Charges for residential and nursing care

The London Borough of Bexley, Social Services and the Financial Assessments and Benefits (FAB) service work together to ensure that your care needs are met and that any charges are calculated in accordance with this guide.

You are entitled to a free care assessment irrespective of your financial situation.

This assessment will help you decide whether moving into a residential care home is right for you and helps us make sure that you get the care that you need. Decisions about the level of care that you need will always be taken independently of any assessment of your finances.

Providing residential care for everyone that needs it is very expensive. We have to charge in order to maintain and improve the quality of service provided. The government's guidelines are used so that we can ensure that you are charged fairly for the services that you use and you are left with enough money to spend as you wish.

You will have to pay something towards the cost of your care. We work out how much by asking you to complete a Financial assessment for residential services, (PDF 216KB) form, in which we look at your assets and weekly income.

If you do not wish to complete a financial assessment we will assume that you can pay the full cost of your care and arrange for you to be charged accordingly.

In order to assess your charge, we will need to know your financial situation; we will not reveal your personal details to any third party without prior permission:

  • savings and bank accounts statements
  • National savings certificates
  • pay slips
  • proof of benefit entitlement
  • receipts, we will explain which ones

The Welfare Rights Service offers a free benefits check and will help you claim any benefits that you are entitled to. If you are awarded any additional benefits you must inform us.

We assess your finances as an individual, because services are provided on an individual basis. In some cases it may be fairer to assess you as a partnership.

We will assume that joint bank accounts and assets are held in equal shares with your partner. If this is not the case we will need you to provide us with evidence of this.

If you hold an account or an asset in your own name, this will be assessed as your sole personal property unless you provide us with evidence to the contrary.

If both you and your partner are receiving care, we will still assess you as individuals, we do this because care is provided individually and you are likely to need different types of care either now or in the future. This ensures that both of your financial assessments are as fair as possible.

If you own your own home, we will take the value of the property into account when we complete your financial assessment unless someone else is still living there. This could be your partner or a member of your family that is either aged 60 or over, a child under 18 that you have responsibility for, or a relative who is ill or disabled.

In some cases we may ignore the value of your home where someone else lives there who does not fall under these categories

We will not take the value of your home into account for up to the first 12 weeks of your stay in a care home, but in most cases we will do after that time. When the value of your home is included in your assessment, you do not have to sell it automatically.

However, if you cannot afford to pay your fees from other income or capital, you will have to consider what you want to do about your home. You do not have to come to a decision immediately, you will have the first 12 weeks of your stay to do this.

An uplift of a client's income is carried out every April in line with the Department for Work and Pension increases. The responsibility is on the client or the representative to advise if any information used in the assessment is incorrect.

Notify the Financial Assessments team if your financial circumstances change, so that we can arrange a new assessment for you:

Details of all your income and your assets are required to make a fair assessment.

We look at your capital and if you have capital (assets) worth more than the upper limit set by central government, currently £23,250, you will have to pay the full cost of your care.

If you have less capital than the lower threshold, currently £14,250, you will not have to contribute from your capital towards the cost of your care.

The value of your main home is not included in this assessment for the first 12 weeks of your residential care but is included in your capital assessment after this 12 week period.

There are some other circumstances in which the value of your property will not be included in your financial assessment, this is covered in the section home ownership.

If your capital falls between these two amounts, you will be charged based on your weekly income as well as a small weekly tariff added to reflect how much capital you have between the two thresholds.

Your tariff will be £1 for each complete or partial £250 capital you have between the two thresholds and we will make sure you keep some of your income, this may include a portion of some benefits and pensions and will always include a personal allowance.

The personal allowance is reviewed each year by the Department of Work and Pensions and from the 6 April 2015 is £24.90 per week.

The Care and support statutory guidance states that if a resident has deprived themselves of a capital asset, in order to reduce their accommodation charge, the local authority may treat the resident as still possessing the asset, this means that if the Council consider that you have deprived yourself of capital by way of gift, transfer or any other means; you may be assessed as if you were still in possession of that capital and charged accordingly.

In certain circumstances, residents to whom this applies may face prosecution.

When your charge is worked out we will write to you explaining how it was calculated

You should check the details you gave us so that we know that they are correct. If you disagree with the amount you can contact the Finance Assessments team for an explanation:

To have your charge reviewed, please contact the team in writing explaining why you think the charge is not correct or you cannot pay the assessed amount. We will then notify you of our decision in writing.

If you are not satisfied or still think that the amount is incorrect, you can appeal in writing to the Finance Assessment team. You will need to explain why you think the charge is incorrect.

Following this, if you still feel that you are being incorrectly charged you should contact the Local Government Ombudsman.

While the review is ongoing, we will ask you to continue to pay your assessed charge in full. We will arrange a rebate, if necessary, once the review is completed.

In order for you to have as much control and choice as possible regarding your care, you can choose the care home in which you wish to live in.

Some care homes are more expensive than others. We will agree a figure with you that is the maximum that we will contribute towards the cost of care.

If you wish to move to a home that costs more than this amount, plus your assessed contribution, you can do so if you can arrange a third party top up.

A third party top will involve someone else paying the additional amount. We can help you to arrange this.

We do not have any involvement beyond this as it is an agreement between you and the third party. We will only support the agreement if we are satisfied that the third party understands what they are agreeing to, signs a third party indemnity and has the means to pay.

You pay the care home directly, ways you can pay:

  • cheque
  • online
  • telephone
  • direct debit

If you fail to pay when requested, interest above the Bank of England’s base rate may be charged. Interest rates may also be applied if a deferred payment agreement has been agreed.

Moving into a care home will have an impact on the benefits you are entitled to. If you are assessed as contributing towards the cost of your care, you need to apply for Pension Credit if you are aged 60 or over. If you are aged under 60, you need to apply for Income Support.

If you do not pay the full cost of your care yourself, you will only be entitled to Attendance Allowance and the care component of the Disability Living Allowance for the first four weeks of your stay in the care home. This will be the case with Constant Attendance Allowance, Exceptionally Severe Disability Allowance payable with industrial injuries, Disablement Benefit and War Disablement Pension.

If you are living in a care home you can continue to receive Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance and are subject to a Deferred Payment Agreement, having agreed in writing to sell your house. You will then need to pay back the full amount of your fees at the end of the exempt period and will not be entitled to Income Support.

It is the responsibility of you or your representative to notify the Benefits Agency and the Pension Service of your move into residential care, so that any appropriate changes to your benefits can be made.