Local authority funding

Finding out whether your clients qualify for local authority funding is a two-stage process:

  1. Care needs assessment - This will identify the nature and level of support required.
  2. Financial assessment - Means test which will look at your client’s finances.

Everyone is entitled to a care needs assessment, irrespective of how much money or capital they have.

Limits and assets

Your client will be liable to pay all of their care costs if their savings and assets are over the savings threshold for local authority funding. If your client’s income and savings are above this limit it’s still worth contacting the local authority. These are the thresholds for the tax year 2019-20:  

Part of the UK Savings threshold for local authority funding
England  £23,250 
Northern Ireland  £23,250 
Scotland  £27,250 
Wales £24,000 (care at home) or £50,000 (care in a care home) 

Sourced: 10 February 2020, View - Money Advice Service 

If your client’s income and savings are below the savings threshold, they may be eligible for funding but the local authority may still expect them to contribute from any income they receive. Income contributions shouldn’t take your client's income below the weekly Personal Expenses Allowance (PEA), in Wales this is called the ‘Minimum Income amount’. This is for personal expenditure on items such as toiletries and haircuts. The weekly PEA for 2019/20 is between £24.90 and £29.50 (depending on which part of the UK you live in). 

What assets are excluded?

In the financial assessment, the following assets aren't included:
  • The home will be ignored if there is a spouse/partner still living in the property or a close relative who is disabled or over 60. It will also be ignored if your client is legally liable to support a child aged below 16 living in the property.
  • If your client has a partner and their savings are held separately, the partners’ savings will not be taken into account. However, if savings are held in a joint account they might be taken into account.
  • Investment bonds. These products are usually ignored in any assessment.
  • Winter Fuel Payment, Disability Living Allowance and the Personal Independence Payment mobility components. 

These are some of the assets that are excluded. Some assets are partially disregarded in calculating how care should be funded. A list of what’s included in any financial assessment can be found in this PDF file: Age UK Factsheet PDF size: 852KB  

Home adaptations

Your client may be entitled to free home adaptations and equipment, provided they cost less than £1,000 each.

Examples of adaptations and equipment include:

  • handrails for the stairs
  • grab rails for the bathroom
  • an intercom system for answering the front door
  • ramps for wheelchair access
  • a walking frame
  • perching stools in the kitchen or shower

Your client can ask the adult social services department of their local council for a free home assessment. They can do this online or by phone.

View - Apply for a home assessment 

An occupational therapist will visit your client at home to see what they need.

If the assessment finds your client needs a change to their home or a piece of equipment that costs less than £1,000, the council should provide it free of charge.

Care in the home

Many of the services provided in the home are usually charged for. The kind of services typically provided include meals and carers, transport, home modifications and equipment that can help with the tasks of daily living. The same assessment criteria are applied to calculate whether or not your client may be entitled to financial support, but the value of your client’s home is excluded.

If your client has a disability or complex medical condition they may have healthcare needs rather than social care needs and they might be eligible for NHS funding.

Information researched and accurate as of February 2020. Not to be relied upon by advisers or their clients.