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Paying for care
Whilst health care is given for free, social care is not free. The law says that if the council decides that you have eligible social care needs, we can charge you for the services and support we provide to meet those needs. There are some exceptions to this where we would provide support for free.
To work out how much you might pay, we do a financial assessment based on rules set by government. These rules make sure that contributions are reasonable and affordable.
We will never charge you more than the assessment says you can afford, and you will never pay more than the actual cost of the services you use.
If you or someone who knows you, think you might need help because of an illness or disability, you might benefit from an assessment to see if you are eligible for support from the Council. Contact Community Health and Social Care Direct. If you are in hospital a social worker will usually contact you to take you through this process.
A Care and Support assessment reviews how difficult you find it to :
- eat healthy food
- maintain personal hygiene
- go to the toilet
- dress appropriately
- be safe at home
- keep a clean and hygienic home
- develop and maintain family or other personal relationships
- access and engage in work, training, education or volunteering
- make use of services in the community, including public transport and recreational facilities
- carry out any caring responsibilities for a child
Care and support in care homes on a permanent or temporary basis
We will look at:
- any income you have from benefits, pension, and other unearned income
- any capital you have, including bank and building society accounts, shares and investments, and properties that you own or have a financial interest in
- certain outgoings you have which reduce the amount of income you have
If you own a property
If you have eligible needs and you need to move in to a care home permanently, you will probably need to make a contribution towards the cost of the placement. If you own a property, it is likely that you will be responsible for paying the full cost of your placement, and you might need to think about selling your property in order to do so. To help make this process as easy as possible for you and your family, there are 2 options available:
Option 1: 12 week Property Disregard
12 week property disregard means that the council will ignore the value of any property you own for the first 12 weeks of your care home placement if you have:
- eligible needs and own a property when you move in to a care home permanently for the first time
- savings and investments valued at less than £23,250 (not including the value of your property)
During this time you will make a contribution based on your income and other savings and they will fund the difference to make up the full fee. This period gives you and your family time to make decisions about how you will pay for your care in a care home in the long term and make arrangements to sell your home if you decide to do so. At the end of this 12 weeks they will stop funding your placement and you will be responsible for paying the full fee to the care home.
Option 2: Deferred payment
A deferred payment is a loan, secured against your property, where we will either pay the fee to the care home on your behalf, or lend you the money to pay the care home yourself. This provides you and your family with the peace of mind of not needing to sell your property straight away. There are certain criteria that you must meet before we can offer you a deferred payment and it must be possible to register a first charge against your property with the Land Registry to act as security for the loan. Having a Deferred Payment means you don’t need to sell your house quickly and you can decide to wait until you die to repay the loan, at which point we will claim the money owed under the agreement from your Estate. It is important to remember that a Deferred Payment is a debt that must be repaid, and that we will charge you interest and administration fees during the time that the agreement is in place. We recommend seeking independent financial advice before you decide whether a Deferred Payment is right for you.
For more information
The council agree rates for types of care home placements. They always pay this amount for the same type of placement in the same care home. Care homes can charge extra for additional services or facilities they provide above those agreed in the rate the council pays. This is called a top up fee. For example, you may pay a top up fee for room with a better outlook or en suite facilities. Your social worker will explain any top up fees that are payable. The council will always try to offer you at least one placement that does not require a top up.
In most cases, the top up needs to be paid by someone other than the person moving in to the care home. Whoever agrees to pay the top up on your behalf must agree to make the payment directly to the care home for the whole time that you live there and must understand that the top up may increase over time.
If you decide to take a deferred payment to cover the cost of your care home placement, you may be able to pay the top up yourself. Before this is agreed, the council will make sure that the money spent on your placement, including the top up, will be paid back to them when your property is sold. If they agree to this, the top up fee will be included in your deferred payment agreement. They will recover the full placement cost when your house is sold.
You can get more information on top ups from Community Health and Social Care Direct.
Care and support in your home or other settings (such as supported living)
We will look at:
- income you have from benefits, pension, and other unearned income
- capital you have, including bank and building society accounts or shares and investments
- outgoings you have which reduce the amount of income you have
Once we have looked at this information, we will work out how much income you have available to pay for your care and support. We compare the amount of income you have available with the amount that the government says you need to live on. If the amount of income you have available is higher than the amount set by government, you will pay a contribution towards the cost of your care and support based on the difference between the two.
If you decide not to provide any financial information to us for the financial assessment, you will be required to make a contribution equal to the full cost of your support up to a maximum of £400 per week.
If you have appropriate capital valued at £23,250 or more, you will be offered a light touch financial assessment, and will be expected to make a contribution equal to the cost of your support (up to £400 per week if you are receiving services outside a care home).
If you have appropriate capital valued between £14,250 and £23,250 a full financial assessment will be provided. A tariff income will be added to your weekly income. This tariff will add £1 of income for every £250 of capital above £14,250.
If you have capital below £14,250, we will not include this in the financial assessment.
How do I pay my contribution?
Once we have told you how much your contribution will be, you need to start paying it to us straight away. We will usually charge contributions from the date that you started to receive services, even if the financial assessment is completed after this date.
The easiest way to pay your contribution is by Direct Debit. Talk to Council staff about setting up a Direct Debit.
If you are receiving a service from our Reablement team you will not be charged for the first six weeks. After six weeks, you will need to pay a contribution to the cost of the service, if your financial assessment says you can afford to.
The amount you pay will not usually change from week to week, and it should not be any higher than the cost of the support you receive. We will do an annual check to make sure that you have not contributed more than you should and will refund the difference if you have.
NHS Continuing Healthcare
During your assessment, staff will also consider whether you might be eligible for NHS continuing healthcare funding. If so, they will contact the Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group.
Did you know?
Visit InformationNOW for more on paying for care.
Need more information?
Contact Community Health and Social Care Direct
Phone: 0191 278 8377
Mobile: 0796 8474891
Fax: 0191 278 8312
Address: Community Health and Social Care Direct,
Westgate Community Complex,
Newcastle upon Tyne,
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm
Helpline outside normal hours: 0191 278 7878
Contact the Emergency Duty Team for out of office hours support, 5pm to 8.45am on weekdays and 24 hours at weekends
Report abuse or neglect: 0191 278 8156