If you have been assessed as needing care in your own home, the local authority will then make a financial assessment (means test) to decide whether you qualify for assistance with the cost.
The financial assessment (means-test)
Most councils charge for care that they provide or arrange. How much you pay depends on a means-test. The council must follow the “Fairer Charging” guidance from the government. (Link to summary of “Fairer Charging” guidance.)
- If you have more than £23,250 in capital (not including the value of your home) you will be charged the full cost of your care.
- If your capital is less than £23,250, your income will be assessed but you must be left with at least the basic amount of Pension Credit plus 25%.
- Some councils are more generous and increase the capital threshold or set a maximum amount they expect anyone to pay for their care.
- In Scotland, personal care is free for those aged 65 and over, but you will still be charged for services such as day care, meals on wheels and community alarms.
Following your needs assessment and financial assessment, your council may offer you Direct Payments. They will pay you the cash so that you can arrange and buy your own care. The cash must be spent on care that meets your assessed needs but it means you can be more flexible and individual in the way you arrange your care. However, the money must not go to a relative or anyone living in your household unless they are specifically employed as a live-in carer. You have to keep records to show exactly how you have spent the money.