The following steps summarise how we calculate your charges for social care support services, and how you will have to pay. However, you can refer to our Charging and Financial Assessment Framework for details specific to your situation.
If you've had a social care and support assessment which says you have eligible care and support needs, your social worker will then confirm if you need or want a financial assessment to work out what you will pay towards the cost of your care and support. They will then get our Client Finance Team to contact you (or your financial representative if you have one, such as a lasting power of attorney or deputy) to carry out the assessment. Depending on the amount of income, savings or assets you have, you may have to contribute towards some, or all, of the cost of your care and support.
A financial assessment is a calculation of the charge you will be required to pay towards the costs of your care.
If you have capital or savings above the Upper Capital Limit (£23,250)
You will be required to pay the full costs of your care and support.
If your capital or savings are below the Upper Capital Limit or we cannot identify the level of savings or capital you hold
We will carry out a financial assessment, work out how much you can statutorily keep for personal use and calculate your assessed weekly charge (how much your care and support costs). This is the most you would be asked to pay towards your care and support, and is subject to review.
If your care and support costs are less than your assessed maximum weekly charge
You will be required to pay the full costs of your care and support.
Your assessed weekly charge will change when your financial situation changes (for example, if your income or savings change), and we will review your financial assessment in line with any changes in your circumstances.
When you won't need a financial assessment
If the service you receive is an after-care service under Section 117 of the Mental Health Act 1983, you will not require a financial assessment. However, your care and support plan may show that only a percentage of your care and support is funded under Section 117, and the remainder is funded by social care. If so, the part which is not identified as Section 117 will require a financial assessment to be carried out, to assess what you will pay towards the social care element of your identified care and support needs. The financial assessment will be on the same basis as that for non-residential or residential care and support, dependent on where you receive your care and support.
If your care and support service is fully paid for by the NHS under Continuing Healthcare, you will not require a financial assessment.
Light touch financial assessments
In some situations, we don't need to carry out a full financial assessment of your ability to pay towards your care and support, and so we carry out a ‘light touch’ financial assessment instead (one of our Care Finance Officers will contact you to confirm this, but you can still ask for a full financial assessment). Examples of when a ‘light touch’ assessment might be carried out:
- Your capital assets are above the Upper Capital Limit (over £23,250 - see annex B in our Charging and Financial Assessment Framework)
- You have declined to provide information about your financial situation (you don't have to provide information about your finances if you don't want to)
One of our Care Finance Officers will contact you to confirm that you will be assessed to pay the full charge of your care and support if any of the above apply to you.
- A Care Finance Officer will contact you, usually by phone, to arrange a visit to carry out a financial assessment. If your Care Finance Officer can't contact you or arrange a visit with you, we will take the view that you are self-funding and you will be required to pay the full charge of your care and support.
When you have a financial assessment, we will do the following:
- Ask you about how much money you have coming in, which includes benefits
- Ask you how much money you have in savings, which could include the value of things that you own, such as your house, land or money you have in other places
- Check that you are receiving the benefits you are entitled to
As well as looking at how much money you have coming in, we then take off:
- Some of the costs of your housing (if you're receiving care at home)
- Any disability related expenditure on your care and support plan
- The amount the government thinks you need to live on
Anything that is left must be used to pay towards the cost of your care and support. For a full list of the information needed for your financial assessment, see the sample financial assessment form of annex C in our Charging and Financial Assessment Framework.
Your savings or capital
If you have savings, a building, land or money in another place, you must use some of this to pay towards the cost of your care and support. However, we don’t include the value of your house, if your partner or any family member aged over 60 still lives there.
Capital or savings What you're expected to pay Under £14,250 We won’t ask you to use any of this money to pay towards the cost of your care and support Between £14,251 and £23,249 We will ask you to use some of this money to pay towards the cost of your care and support Over £23,250 We will ask you to pay all of the cost of your care and support using this money
Care home and a property
If you are moving into a care home permanently, and you own a property, the capital in that property will be taken into account during your financial assessment. Your Care Finance Officer will ask you to provide details about the property and explain the possible funding arrangements, including the Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA) (see section 10 of our Charging and Financial Assessment Framework). However, you should always seek independent legal or financial advice before making a decision on how to use your capital assets.
Your Care Finance Officer will ask you to sign the Financial Assessment form to confirm that the information provided is correct. They will also explain to you if any further information is required, and agree with you when this will be provided.
Residential care means living in a care home. You will pay your assessed care charge towards the costs of your care and support from the date you enter the home (subject to your financial assessment and your savings or capital). If you have savings or capital above the Upper Capital Limit (£23,250), we will assess that you are able to pay the full cost of your care in the care home.
If you have savings or capital below the Upper Capital Limit, or we cannot identify the level of savings or capital you hold, we will carry out a financial assessment (the rules for this assessment will be those used for permanent residence). For more detailed information about charging for residential care, including short-term and temporary stays in care homes, see section 5 in our Charging and Financial Assessment Framework.
Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA)
A DPA is an agreement between you and us (the council), where the cost of your care and support (after you have paid your assessed weekly charge) is put off to a later date. It will be paid in the meantime by us, provided you can offer us a form of security (a legal charge against your property). The money you owe to us for your care and support charges is then repaid to us when your home is sold, or from your estate, or from a third party at the end of the agreement.
If your financial assessment shows you can afford to pay a charge from your income and other capital assets towards your care and support charges, you will need to pay your assessed charge throughout the term of the DPA. This will lower the amount of the deferred charges to be repaid to us at the end of the DPA. If you accept the offer of a DPA with us, we will charge administration fees towards the costs of setting up and monitoring the DPA. You will also have to pay interest on the charges that you defer from the start of the DPA (see section 10 in our Charging and Financial Assessment Framework for further details).
Interim Funding Policy
We can only agree to a DPA if a person has capacity to enter into one, or if they lack capacity, if someone has the legal authority to enter into a DPA on their behalf.
Where a person is taking steps to become legally appointed to act on behalf of a person who lacks capacity, (for example, applying to the Court of Protection to become a deputy), this process can take several months. During this time, while a person lacking capacity needs a placement in a care home, but the person applying to act for them doesn’t have legal authority to enter into long-term funding arrangements, the person applying to become deputy can apply to us for an Interim Funding arrangement (see section 11 in our Charging and Financial Assessment Framework for further details).
A third-party top-up is when a third party, such as a family member, friend, employer, organisation or charity is willing and able to pay the difference between the personal budget and the actual cost of the accommodation (or the associated accommodation costs, for supported accommodation). A personal budget is the amount of money it will cost to meet your care and support needs (see section 12 in our Charging and Financial Assessment Framework for further details).
If your preferred accommodation meets all other requirements, we will support you to move to the accommodation which costs more than your personal budget says we would expect to pay for your care and support needs, provided that; you can arrange for a third party to pay the additional amount, or you can pay the additional amount from your own resources (‘First-Party Top-Up’).
To avoid the risk of you needing to move to different accommodation, we will usually discourage a third-party top-up, unless the nominated third party can demonstrate that they are willing and able to pay the additional costs on an on-going basis (or up to the duration of the service user’s likely time living in the accommodation, if it is a short-term arrangement).
Non-residential care is support which is provided to you in your own home, to help you live as independently as possible. Depending on your financial circumstances, you may be asked to pay a charge towards your non-residential care and support costs.
After you've had a financial assessment, a personal budget is the amount of money we decide you require to meet your care and support needs. Your Social Worker will talk with you about the options for arranging support using your personal budget, including receiving this as a direct payment, or agreeing for us to arrange the support for you.
Paying for non-residential care
If your savings and capital assets are above the Upper Capital Limit (£23,250), you will need to pay the full cost of your care and support. We can help you arrange your care and support, or we can make the arrangements for you. If you ask us to arrange the care and support on your behalf, you will need to pay the full cost of your care and support.
If your total savings and capital assets are less than the Upper Capital Limit, we will carry out a financial assessment to work out your ‘calculated weekly care charge’.
Your assessed weekly care charge is the amount you are required to pay towards the costs of your non-residential care and support. You will not be asked to pay more than your assessed weekly care charge.
If your assessed weekly care charge is nil
You will receive your non-residential care and support service free of charge.
If your assessed weekly care charge is more than the cost of your agreed care and support
You will pay the full cost of your care and support plus an arrangement fee.
If your assessed weekly charge is less than the cost of your care and support
You will pay only your assessed weekly charge towards your care and support.
How to pay your charges for care and support
If you are assessed as 'self-funding' (meaning that you are paying the full costs of your care and support), you will pay your assessed weekly charge directly to the care provider. Your care provider will be either the care home you live in or, in other settings, the agency providing your care and support.
If you pay an assessed weekly care charge, you will pay this directly to the care provider, or if we pay your assessed weekly charge, you will be sent an invoice 4 to 8 weeks in arrears, and payment is due immediately. If you make payment by direct debit, payment will be made by the 5th of the month following the date of the invoice.
You can choose to have a direct payment, instead of letting us arrange your care and support. You can decide how your needs are met and buy the support that suits you best, but it's important to spend your direct payments carefully, making sure that you meet all the needs agreed in your care and support plan (see the Direct Payment policy for more information).
Your Care Finance Officer will send you a letter with the outcome of your financial assessment, confirming what you will need to pay towards your care and support costs (if any). If you disagree with the outcome of your financial assessment, you can appeal against the decision (see the next step).
Your care and support charges will be reviewed each year.
If you disagree with the outcome of your financial assessment, or with any decision made as part of your assessment, you can appeal against this as follows:
- Contact your Care Finance Officer in the first instance to try and resolve any issues as soon as possible. They will go through the information with you and check that the assessment, or decision, has considered all the relevant information, in line with the Charging and Financial Assessment rules
- Lodge an appeal with the Team Leader for Care Finance, if you are still dissatisfied with the outcome (ask your Care Finance Officer about this)
- Make a formal complaint to our complaints team, as detailed on our complaints web page, if the issue cannot be resolved
- Refer your complaint to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, if you are not satisfied with the decision made by our complaints team