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Charging for residential and nursing care

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Planning how to pay for care

Accessing quality, specialist financial advice is important to help you plan how you will pay for your care arrangements, both now and in the future.  Paying for care is a long-term commitment and you need to be sure that you can afford the arrangements you put in place.  This means good financial advice and support is key to making the best use of what money you have available.

West Berkshire Council is not able to give you financial advice about your care options - we encourage everyone who needs care to talk to an independent financial adviser for impartial and specialist support.  The Money Advice Service provide free and impartial advice – visit the How to fund your long term care – a beginner’s guide webpage.

CareChoices offer ‘self funding’ advice

Further information is available on West Berkshire Council’s ‘Paying for your Care’ webpage where you will find a copy of the Adult Social Care Charging Policy.

What is taken into account to calculate the charge?

You will usually have to pay a contribution towards the cost of your residential or nursing placement that West Berkshire Council agrees to fund. This includes the residential element at a residential college, if social care services are funding part of the placement.

The amount that the Council agrees to fund towards your placement is not necessarily the amount it will pay.

  • The Council agrees a maximum amount it will pay for your care at a residential or nursing care home.
  • Any free nursing care contribution (FNCC) applicable to your placement will be claimed by the care home.
  • You will be financially assessed for a contribution towards Council funding from the date that you enter the care home.
  • If the residential or nursing care home fee is more than the amount the Council agrees, a “third party top up” can be considered (see section about Third Party Top Ups).

This information is valid until end March 2019.

A copy of the Council’s charging policy is available on request or on the website: http://info.westberks.gov.uk/chargesforyourcare

The amount of your contribution is based upon your financial circumstances. The figures used to calculate your contribution are set by central government legislation (The Care Act 2014) and are subject to annual review.

As a general rule, if you have savings, investments or property in excess of £23,250 you will have to pay the full cost of your placement until your capital reduces to this amount. Capital and investments can include:

  • Cash
  • Savings bonds
  • Premium bonds
  • Stocks and shares

Funds held in a bank, building society or Post Office account

• The value of land or property, in some circumstances your home in the community may be disregarded.

Assets held in joint names will have an equal portion assumed to each person unless there is evidence to the contrary.

If you have less than £23,250 in savings and investments you will be financially assessed to calculate a contribution towards the cost of your placement.

• This calculation is based upon your income plus a tariff income from savings and investments (£1 income for every £250 or part £250 over £14,250).

• You will be expected to claim your full welfare benefit entitlement. You will receive advice about this as part of your financial assessment.

The calculation will always leave you with a personal expenses allowance - currently £24.90 per week.

Deprivation of capital

Transferring an asset out of your name does not necessarily mean that it will not be taken into account in a financial assessment.  During the financial assessment process the Council can look for evidence of deliberate or intentional deprivation of capital.  This could be for example, gifting money or transferring property or other assets. 

What is deprivation of capital?

The term deprivation covers a broad range of ways in which the owner of an asset might transfer it out of his or her possession. For example:

  • a lump sum payment such as a gift or to pay off another person’s debt
  • transferring the title deeds of a property to someone else
  • putting money into a trust that cannot be revoked
  • converting money into another form that has to be disregarded from the financial assessment, e.g. personal possessions, investment bonds with life assurance
  • reducing capital through substantial expenditure on items such as expensive holidays or extravagant living
  • selling an asset for less than its true value

Deliberate deprivation occurs when an individual transfers an asset out of his or her possession to place him or herself in a better position regarding the financial assessment and reduce the charge towards his/her care and support.

In making decisions about deprivation of capital the Council will want to establish the reason for the transfer or disposal including why it was done when it was. We may want to see receipts or documentary evidence. We will look to see if the transaction took place at a time when care needs were being considered and consider if “gifts” were made historically and regularly.

Unlike other rules such as Income Tax, Capital Gains or Inheritance Tax, there is no limit to how far back the Council can consider possible deprivation if you were receiving care at the time. Similarly, tax rules surrounding gifting do not apply.

If you are found to have deliberately deprived yourself of capital you can be treated as having “notional capital” to the value of the capital that you have disposed of in your financial assessment. If the notional capital added to your actual capital comes to more than £23,250, the Council may assess you as being able to meet the full cost of your care and support.

You will be notified in writing of the outcome of your financial assessment. If you disagree with the decision the letter will give you details of how to request a review.

If you receive Attendance Allowance, Personal Independence Payment (Daily Living Component) or Disability Living Allowance

If you are in receipt of Attendance Allowance , Personal Independence Payment (Daily Living Component) or Disability Living Allowance (Care Component) when you move into residential or nursing care, it will only be payable for a maximum of 4 weeks.

You should inform the Department for Works and Pensions Tel: 0800 7310122 that you have moved into residential or nursing care

What if you own your property?

If you own the property in which you have been living, the value will be disregarded during your trial period and for the first twelve weeks following the date that you become a permanent resident.

  • During this time there will be an assessed charge based upon your income, savings and investments. If the property is sold during the disregard period, the proceeds will be taken into account immediately.
  • After the disregard period, the value of your property may be taken into account.

However, in certain circumstances it will continue to be disregarded - for example, if your spouse or partner resides in the property.

If after the 12 week disregard period we have to take the value of your property into account, you will be assessed to pay the full cost of your placement from this date.

If you have chosen not to sell your property at this time, special arrangements can be made to defer immediate payment of part of the full cost using your property as security (see Deferred Payments Agreement Guidance Notes).

What if you don't want to disclose your financial details?

You do not have to disclose your financial affairs and the financial statement form provides the opportunity to opt out of the process.  However, you will then have to pay the full cost of the Council's funding for your placement.  Your financial details will be treated confidentially and it is to your advantage to disclose the information to prevent paying any more than necessary.

Who does the financial assessment?

The Council’s Financial Assessment and Charging Officers carry out the assessment.  Your care manager will arrange for an officer to contact you. The officer will be able to offer advice about how the benefits or pensions that you receive are affected by a move into a care home.

The financial assessment

This is how we carry out an assessment and calculate the charge:

We will ask for details of all of your income and savings. Income that is paid to a partner that is based on your joint financial circumstances (for example Pension Credit, Universal Credit, or Income based Jobseekers Allowance or Employment Support Allowance) must be declared.

  • Deductions will be made to cover the running costs of your home in the community until your placement in a care home becomes permanent.
  • The calculation will always leave you with a personal expense allowance – currently £24.90 per week.
  • You will be asked to provide evidence to support all the information used in your financial assessment.

Third Party Top Up

A Third Party Top Up is a separate agreement to the assessed financial contribution and is usually paid by someone else ie family using their income/capital. Your income and capital can not normally be used to pay the Third Party Top Up.

The Council has a separate information leaflet about Third Party Top Ups

When are charges reviewed?

All changes to the financial information used in an assessment must be notified to the Financial Assessment & Charging Team as soon as they occur as they may affect the outcome of the financial assessment.

This includes increases/decreases in income or capital, changes in expenses and in the way that capital/investments are held.

Accommodation charges are reviewed annually and automatically in April when benefits and fees are increased. You may also be asked to complete a new statement of financial circumstances at some time during the financial year. However, you can ask for a review at any time.

If you need more details about charging, please contact the Financial Assessment & Charging Team on Tel: 01635 551111.

Invoices

Invoices will be issued four-weekly in arrears.  The reverse of the invoice will include instructions on how to pay.

It is possible to pay by standing order and the Financial Assessment and Charging Officer will be able to arrange this for you.

Where you can get independent advice

If you need further guidance concerning local authority charging for residential and nursing care, independent advice can be obtained from:

  • Citizens Advice
  • charities for older people
  • solicitors and financial advisors

Details of such agencies and organisations are available in the Looking for help with finances? listing