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Coronavirus (COVID-19): updates and advice

Paying for care at home

Information about paying for care services to keep you safe and independent at home.

Some people think that moving into a care home is the only solution. But with the right help and support, many people can live safely and independently in their own home. This usually costs far less than a care home and for most people is a better option.

Take a look at finding help to see what types of help and support are available to you.

Paying for care

It's important to understand that most people will have to pay something towards the cost of their care. You may be eligible to receive financial support from the council if you have savings or investments (available capital) of less than £23,250.

Cost of care calculator

The independent consumer body Which? has produced a simple tool to help you find out the cost of home care and residential or nursing care locally. In a few easy steps, the tool will also give you an idea whether you are likely to get financial support from Dorset Council towards the bills.

Adult social care debt

The Care Act 2014 gives the council the power to recover debts that have built up from meeting a person's adult social care needs.

The law allows the council to make a claim to the county court for a judgment to recover a debt. However, the council will consider all other reasonable avenues before doing that.

The council will establish whether a person has the mental capacity to make financial decisions. This is important because a person who lacks capacity to make financial decisions is in a different legal position from someone who has capacity, and the way to proceed to recover debt is different.

The council also has powers to recover charges from a third party if a person has transferred assets to a third party to avoid paying charges for their own care.

Deprivation of assets

What does ‘deprivation of assets’ mean?

When a person disposes of capital (for example, property or savings) or income with the intention of reducing their care charges, it’s called ‘deprivation of assets’. The term doesn’t refer to small gifts, it refers to more significant disposals that are made by a person who could have foreseen needing care. It might not be obvious at the time, but when a person deprives themselves of assets they often limit their choices in the future. 

The council charges for adult social care and support, except where we are required to provide it free of charge. We carry out an individual financial assessment (means-test) to calculate the charge and to make sure each person isn’t charged more than they can afford to pay. Some people can’t afford to pay any charge. 

The financial assessment looks at all a person’s assets (capital and income) in accordance with government regulations.

 It’s important that people pay the charges for their care costs that they are responsible for.  When the council carries out the financial assessment we sometimes find evidence that suggests the person has deliberately deprived themselves of assets to reduce the amount they will have to pay towards their care. In these circumstances, we act in accordance with the government’s care and support statutory guidance.

What happens where deprivation of assets has occurred?

If the council decides that a person has deliberately deprived themselves of assets to avoid or reduce their charge for care and support, we may treat that person as still having the assets for the purposes of the financial assessment and charge them accordingly.

Where the person has transferred the asset to a third party to avoid the charge, the third party may be liable to pay the council. 

If the council finds that the person was put under pressure by family, friends or others to dispose of their assets we have a duty to investigate the matter and will make a ‘safeguarding report’.

Information about how the council will deal with a safeguarding concern.

Appeals against decisions made by the council

If a person disagrees with the council’s decision about ‘deprivation of assets’, they can appeal. The appeal must be in writing. We will normally respond to the appeal within 30 days. Charges for care and support will not be suspended during the appeal process and the person must continue to make all payments that are due.

If the person is unhappy with the outcome of the appeal they can take the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman.

Information about the rules for gifting assets, produced by ‘Which?’.

Eligibility for council help

If you would like help from the council we will need to find out if your care needs meet our eligibility criteria.

If you are not eligible for financial help, we may still be able to advise you on the type of support you might need and the organisations that can provide it.

To find out if we can help you and if we will pay something towards the cost of your care, we will carry out what we call a supported assessment and a financial assessment.

Contact us for an assessment

Just (retirement solutions) have made a video that explains what happens when you contact your council for a care needs assessment
Just (retirement solutions) have made a video that explains what happens when you contact your council for a care needs assessment

Support for healthcare needs

If you have mostly healthcare needs and need a nurse to support you rather than a carer, you may be eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare.

Future care planning

Our top ten things to think about will help you to plan your future care, even if you don't need support at the moment.

We also have advice on financial care planning.

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