12-week property disregard
The ’12-week property disregard’ means that the value of a person’s property is not taken into account in the financial assessment, for the first 12 weeks from when a person enters a care home.
The purpose of the 12-week property disregard for those entering a care home is to prevent people from being forced to sell their home at a time of crisis. At present this means people benefit when they first enter a care home, or when they have run down their other non-housing assets to the level of the upper capital limit set out in regulations.
This disregard provides much needed protection and we intend to retain it. However, we are aware that it does not always work as well as it might and that given the intention that people will be able to better plan and prepare for the risk of declining assets, we would like to take the opportunity to better target this support at those who most need it.
We are therefore proposing that the 12-week property disregard should apply in the following circumstances:
- When someone first enters a care home. During this period they would be assessed on the basis of their non-housing assets with an upper capital limit of £23,250 in 2015/16 (rising to £27,000 from 2016/17).
- When a person’s home unexpectedly loses an alternative disregard, for example due to the death or the moving into care of a qualifying relative. This is an extension to the current policy.
- Provide local authorities the flexibility to apply the disregard in other circumstances where there is a sudden or unexpected change in a person’s financial circumstances.
To provide for the proposed extension above, we will remove the disregard for those who are already in residential care and have run down their assets. They will be able to plan and prepare for this well in advance, whereas the 12-week disregard is designed to protect people from unexpected changes in circumstance. Based on the data available, we believe this adjustment would be cost neutral. Further detail is set out in the impact assessment.