Paying for Residential Care – Overview of the Financial Assessment
If you are looking at residential care options for yourself or a loved one, then you may be wondering what financial support or contributions you are entitled to – if any. The financial assessment is the way in which this is worked out.
The Purpose of the Financial Assessment
The financial assessment is designed to help to independently assess who will be responsible for necessary care and support. This could be you, if you are looking at residential care homes for yourself, or your local authority – or a combination of the two.
What You Need to Do
You or your family member, if you are considering residential care homes for someone else, will probably be asked to fill out some financial information forms. A representative from the local authority might visit to help with this.
Asking about financial details can seem like an intrusion of privacy, but if you or your family refuses to give the required information, the care home fees may be automatically charged to you or them.
Types of Income Considered
Income relates to all money that you or your loved one receives regularly and can include pensions and benefits. The assessment will also take into account capital income, which includes assets such as investments and savings. If you are looking into residential care homes, the value of property may also be taken into account.
Assets and income will then be fully disregarded from the assessment, partially disregarded or fully included. The forms may ask you about a partner’s finances, although once it has been decided that it does not belong to the person being assessed, it should be disregarded.
If joint bank accounts are involved, or other assets, the assessment will only consider the share of the named person. If this applies in your case, it will be assumed that your share accounts for 50 per cent unless there is evidence that this is not the case.
The Results of the Assessment
The local authority has to give you a written statement detailing how the allocated contributions have been calculated, showing clearly what exactly has been considered.
Light-Touch Financial Assessments
There are some circumstances in which a local authority can opt to treat you or your relative as if a financial assessment has been carried out even though it hasn’t. This is known as a light-touch financial assessment.
If this happens, the local authority must inform you that such an assessment has happened and clearly state that you can still request a full assessment if there is any dispute about care home fees, for example.
Light-touch financial assessments could be carried out if you have significant financial resources but want your local authority to organise your care. This will mean that you will be responsible for paying your own fees, but your local authority has to be satisfied that you can afford the charges, both now and in the future.
Another reason a light-touch assessment may be chosen is if you receive benefits which are means-tested and demonstrate that you would be unable to contribute towards care or support costs.