Certain types of income, such as money from certain disability benefits and pensions, may not be counted in the means test. This is the same for certain types of capital. All other income and capital can be taken into account.
If all their eligible income is taken into account in the means test, an individual must be left with an income of £189.00 per week, if they’re single and above Pension Credit qualifying age. This is known as the Minimum Income Guarantee.
Basically, a service user is allowed a Minimum Income, (the amount of which differs depending on age and circumstances), any costs directly related to their housing and an allowance for Disability Related Expenditure (DRE); any income in excess of this are considered available to be used towards social care contributions.
If they’re eligible for financial support to pay for homecare, the local council can arrange the homecare services. Alternatively they/you can choose to receive direct payments and arrange homecare yourself.
How will their income be treated in the means test?
Certain types of income, such as money from certain disability benefits, may not be counted in the means test. All other income can be taken into account.
Make sure they get all of their benefits and entitlements. That’s because the means test will assume they are receiving all the benefits they are entitled to, even if they aren’t already claiming them.
If they and someone else jointly hold capital, such as a savings account, it will usually be treated as divided equally between the two of them.
Will they have to sell their home to pay for care?
Many people worry that they will have to sell their home to pay for social care. In some situations, their home won’t be taken into account in the means test. There are a few circumstances where this applies:
If they need short-term or temporary care in a care home, their home won’t be in the means test.
If their care home is permanent, it won’t be counted if it’s still occupied by:
- their partner or former partner, unless they are estranged from them
- their estranged or divorced partner IF they are also a lone parent
- a relative who is aged 60 or over
- a relative who is disabled
- a child of theirs aged under 18
If their property is going to be included in the permanent care home means test, the council must ignore it for the first 12 weeks of their care. This is to give them space to decide what to do with their property and paying fees, for example whether to enter into a deferred payment agreement with the council. They will likely qualify for help with fees from the council for the 12 week period if their other capital assets are under £23,250.
What if they give away some of their money?
People often think about giving away some of their savings, income or property to avoid paying likely care costs, and to give something to their relatives or charity, for example.
If the council thinks that a person has done this to avoid paying care fees they may still assess them as if they still had the money or property that they have given away. This is referred to as deprivation of assets.
How much will they have to pay?
After the means test the local council should provide a written record of their decision of what a person will have to pay, what they will pay, and how they calculated it.
How much a person will have to pay will depend on:
- what type of care and support needed.
- each person’s own personal circumstances.
If they’re going into a care home, they should not be left with less than £24.90 a week after any contribution to their fees. This is known as the Personal Expenses Allowance.
If they’re getting some aid to home adaptations, paying for these depends on what type of adaptations or equipment are needed. If the council agree a person needs aids or equipment or a minor home adaptation, it must provide this for free.
Are there any other exemptions from paying contributions towards Social Care?
If the service user qualifies for Continuing Health Care (CHC), qualifies for Section 117 After-care under the Mental Health Act or has a diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) then they do not have to contribute towards their social care.