Pay for care

Warning National rules on how much you pay and how we work this out will change in October 2023. Find out about changes to adult social care charging

 

Most people have to pay something for care and support. Find out what the national rules are on how much you pay.

Get an idea if you can get any financial help

You will only get financial help with your care and support if:

  • You have needs that mean you qualify for care
  • Your money coming in will not cover the costs
  • You have less than £23,250 put aside

How to ask us for financial help with your care

Once you have less than £23,250, not including your home, ask us for help.

National rules mean we can only help to pay for your care from the date you ask us for this.

To do this, contact our team on 01305 221 016 or your social work professional.

We can only give you financial help if we have looked at your needs and found you qualify for care. Get your care needs looked at.

What you need to do to get financial help with care

To get financial help with care, you have to show us evidence of:

  • your money
  • your costs

We need this to work out what you are able to pay. If you do not want to show us this, you will have to pay the full cost of your care.

Show us proof of your money and your costs

You will need to show us evidence of both your money and your costs.

We look at both money you’ve got in accounts and money coming in each week.

Evidence of your money

We will need to see evidence showing all of:

  • your cash
  • your bank accounts
  • stocks and shares and bonds
  • your pensions
  • your benefits
  • properties you own
  • other money coming in

Evidence of your costs

If you will live at home, we need to know how much you spend on:

  • mortgage or rent
  • council tax
  • energy bills
  • water bills
  • any disability costs

Tell us if you have costs because of your disability

If you will live at home, we will consider if you need money for disability costs. Tell us if you think you have these costs.

Disability costs can include: 

  • a personal alarm
  • disability equipment
  • any extra heating costs
  • any extra clothing costs
  • domestic help with things you cannot do yourself
  • any specialist care not provided by Dorset Council

These are only examples. What you need to pay for to live independently is personal to you.

We will ask to see evidence of your expenses. You can give us receipts or bills showing what you pay.

Find out more about disability-related expenditure (Gov.uk).

Find out when money in accounts and assets must pay for care

We also look at all the money and assets you’ve got. Money you put aside could be cash, savings, bonds or stocks and shares, for example.

We only look at the value of a house you, your partner or certain other relatives will not live in. Find out how you can use the money in your home to pay towards your care.

 Your money in accounts and assets  What you must pay from this*


£23,250 or more


The full cost of your care


£14,250 to £23,250

Between £1 and £36 a week**

Less than £14,250

You only pay some of your money coming in regularly, like a pension.

*These amounts will change in October 2023.
**You pay £1 towards your care for every £250 you have above the cut-off of £14,250. For example, if you have £2,500 more than the cut-off, you pay £10 a week. 

We look at assets even if you no longer own them

If you want financial help with care, we will ask you about property, assets or money in accounts you used to own.

You may need to pay for care using assets you no longer own. This happens if we find you gave assets away when you knew you needed care.

This would be a case of ‘deprivation of assets’ under the rules we work to.

To be safe, we would advise you to:

Find out when money coming in regularly must pay for care

You keep some of the money you have coming in regularly to live on. Any money that is left must go towards your care.

Check the money you are allowed for living costs

If you will live at home, we make sure you have money left for your living costs. This is called the ‘minimum income guarantee’ and is between £74.60 and £194.70.

We work out the amount for you based on your age and situation.

If you will live in a care home, you are allowed a smaller amount for expenses. This is called the personal expense allowance and is between £25.65 and £31.55.

How we let you know what you will pay

We will let you know in writing what you need to pay towards your care.

This letter will show what you need to pay each week from:

  • your money in accounts and assets
  • your money coming in

We will show how we worked this out. We will tell you how much money you are allowed for living and disability costs. 

If you think there is a mistake, you can appeal a decision on what you need to pay towards your care.

Otherwise, find out the different ways you can pay towards your care. 

How you get money for your care

Ask us about getting the money for your care as direct payments. This could give you more choice over who you get care and support from.

Find out more about direct payments.

Ways to pay for your care and support

If you pay for your care, your money might be tied up in your home.

This counts towards the amount you pay for care if your spouse or some other relatives do not live there. But you have options to avoid selling your home.

You must decide if these options are right for you and always consider getting independent advice first.

Pay for care with a council loan secured against your home

If you have to pay care home fees yourself, you could get a loan instead of selling your home.

A deferred payment agreement is a loan you pay interest on that uses a home you live in as security. It means you could rent out your home and are likely to qualify to get some benefits.

The loan has to be repaid once you sell the home, or you die.

How much you can borrow with a deferred payment agreement

The amount you can borrow depends on how much money is in your home. We will find out how much it is worth.

You can borrow the amount that we find that your home is worth, minus:

  • 10% to cover the cost of selling it at the end of the loan
  • any charges on it, like mortgages or equity release schemes
  • £14,250, the amount of money in assets you can keep

The amount left should cover your care costs for 2 years and the loan interest, 0.15% above the gilt rate.

This is the total amount we can lend towards your care. We do this by paying some of your care home bill each week. You pay the rest with:

  • money you’ve coming in, minus an agreed allowance up to £144 for your home’s upkeep and expenses
  • any other money you have in accounts or assets. Find out what you pay towards care

How a deferred payment agreement loan works, step-by-step

Understand how a deferred payment loan works.

  1. Consider getting independent legal and financial advice.
  2. We check if you have the legal right to enter into the agreement.
  3. We check money in the home covers 2 years’ care costs and interest.
  4. You sign a legal agreement and pay a £804 fee to set up the loan.
  5. We place a legal charge on your home, like a mortgage.
  6. We pay something towards your care home bill every week.
  7. You ask us if anybody can live in the home and get it looked after.
  8. We tell you twice a year how much we’ve lent, including the monthly fee.
  9. We talk to you about what to do when 70% of the loan has been lent.
  10. You or your estate repay the loan if you sell the home or you die.

Ask us to find out more about a deferred payment agreement.

Tell us you are interested in a deferred payment agreement loan

Tell us if you are interested in a deferred payment agreement. You can speak to your adult social care worker or contact our Adult Access Team on 01305 221 016.

Get advice on other ways to pay for care using your home

If you have to pay for a care home and money is tied up in your home, you have other options.

You should always consider getting independent financial advice before making any big decisions.

You can:

Pay for more expensive care with somebody’s help

If you get financial help with your care from us, people you know can pay extra. These ‘top-ups’ could let you choose a more expensive care company.

How to make top-up payments for care

Other people can make ‘top-ups’ for your care if:

  • they show us the money that they have coming in and in accounts (a financial assessment)
  • the money does not come from your accounts as the person getting care
  • they agree to pay the extra cost for at least 2 years
  • they set up a direct debit to pay the top-ups every 4 weeks

If they ever stopped paying top-ups, we would look at your care. This might mean you have to move out of a care home or have a new carer.

If you are interested in top-ups, speak to your adult social care worker.

Appeal a decision about what you must pay for care

We work out what you can afford to pay towards your care based on the information you give us.

If you are unhappy with this assessment of what you can pay, you can appeal.

Or if you are unhappy with the way we handled your assessment, make a complaint.

Before you appeal

  1. Make sure you have had a final decision. We can only consider an appeal if you have had a final decision from us. If you are unsure if you have a final decision or not, contact us on 01305 228762 before you appeal.
     
  2. Speak with your Financial Assessment Officer. If you have a decision and are unhappy, first talk to your financial assessment officer. They will go over the decision with you and amend anything that is incorrect. If you are still unhappy, you can appeal.
     
  3. Check you are within 28 days of getting your final decision. We can only accept appeals up to 28 days after the date you got your final decision.
     
  4. Read our frequently asked questions. You will see examples of decisions on appeals that have already been made. The outcome of your appeal will likely be the same as cases like yours.

Make an appeal

If you are unhappy with a decision we’ve made, you can formally appeal.

You can appeal:

  • the final outcome of our assessment of what you can afford to pay towards your care
  • a decision about your property, capital assets, inclusion of income, gifts or disability related expenditure

Appeal a decision about what you must pay for your care by filling in the online form. Select ‘first appeal’ at the start.

What happens after you appeal

We will let you know we have got your appeal. You can expect us to respond within 20 working days from the date we told you we have got it.

A senior member of our team who was not involved in the assessment will investigate your appeal. They will be the person to write to you to let you know we have got your appeal.

As part of our investigation, we may need to contact you or somebody outside our team for more information, for example your social worker or your GP.

Once our investigation is complete, we will write to you either by email or post. We will let you know the outcome of our investigation, conclusion and the outcome of your appeal.

If you are unhappy with the outcome of your appeal

You can ask for a review of the appeal decision.

Ask for a review of the appeal decision by filling in our online form. Select ‘second appeal’ at the start.

What happens after you ask for a review of your appeal

We will let you know we have got your second appeal. You can expect to get a response within 20 working days from the date we let you know we got your appeal.

A senior member of our team who was not involved in the assessment will investigate your appeal. They will be the person to write to you to let you know we have got your appeal.

As part of our investigation, we may need to contact you or somebody outside our team for more information, for example your social worker or your GP.

Once our investigation is complete, we will write to you either by email or post. We will let you know the outcome of our investigation, conclusion and the outcome of your Step 2 Formal Appeal Review.

If you are unhappy with the outcome of the review

You can contact the Local Government Ombudsman to ask for an independent review of the decision.

Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman
PO Box 4771
Coventry
CV4 0EH

Advice line: 0300 061 0614 or 0845 602 1983

Ask for an independent review of a decision about what you pay for your care online.

Get answers to questions you may have

Why do I have to pay towards my care costs?

Social care (care not provided by the NHS) is not free. You can apply to your local authority for assistance with funding towards the cost of your care if you cannot meet the full cost yourself. The local authority will work out what you are able to pay with a financial assessment.

What is the guidance used to complete my Financial Assessment?

Financial assessments are completed in line with the Care Act Guidance 2014.

What are my responsibilities if I am representing somebody else?

You can find out more about what you have to do if you:

What are the rules on making gifts?

Check the rules about making gifts.

Who decides the amount I need to live on (the minimum income guarantee)?

Dorset Council adopts the Minimum Income Guarantee set by the Government to cover your living costs. From April 2022, the Minimum Income Guarantee will go up in line with inflation each year. Find out more about the Minimum Income Guarantee (Gov.uk).

What is disability-related expenditure?

Disability-related expenditure is an amount you are allowed to keep to cover expenses you have because of your disability.

These expenses should be detailed in your Care and Support plan. They will be considered if you have evidence, like receipts. Find out more about disability-related expenditure.

If I now have more income or capital, do I have to pay any extra for my care from the date of the changes?

Yes. If you do not tell us about a change in your circumstances, we will backdate any resulting changes to the date of the change.

This includes changes to your benefits, even if the only change was the name of the benefit and the amount remains unchanged. This is because different benefits may be treated differently in your financial assessment.

Why is Disability Living Allowance counted differently to Personal Independence Payment when I get the same amount?

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) are different benefits and are treated differently in your assessment. 

DLA pays an amount towards night care services and an amount for day care services. The amount you get for night care was not counted in your assessment.

But PIP does not include an amount paid for day and an amount paid for night care. So we count the total paid in your assessment.

Can you give me financial or legal advice?

No, we are unable to give you advice. You can get financial or legal advice or ask:

Who do I contact if I am unhappy with the care and support I’m getting?

If you are unhappy with your care and support, you should contact your Local Office.

Who do I contact if I have a query about an invoice?

If you have a query about an invoice or a payment plan, please contact the Credit Control team on 0300 330 1373.

 

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