
Will my home be included in the financial assessment?
Yes, at the present market value, less any mortgage or loan you have left on it and less 10% of the value where there would be expenses to sell. For the first 12 weeks of care, any property you own is disregarded.
Your home also should not be considered if it’s occupied by a partner, an estranged or divorced partner if they are a lone parent, a relative aged 60 or over, a child of yours aged under 18 or a relative who is disabled.
What if I give away some or all of my property/money?
Intentionally reducing assets so they won’t be included in the financial assessment for care fees is known as deprivation of assets. If your local authority conclude this is the case, they may still calculate your fees as if you still owned the assets. Alternatively, charges may be recovered from the person the asset was transferred to.
There are different methods of reducing property/money that could amount to deprivation of assets:
- Making a lump sum payment to someone else (gift)
- Transferring the title deeds of your property to someone else
- Substantial sudden expenditure (out of character spending) or gambling
- Using savings to buy possessions such as jewellery or a car (as these would generally be excluded from the means test)
- Putting assets into a trust
- Using assets to purchase investment bonds
When deciding if there has been a deprivation of assets, the local council will consider whether
- You knew that you may need care and support in the future and,
- What valid reasons you may have for giving away property/money
It is up to you to prove that there was no intentional deprivation of the asset or income.
What if I gave my property/money away a long time ago?
Timing is important for deprivation of assets. The local council will look at when you reduced your assets and see if, at the time, you could reasonably expect that you would need care.
How much will I have to pay?
After the means test the local authority should give a written record of their decision, detailing what you have to pay, what they will pay and how they calculated it.
How much you pay will depend on what care and support you need, the area you live in (costs can vary across the country) and your circumstances.
If you’d like to learn more or think you may have been incorrectly assessed and could be paying the wrong amount for care, please call 01603 936 526 or email [email protected].