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Finance - Fairer Charging

This policy has been produced in accordance with the Department of Health’s Care and Support Statutory Guidance & the Care and Support (Charging and Assessment of Resources) regulations issued under the Care Act 2014.   

The Care Act provided a single legal framework for charging for care and support under sections 14 and 17.  It enables a local authority to decide whether or not to charge a person when it is arranging to meet a person’s care and support needs or a carer’s support needs.

Where a local authority arranges care and support to meet a person’s needs, it may charge the adult, except where the local authority is required to arrange care and support free of charge.  The new framework is intended to make charging fairer and more clearly understood by everyone.  The overarching principle is that people should only be required to pay what they can afford.  People will be entitled to financial support based on a means-test (financial assessment) and some will be entitled to free care.

Charging for Care & Support

This includes help with day-to-day personal and practical tasks to enable citizens to continue living independently in their own homes. These services can be provided by either the Council or by a private organisation, dependent upon the outcome of a care needs assessment. The charge for services will be subject to a financial assessment under Fairer Charging.

The Reason for Charging

The Government allows local councils to charge for care and support services, following a person’s care needs assessment, under section 14 of the Care Act. Nottingham City Council has decided that it will charge for these services and it will base its charges on how much it believes citizens can afford to pay. It is essential that the council charge to ensure that the demand for services is met and the necessary care is provided to people in need.

Financial Assessment

A financial assessment has been designed to assess and establish how much citizens can contribute towards the cost of services received. This is to ensure that the charge the council levy for services is fair and has been tailored to fully take into account the financial circumstances. There is an opportunity to decline the assessment process, however the full cost of the services received will be charged irrespective of the citizen's financial situation.

A financial assessment is partly a means test but includes an assessment of essential housing expenditure, disability related expenditure and also identifies potential entitlement to additional benefits. Financial assessments will be undertaken for all citizens who receive community based services.

All citizens are encouraged to have a financial assessment as it is likely that they will pay less than if they had declined to have the assessment. Some citizens who agreed to have a financial assessment are currently receiving a free service.

Specialist Financial Assessment Officers from the Fairer Charging Team will conduct a financial assessment in the citizens home as soon as possible following the completion of the care needs assessment. Citizen's will be advised that they can be accompanied by a relative, friend or other representative during the financial assessment.

What we will need to see

It is helpful if the following information is available for the Financial Assessment Officer when they visit:

Income

  • State Pension
  • Benefits such as: Pension Credit, Employment Support Allowance, Disability Living Allowance / Personal Independence Payment
  • Notification of private (occupational) pensions
  • Building Society books
  • Bank statements
  • Details of stocks and shares e.g. ISA's
  • Any other financial investments such as additional properties, rental income

Expenditure

  • Rent
  • Council Tax
  • Mortgage details
  • Community Alarm
  • Extra costs incurred due to disability

Capital/Financial Resources

This does not include the value of the citizen's home and will not be taken into consideration in the assessment. The Government has set limits for how capital is treated in the financial assessment.

The lower capital limit of £14,250 is the amount of a citizen’s financial resources that is completely ignored and only levels above that are taken into account. The upper capital limit is currently £23,250 and for a citizen who has financial resources in excess of this figure they will be expected to pay the full charge for the cost of the services they receive.

If a citizen’s level of resources fall between the lower and upper limit (i.e. £14,250 - £23,250) notional income is calculated based on the amount. The Government has suggested an amount of notional income at a rate of £1 per every £250 or part £250 above the lower limit. This will be included to other income.

To explain how this works we will use an example of a citizen who has £15,250 in savings. The first £14,250 will be ignored leaving £1,000. There are 4 amounts of £250 in £1,000 so the notional income of £4 per week will be added to the income.

Calculating your Charge

The charge levied will be based on a number of factors:

Assessable income

Less

Allowances/Disregards

Equals

Assessed Maximum Weekly Contribution.

This figure or the charge for the service, whichever is less, will be the final assessed weekly charge.

The Government has set a figure based on basic Income Support including age and disability premium plus an extra allowance of 25%. If your income is below this amount you will not be expected to pay for the community services you receive.

Assessable Income

This will include state pension/benefits and any private or occupational pensions. The Assessment Officer will also ask if a claim for benefits is being dealt with as this will make the difference to any help the council can give pursuing additional benefits.

Allowances / Disregards

The following allowances / disregards will be made before charges are calculated:

  • Basic Income Support plus 25%
  • War Pensions
  • The difference between high and low rate Attendance Allowance is classified as a payment for night-time care and is fully disregarded unless care is actually received during the night
  • The same rule applies to the care component of Disability Living Allowance this time the difference between the high and middle rate is disregarded (not applicable for Personal Independence Payments)
  • Mobility component of Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment will be fully disregarded
  • Benefits paid for children
  • All earnings from paid employment (including Working Tax Credits)
  • Any housing costs such as mortgage and rent that are net of any housing benefit in payment
  • Any council tax payable net of council tax benefit
  • Community alarm systems
  • Respite care or privately arranged care related to disability
  • The additional expenditure incurred as a result of a disability. Appropriate evidence will be required to confirm expenditure

Notification

As soon as the Fairer Charging team have completed all calculations, a letter will be sent to the citizen or advocate to explain the outcome of the financial assessment.

If a citizen has been assessed as being able to contribute towards the costs of services, the letter will state the date from which charges will commence. An invoice (or a direct debit advance notification) will be sent to the citizen every four weeks for the care received. There are various payment methods available and these are listed on the back of the invoice.

If a citizen has been assessed as having insufficient to make contribution, there will not be a charge levied for services received.

Income Maximisation

If during the assessment the Assessment Officer thinks that the citizen has potential entitlement to additional benefits, they will (with consent) make a referral on behalf of the citizen to either the Local Pensions Service or the Council's Welfare Rights Service. The appropriate agency will then subsequently contact the citizen to pursue potential benefit claims.

Change in Circumstances

If a citizen's financial circumstances significantly change, the Fairer Charging Team must be informed as soon as possible.

Tariff of charges

The following charges apply for community based social care services from April 2012:

  • Hourly/banded rate of the Care Agency
  • Day care charge is £12.00 per day
  • Transport to day services will be charged at £8.00 per return journey
    It is important to note that all services stated above are subject to a financial assessment and charges will only be made after taking into account after assessing a citizen’s ability to pay.
  • Citizens who have capital (excluding their home of residence) in excess of £23,250 or they have declined to have a financial assessment will be automatically be expected to pay the full charge for their social care services

 

Contact Us

The Fairer Charging Team Nottingham City Council Resources Loxley House Station Street Nottingham NG2 3NG Email: fairer.charging@nottinghamcity.gov.uk
Tel: 0115 876 2525

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