Paying for residential care
Help from the council
It's important to understand that most people will have to pay something towards the cost of their care. If you have less than £23,250 in capital/savings, the council may contribute financially towards your care costs after we have carried out an assessment of your care needs and finances.
NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC)
NHS Continuing Healthcare may help you if you have mostly healthcare needs and need a nurse to support you rather than a carer.
NHS-funded nursing care (FNC)
NHS-funded nursing care may be an option if you are not eligible for NHS continuing healthcare but you have been assessed as having care needs.
Most people don't need a separate assessment for NHS-funded nursing care. If you're eligible, payment will be made directly to your nursing home.
If you own your home
If you're moving into residential care, the value of your home is included in the assessment of your capital unless a partner, relative who is over 60 or disabled or a child under 16 is still living there.
If you sell your property, the proceeds from the sale will be taken into account as part of your capital.
A Deferred Payment Agreement is an arrangement with us to use the value of your home to pay towards your residential care home fees.
Third party contributions
You can choose to go into a more expensive home if someone else like a relative, friend or charity is willing to pay the difference between the amount of your personal budget and your chosen home's fees. This is called a third party top-up arrangement and can be used if you:
- would prefer to live in a care home that costs more than the council is prepared to pay or for extras, such as living in a larger room or having a better view
- want to live in a more expensive area to be closer to family or friends and this wasn't identified in the needs assessment
- were self-funding but are now eligible for local authority funding and want to stay in the same home
The person making the additional top-up payment will have a separate legal agreement with the council and must:
- be able to keep up the payments or you could be asked to move into a cheaper home
- be prepared to meet the cost of future increases in the payment when fees are reviewed
You are not allowed to make this additional payment from your own money except in very limited circumstances if we have already assessed your contribution as the maximum you can pay.
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?’.
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.