Charging for care and support
Where a local authority arranges care and support to meet a person’s needs, it may choose to charge the person for this, except in a small number of cases where regulations specify that it must be free.
The revised framework does not represent a major change to the current system and does not extend the ability to charge from the current position. However, this is a complex part of the system and one that is not often well understood, so we are taking the opportunity to clarify the framework that will be in place for 2015/16 in new guidance.
Where a local authority chooses to charge a person, it must undertake a financial assessment of that person to assess what they can afford to contribute to the cost of meeting their care needs. If this ‘means test’ shows that a person cannot afford the full costs of meeting their eligible needs, they will only be charged the amount they can afford, and the local authority will be responsible for the remainder.
Where someone’s assets and income are below minimum thresholds, the local authority will meet the full cost of their care and support.
Further reforms to be implemented from 2016/17, including the introduction of the cap on care costs and the extension to the financial limits which determine who receives financial support from the local authority, will be consulted on later this year.
The draft guidance on charging for care and support covers:
- the principles which should underpin approaches to charging
- financial assessments, including the treatment of capital and income
- the persons’ right to a choice of accommodation when in residential care, and in certain circumstances, their right to make an additional payment
- the treatment of temporary residents
- deprivation of assets
- recovery of debts
- limitations on the local authority power to charge – when certain services must be provided free
- the process for assessment of financial resources
- the financial limits which determine the financial support people may receive from the local authority
- the assessment of capital and income
- calculating tariff Income
- particular sums to be disregarded during the assessment
- ‘light touch’ financial assessments
The aim of the draft regulations and guidance is to broadly re-create the current rules, whilst taking the opportunity to update and clarify the rules.
- Annex A of the draft guidance: Choice of accommodation and additional payments
- Annex B of the draft guidance: Treatment of capital
- Annex C of the draft guidance: Treatment of Income
- Annex D of the draft guidance: Recovery of debts
- Annex E of the draft guidance: Deprivation of assets
- Annex F of the draft guidance: Temporary residents in care homes