Information about paying for adult social care, personal budgets, the financial assessment, benefits you may be entitled to, how to get independent financial advice and acting as a power of attorney.
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Money and legal matters
How much will I pay for care and support?
Social care services (unlike health care) are not free for everyone. Most people will have to contribute something towards the cost of their care with some people having to pay the full cost.
Charges for services are different depending on whether they are:
- non-residential (in your own home and community) or
- residential (in a care or nursing home).
The council will carry out an assessment of need. If you meet the national eligibility criteria, we will agree what kind of care and support you need and ask you to complete a financial assessment. This is to assess how much you may have to pay towards the cost of these services.
The financial assessment will look at your income, spending (including disability related expenditure), savings and benefits you receive.
The details you provide about your income, capital and savings are used in your financial assessment to calculate your assessed contribution which is the amount you must pay each week towards the cost of your support. Your assessed contribution depends on your personal circumstances and may be anything from nil up to the full cost of the service.
If you have savings over £23,250, you will not be eligible for financial support from the council and will need to pay the full cost yourself.
When you complete your Customer Financial Statement, the council will:
- offer you a benefit check to ensure you are receiving the correct benefits
- work out your assessed contribution based on the information you supply
- consider any additional costs you may have due to your disability, known as Disability Related Expenditure disregards.
Most types of income will be taken into account and included in the financial assessment calculation. However, there are some types of income that will be ignored in full or part. These are:
- the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance/Personal Independence Payment
- any (employed and self employed) earnings
- war pension
- any benefits paid to your children
- any benefits paid solely to your partner
- Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction
The assessment will ignore the first £14,250 of your savings. If you have savings over £14,250 but below £23,250, it will assume a weekly tariff income of £1 for every £250 over the limit.
From your income, capital and savings, will be deducted the appropriate amount of Income Support plus a further 25 per cent. This amount varies between individuals depending on your age, marital status and level of disability.
Next deducted are any Disability Related Expenditure disregards to which you are entitled.
Your weekly contribution will then be based on the remaining income.
A breakdown of this calculation will be sent to you when you are notified of your contribution.
Financial framework for adults receiving community care services
Our Financial framework for adults receiving community care services [PDF, 665Kb] sets out our policy for people in settings other than care homes.
Yes, charges change every year and may also change dependent on any change in services you receive.
The easiest way to find out if you are entitled to any benefits is to use an online calculator.
Turn2us and Entitledto both have calculators with information on benefits, tax credits, contribution-based benefits, Council Tax Reduction, Carer’s Allowance, Universal Credit and how your benefits will be affected if you start work.
Support services available
Crosby Community Association are able to help you go through a benefit check to make sure you are receiving everything you are entitled to.
The Money Advice Service has information about a number of financial matters, including benefits.
The government run a number of disability benefits helplines which can help with existing claims for Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
A personal budget is given to people who have eligible care needs and wish to purchase their support themselves. This could be through a home care provider, a company who provides personal assistants or by directly employing someone yourself.
If you are eligible for a personal budget you can receive it and manage it in three ways:
- Direct payment (previously known as a cash personal budget)
- Delegated direct payment
- Council managed personal budget
With a Direct Payment, you receive and manage the money for your support needs yourself. This will usually be paid to you on a council pre-paid card, which you can use to buy the support services you want (subject to some rules). Managing your Personal Budget for yourself is the most personalised option as it allows you the greatest choice and control over the support you buy.
If you have your Direct Payment on a pre-paid card, you will also pay your own contribution onto the card.
If the Personal Budget is to be managed by a delegated person or organisation they can hold the pre-paid card for you.
You will need to keep records of what you spend on your support. For example, receipts, invoices, and copies of documents relating to any staff you employ. We will ask to see these as evidence that the money is being appropriately spent on your needs.
As well as a review of your support needs we will audit your account. If there is any money that is unspent, or has been spent on things that are not in your support plan, we will recover that amount from the card.
There are rules about what you cannot spend your Personal Budget money on. This includes long term residential care, nursing care or medicines or anything normally provided by the NHS, utility bills, accommodation, alcohol, tobacco or general food costs, gambling or paying of debts or anything illegal.
Delegated Direct Payment
You can choose to let another person or organisation run your Personal Budget (you delegate the responsibility). You can then work out with their support the best way of using your money to meet your needs.
Council managed Personal Budget
If none of the options above are appropriate, the council will arrange and manage your support for you. This option allows you less choice and control over your support.
If you have been assessed as needing rehabilitation and reablement support this is partly funded by the NHS and includes a therapy plan, you are not required to pay a contribution towards this short-term service for up to six weeks. This includes both rehabilitation support at the Home First Short Stay Centre, Sir John Mason House, and Home First Community reablement services
If you require support beyond six weeks we will talk with you about charges. These will be applied for services in the community or in a care home.
Short term care home stays
For short-term care home stays arranged by us, we work with you to assessment your financial circumstances. We will use this information to decide how much you should pay towards the fees of any short term care home stays. If you have more than £23,250 in savings it will be the full cost. If you own your own home we do not include it in the short stay financial assessment.
If you already have community services funded by us and you are assessed to make a contribution, we ask that you to continue paying that for up to 28 days or until your community Personal Budget is ended (whichever is the earlier)
Living in a care home long-term
If you are able to pay the full cost yourself, you can choose a care home within your budget and make your own arrangements. More information can be found on the Finding and funding your own care page.
If you have capital and savings worth less than £23,250 you can apply to the council for support with funding a care home placement. We will assess your care needs and consider whether we can support you at home or if you meet our eligibility criteria for care home funding.
If you have capital and savings worth more than £23,250, including the value of any assets you may own (for example, your house) we cannot pay your care home costs.
If you have been assessed as having to pay the full cost of your residential care, but cannot afford to pay the full weekly charge because most of your capital is tied up in your home, the council can offer you a loan to fund your care costs (called a Deferred Payment Agreement).
If you qualify for council funding, we will work out how much you will have to pay towards the costs. This is based on your income and capital.
If you live in a care home there will be few other costs, so we will typically expect most of your income to be used for your contribution towards the care home fees, and we will ask you to pay this directly to the care home. We will then pay the remainder of the fee to the care home.
The personal expenses allowance is £24.90 per week. This means that after the financial assessment to work out your contribution, you should be left with at least this amount to spend on personal items.
Third party top-up
If you choose a care home which charges a higher fee than the council would normally agree to pay, then another person or organisation, other than yourself, will have to meet the difference. This is known as a ‘third party top-up’.
However, please make sure if someone is agreeing to do this on your behalf, that the funds are available to meet this top-up for the foreseeable future. Otherwise your stay at that care home may be in danger if these additional payments are not maintained.
Nursing care costs
If you need nursing care, whether you are self-funding or council funded, the NHS will pay the additional cost. Your nursing care home can help you apply to the local NHS for this funding.
Owning a property
If you move into a care home and your partner or carer continues to live in a property that you fully or partly own, we will disregard the property as a capital asset in the financial assessment.
If someone else continues to live in the property, we will look at the circumstances involved, before making a decision on whether to disregard the property or not.
If you live in the property on your own, it will be considered as a capital asset in your financial assessment. However, the 12 week property disregard (see below) means it won’t be considered for the first 12 weeks of your permanent stay in a care home.
12 week property disregard
If you own your home, it is disregarded in the financial assessment for the first 12 weeks of your permanent stay. This is to give you and your family/carers time to sort out your affairs and arrange for the property to be sold or to apply to the council’s Deferred Payment Scheme. After 12 weeks in permanent care, its value is included in your financial assessment. This typically means you will not be eligible for council funding and will be required to arrange to pay the full cost of your care privately.
For people living permanently in a care home whose property is taken into account the Deferred Payment Scheme can allow them to ‘defer’ paying part of their costs until the value is realised.
In effect, the council pays the remainder of your care home fees until the capital is available. This ‘loan’ is secured against your property.
If you have been assessed as needing social care services, you are entitled to have a financial assessment to determine how much of the cost you can meet yourself. We will ask you to fill out a Customer Financial Assessment . If you do not complete this form and provide the evidence requested, you will be charged the full cost of your service.
As part of the financial assessment, we will look at your income, including any pensions and state benefits that you receive, and any assets that you own.
Most people will have to pay a contribution to the cost of the care they receive. This contribution is calculated depending on your individual circumstances. Some people will be able to get help with the cost of their care from the council and some people will choose to fund their own care.
We strongly recommend seeking independent financial advice to make balanced and reasoned decisions.
It is important for you to get the right financial help and support so that you can make the right decisions based on your care needs. A financial advisor will be able to look at your circumstances and make sure that you are claiming all the benefits and allowances you may be entitled to.
Many independent financial advisers do charge either a fee or commission. Many also offer an initial free consultation. The Money Advice Service website has tips on planning ahead for a time when you can’t manage your own finances.
You can also get independent advice from:
- The Society of Later Life Advisers: the society can help you find advice on how to make financial plans for care in your old age.
- Age UK: has advice for older people and those planning for their later years.
- Carers UK: a resource of advice for carers who need to help someone else.
- Which? Later life care has a guide to financing care.
- Citizens Advice Bureau: provide free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities.
- The Money Advice Service website: set up by the government to provide free and impartial money advice information on a broad range of matters and has specific advice around paying for care. You can call the Money Advice Service on 0300 500 5000.
Power of Attorney (POA) allows you to choose someone else to deal with third parties on your behalf, such as banks or the local council. Some types of POA allow you to choose someone to make decisions on your behalf, should you be unable to do this yourself in the future.
A POA can be put in place at any time, providing you are still capable of making decisions and have ‘mental capacity’ at the time the document is signed.
You can give POA to more than one person, and it is important that you choose somebody you can trust to act in your best interests.
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
There are two types of LPA:
- Property and financial affairs LPA – Covers managing day-to-day finances, debts, benefits or buying or selling property. This must be put in place while you have mental capacity and it can be used before and after you have lost capacity.
- Health and wellbeing LPA – Covers NHS treatment, care and housing. This needs to be put in place while you have mental capacity and it can be used before and after you have lost capacity.
It is common to have either one or both types of LPA in place. When you set things up, you can stipulate the ‘powers’ you want to give. For example, you might want your attorney to deal with your bills, but not have the power to sell your property. Or you may only want your attorney to deal with your affairs once you start to lose capacity. Once the LPA is drawn up and signed it will need to be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian before it is effective.
Visit the Government website for more information about lasting power of attorney.