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 these assessments, 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 is over the upper threshold. The local authority will usually pay for your client’s costs if their capital and income are less than the lower threshold. These are the thresholds for the tax year 2019-20:  

Part of the UK Upper threshold Lower threshold
England  £23,250  £14,250 
Northern Ireland  £23,250  £14,250 
Scotland  £28,000  £17,500 
Wales £50,000  £50,000 

1This is the upper threshold for nursing home care. A lower threshold of £24,000 applies for care in the home.

Sourced: 21 June 2019, View - Money Advice Service 

If your client’s income is less than the lower threshold, their local authority will meet the full costs of care, but they'll be expected to contribute from any income they receive. Income contributions shouldn’t take your client's income below the weekly Personal Expenses Allowance (PEA). 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). 

If a client’s total capital falls between the lower and upper thresholds, they'll be required to contribute something towards the cost of their care. The amount they'll need to contribute is £1 for every £250 of savings between the lower and upper threshold.

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 relative who is disabled or over 60. It will also be ignored if your client is responsible for a child aged below 16 living in the property.
  • Where investments are jointly held with a spouse or partner, only half of the assets can be taken into account in assessing how much is payable towards the costs of care.
  • Investment bonds. These products are usually ignored in any assessment.
  • Winter Fuel Payment, Disability Living Allowance and the mobility component and mobility supplement of any Personal Independence Payment. 

These are the main 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 View - Age UK Factsheet

Home improvements

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

If the hospital gives your client any equipment to use when they get home, such as a toilet surround frame, this should also be free.

Ask the adult social services department of their local council for a 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 must provide it free of charge.

Care in the home

Many of the services provided in the home are 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 might qualify for NHS funding even if local authority funding is not available.

Information researched and accurate 21 June 2019. Not to be relied upon by advisers or their clients.