Coronavirus

Please see our coronavirus pages for the latest guidance, how services are affected, and what help is available.

Financial information for people entering residential or nursing home care

Introduction

Unlike health services provided by the NHS, there is a charge for most adult social care services. How much you will have to pay towards meeting the cost of your care and support will depend on your financial circumstances.

Slough Borough Council will make a charge for residential and non-residential services, and will spend all of the income raised on providing more care and support for those who need it. If the council did not charge, it would not be possible to help everyone who needs support.

This guide provides information for people going into, or considering going into, a care home. It answers the most common questions that arise about the financial implications, and explains how we will work out what you will have to pay towards the cost of meeting your care and support needs in a care home.

A care home may be a residential or a nursing home. They are privately run, and their ownership can range from an individual to a public limited company.

Care homes charge a weekly fee. We will need to complete a financial assessment to calculate how much you will have to pay towards the cost of your care. This may be the full weekly fee, or you may be entitled to some financial support from the council. This will depend on your financial circumstances. Details of how we work this out are covered in this guide.

Please note that if it is a nursing home, you will not be expected to meet the cost of the nursing part of the care, which is funded by the NHS. More information on NHS funded nursing care can be found here: NHS Continuing Healthcare and NHS Funded Nursing Care.

Please note: the figures quoted are all for the financial year from April 2019 to March 2020 and are subject to change on an annual basis.

Going into a care home

If you are no longer able to live at home, even with appropriate home care support, and you need financial help in order to go into a care home, you should contact Slough Adult Social Care.

Someone from Adult Social Care will visit you to assess your care and support needs. If you wish to have support in the assessment process, you may have someone with you, such as a relative, friend or independent advocate. If the outcome of your assessment shows that your care needs can best be met in a residential or nursing home, we can, if you wish, help you choose a suitable home.

Managing your finances

As part of the assessment of your care and support needs, we will establish whether you have the mental capacity to manage your own finances.

If we are concerned that you do not have the mental capacity to manage your own finances, or will not have capacity to do this in the near future, then a legally authorised person will need to represent you.

If you have already appointed someone as your Finance and Property Attorney, or have a Court Appointed Deputy (or, if you receive benefits, a DWP Appointee), we will need to see evidence of this before they can act on your behalf.

If you do not have a Finance and Property Attorney, Court Appointed Deputy, or DWP Appointee, an application for Deputyship or Appointeeship will need to be made:

  • An Appointee is only responsible for managing a person’s benefits and a small and limited amount of savings. They do not manage property. They apply to the DWP for Appointeeship.
  • A Deputy is responsible for the management of a person’s financial affairs including savings, pensions and all sources of income or assets, including property and valuables. They apply to the Court of Protection for Deputyship.

If there is no family member or friend able to take on the role, Slough Borough Council’s appointeeship team
can apply to represent you.

Financial assessment of your weekly contribution

If you go into a residential or nursing home, whether this is for a short stay or permanently, we will carry out a financial assessment to calculate how much you will have to pay towards the cost of your care. You or your legal representative will be asked to complete a financial circumstances form so we can calculate this.

The rules for deciding whether you qualify for financial support, and how much you are entitled to, are laid down by central government.

You, or your representative, will be asked to provide details and evidence of your income, savings, and property on the form. Our social care charges team will assess and notify you of your financial contribution. Where appropriate, we may also ask a financial assessment and benefits officer to carry out a benefits check, and help you apply for any benefits it appears you may be entitled to claim.

If there is a delay in you providing us with all the financial information we need (for example, if you are waiting to hear from the Department for Work and Pensions), we will give you an estimate of your charge and will tell you what the actual charge is when you supply us with the final details.

It is important that the information you give us is true and accurate to the best of your knowledge. It is an offence to give information that you know to be false, in order to avoid liability for the cost of your care.

If you do not want to disclose your financial circumstances

If you do not want to disclose your financial circumstances, you will be deemed to have accepted responsibility to pay the full weekly fees.

Qualifying for financial support from the council

If you have more than £23,250 in savings/capital, you will be responsible for the full cost of your care. If this later reduces to £23,250, you can then apply for financial support initially from the council in whose area the care home is situated.

If your savings/capital are less than (or equal to) £23,250, we will work out how much you will have to pay towards the cost of your care. How we calculate this is explained in more detail in the section below on ‘How do we work out what you have to pay?’

The value of your home will normally be included as part of your capital. The treatment of your home is explained in more detail in the section below on ‘Your home’.

Please note: the value of your home is not taken into account, if it is planned that you will be going into the care home on a short stay basis, and that you will return to your own home in due course.

Money for your day-to-day expenses after moving into a care home

When we work out how much you will have to pay towards the cost of your care, we ensure that you keep a sum each week for your day-to-day expenses, such as toiletries, hairdressing, newspapers, and chiropody. To enable you to pay for these, the government sets an amount you should keep from your pensions/benefits. This is called the Personal Expenses Allowance. The amount is set each year by the government. It is currently £24.90 per week, with effect from April 2019. This can be increased by up to £5.75 per week for older people in receipt of the Savings Credit element of Pension Credit.

You are not required or expected to use the Personal Expenses Allowance towards the cost of your care.

How do we work out what you have to pay?

Each financial assessment is based on your individual circumstances. To determine what this is, we will look at:

Your income

  • Retirement pension
  • Private/occupational pensions
  • Welfare benefits
  • Any other form of income.

Your savings and capital

Most forms of savings and capital will be taken into account (but where savings/capital are jointly owned only your share will be used in the calculation), for example:

  • Building society/bank accounts/post office accounts
  • ISAs
  • Bonds
  • Trust funds
  • National Savings certificates
  • Stocks and shares
  • Cash
  • Premium bonds
  • Property, buildings and land.

If you have less than (or equal to) £14,250 in savings/capital these will not be taken into account. If you have savings/capital over £14,250 and up to £23,250, we will add £1 to your income for every £250 you have.

The treatment of private/occupational pensions, welfare benefits, and property is explained in more detail in the following sections.

Private/occupational pensions

Private/occupational pensions will be treated as income and taken into account in the financial assessment of your weekly contribution, as is your state retirement pension. However, if you are part of a couple, 50% of any private or occupational pension will be disregarded, provided it is paid over to your spouse/partner who is remaining in the family home.

We may also be able to increase the amount of Personal Expenses Allowance you are allowed, so that you can pay money to your spouse/partner if there is financial hardship. To enable us to determine whether there is financial hardship, your spouse/partner will be asked to complete a separate financial circumstances form to the one you are asked to complete. Your spouse/partner does not have to provide these details, but it would not be possible to see if hardship exists if they do not.

Welfare benefits

The benefits you receive will be treated as income in your financial assessment. However, if you get the mobility part of Personal Independence Payment/Disability Living Allowance, this will be completely disregarded in your financial assessment.

Please note: some benefits change when you go into a care home, in particular:

Attendance Allowance and daily living part of Personal Independence Payment/Disability Living Allowance

  • These are normally only paid for the first 28 days of your stay in a care home (whether for a shortstay or permanently) including any time you have already spent in hospital
  • If you are not receiving these benefits you should make a claim for the first 4 weeks of your stay in the care home
  • However, if you are paying the full cost of your own care or have a Deferred Payment Agreement you can continue to receive these benefits.

Pension Credit

  • If you are part of a couple and one of you goes permanently into a care home, you will each be treated as single people for Pension Credit. (However, you will continue to be treated as a couple if you go into the care home only for a short stay.)
  • If you go into a care home permanently, the housing costs for your former home will no longer be included in your Pension Credit. (For a short stay, housing costs can usually continue to be paid for up to 13 weeks and sometimes for up to 52 weeks.)
  • You will also normally lose any additional amount for severe disability included in your Pension
    Credit, if your Attendance Allowance or daily living part of Personal Independence Payment/Disability Living
    Allowance stops.

Your home

Your home will normally be included as part of your capital in your financial assessment, unless you qualify for a property disregard (see below).

Your home - property disregards

There are circumstances where the value of your home will be disregarded in your financial assessment:

Short stay/replacement care

  • It is planned that you will be going into the care home on a short stay, or replacement care, basis and that
    you will return to your own home in due course

Someone else lives in the property.

If someone else lives in the property, its value will be disregarded if that person is:

  • Your spouse/partner - unless you are estranged or divorced. But if you are estranged/divorced and the spouse/partner is a lone parent, then the disregard will still apply

A relative of yours who is:

  • Aged 60 or over
  • Aged 16 or under and is a child for whom you are responsible
  • Incapacitated (i.e. disabled) - in this case, there are no age limits.

Discretionary disregard

The council has some limited discretion in special circumstances to disregard the value of your home, when it considers it reasonable to do so. This power has to be balanced with the need to ensure that people with assets, are not maintained at public expense. It may be reasonable, for example, to disregard the property when a person who lives there gave up their own home some time ago to look after you, and now has nowhere else to live. Each case will be considered individually and the final decision will be made through a panel process.

Twelve-week property disregard

If you have been assessed as needing a permanent placement in a care home, and your financial assessment shows that you would be responsible for the full weekly fees, because the value of your home means that you have more than £23,250 in savings/capital. You can then apply to have the value of your home disregarded for the first 12 weeks of the placement. This is to give you time either to sell your home, or to raise the money you need to pay for the care in other ways.

Please note: the only part of your finances disregarded is your home. All income and all other savings/capital will be included in your financial assessment.

If you sell your home during the 12-week period, the disregard will end on the date of the sale. At the end of the 12 weeks, you will become responsible for the full weekly fees.

If you wish to apply for the 12-week property disregard, you should complete the form your social worker will give you and return it to:
Slough Borough Council, Social Care Charges, Observatory House, 25 Windsor Road, Slough, SL1 2EL

If you have any questions about the 12-week property disregard, please call Social Care Charges on 01753
875748.

Your home - Right to Buy

If you bought your home under a Right to Buy scheme, you may be registered as the joint owner if you needed help from a relative in funding the discounted purchase price. In these circumstances, you will be deemed to own at least the share of the property that represents the amount of the discount earned. For example, if your discount was 40%, you will be deemed to own at least 40% of the property and have capital of 40% of its current value.

Your home - your options if your home is included in your financial assessment

If your home is included in your financial assessment you will be responsible for the full weekly fees.

Selling your home

You may decide that you will sell your home straight away to pay for your care. If you decide to do this, you will need to consider how to pay for your care while the sale is going through.

Deciding not to sell your home

You may decide to raise the money you need in other ways, such as renting out your home to produce more income, taking out a loan (equity release), or asking members of your family if they could contribute to the cost of your care - or a combination of these.

If your savings/capital (excluding your home) are under £23,250, you may be eligible for a Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA). For more information, see the section below on ‘Deferred Payment Agreements (DPA)’.

Everyone’s circumstances are different, and we strongly suggest that you and your family take independent financial advice to discuss the options open to you, and to help you decide which solution would be the most effective for you.
More information on obtaining independent financial advice.

Deprivation of assets

If the council considers that you, or someone acting on your behalf, have given away some assets, for example money or your house, in order to pay less for your care, you will be treated as still owning the asset and you will be required to pay a higher rate.

Depending on the value of the asset and the remaining assets you hold, this could be the full cost. If you cannot pay these fees, the council will claim the money from the person(s) to whom you have given these assets, and legal action may be taken against yourself and the person in receipt of the assets.

Deferred Payment Agreements (DPA)

Deferred Payment Agreements (DPA) are available to help people who would otherwise have to sell their home, to pay for their care in a care home.

Subject to adequate security and acceptance of the terms and conditions, we will offer a DPA if you meet all three of the following conditions:

  1. You are assessed as needing permanent residential/nursing home care
  2. The value of your savings/capital (excluding your home) is less than (or equal to) £23,250
  3. Your home is not disregarded in your financial assessment, e.g. because someone else lives there.

We may also be able to offer a DPA if you are responsible for paying for your own care but wish to use the equity in your home to pay for a more expensive care home placement.

If you qualify for a DPA, you must agree to a legal charge being placed on your property. This will be cleared once the amount you owe the council is paid, usually when your home is sold.
More information on DPAs

Top-up payments

When you are choosing a care home, we will ensure that you have at least one option that is affordable within your personal budget (the amount required to pay for a care home place that will meet your assessed needs). However, you may choose an alternative home, including a more expensive setting, usually where a third party such as a relative or friend is willing and able to pay a top-up for the additional cost.

Where a top-up arrangement has been agreed, the council will pay the care home the full cost of the placement. We will then separately invoice the person paying the top-up for that agreed element of the fees.

The person paying the top-up must enter into a legally binding agreement to pay the top-up to the council.

We may also be able to offer a DPA if you are responsible for paying for your own care, but wish to use the equity in your home to pay for a more expensive care home place.

Fee increases and change of circumstances

Care homes normally increase their fees every year, usually in April. If a top-up is being paid in respect of your placement, this may need to change when fees are increased.

Also, welfare benefits are increased each year in April, and your assessed contribution will therefore need to be recalculated annually.

If your financial circumstances change during the year, you must let us know as soon as possible. This is important to ensure you are always paying the correct amount based on your financial circumstances.

What if you are unhappy with the amount you are assessed to pay?

If you disagree with the financial assessment and think your contribution has been calculated incorrectly, you can ask for a review and provide any additional information to be taken into account.

For more information on requesting a review please call Social Care Charges on 01753 875748.

Information about you

All information we hold about you will be treated as confidential and will only be disclosed with your consent. The information will be held in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018.

Contact us

Online
Adult Social Care enquiries

Telephone
01753 475111 option 1