Paying for care

Unlike NHS services, Adult Social Care is not a free service. These pages will explain the help and support you can get to pay for the care you receive. 

Following a care needs assessment, if you have eligible social care needs met by a service we provide, you will have a financial assessment. This will determine how much you will be charged and how much the council will contribute to the cost of the care. 

Our charging policy covers how this works in Lincolnshire and follows the regulations laid out by the Care Act 2014. We are committed to ensuring that everyone is treated fairly, with an overarching principle that people should only pay what they can afford.

Whatever your circumstances, you can find information here that will help you with financing your care.

Financial assessments

Following a care needs assessment, if you have eligible social care needs met by a service we provide, you will have a financial assessment. This will determine how much you will be charged and how much the council will contribute to the cost of the care. 

Our charging policy covers how this works in Lincolnshire and follows the regulations laid out by the Care Act 2014. We are committed to ensuring that everyone is treated fairly, with an overarching principle that people should only pay what they can afford.

There are different rules about the financial support you can get from the council, depending on whether your care is at home or you move to a care home. Find out more about this in Paying for care at home and Paying for residential care

In general, we will total your income and from this, take away allowances for day to day living, property and disability related expenditure. The final figure will be your contribution. For most people, the amount paid towards care will only be a contribution.

We have a user-friendly online form, which will give you an immediate indication of what you might need to pay. Our financial assessments team can offer help over the phone or arrange to visit you to help with the assessment. 

What happens next?

After you have completed your financial assessment, we will send you a letter to confirm the amount you must pay, showing how this has been calculated. We may need to ask you for clarification or additional information.

We will review the amount you pay each year. If your financial circumstances change, you must let us know. We may need to complete a new financial assessment or review your benefits entitlement.

Payments

If your care has started, contributions will start 14 days after your financial assessment. Your contribution will be collected, or will become payable, every four weeks.

You will receive a statement which shows how much is due. Your charges will begin 14 days after the start of your community care if you have not received care from us in the last 12 months, or from the first day you enter a care home.

Any charges for your residential care will be collected by the home on our behalf. We are working to change this in financial year 2022/23, to payment of your charge being made directly to the council.

You may choose to take out a deferred payment agreement to pay your care home.

Paying for care at home

Services which help to keep you independent while you live in your own home are called community care. These services could include:

  • a direct payment for you to arrange your own care
  • home care
  • day care services
  • community supported living
  • mental health support
  • shared lives services

Following your care needs assessment, you will be asked to fill out an online form or you can request a paper form if you prefer. This will ask for details of your income and expenditure, so our financial assessment team can work out how much financial assistance you will get from the council to pay for the community care. Your worker will explain and support you during this process.

How much you will pay for care

You can use the Adult Care Charges Calculator to find out if you are likely to have to pay for your care and an estimate of how much that will be. It only takes around 5 minutes to complete the calculator and will not require you to submit any personal information.

Please note - this is solely based on the information you provide and therefore may not be 100% accurate compared to a full financial assessment.

Paying for residential care

If you’re unable to live independently in your own home, even with extra support, you may need to consider residential care. There are residential care homes across Lincolnshire which will meet different care and living needs.  

If you move to a registered nursing home and need nursing care, the NHS will contribute to some of the care cost. 

You might need to move to a residential care home for a short period of time – we call this temporary residential care – which is any stay in residential care up to 52 weeks, where you intend to return to your home.  

How will I be financially assessed? 

Following your care needs assessment, you will be asked to fill out an online form or you can request a paper form if you prefer.   This will ask for details of your income and expenditure, so our financial assessment team can work out how much financial assistance you will get from the council to pay for the residential care.  Your social worker will explain and support you during this process.

How much will I have to pay? 

If you have over £23,250 in savings and investments, you are likely to have to pay the full cost of your residential care.

For charging purposes, the two types of residential care home stays are:

  • temporary
  • permanent

Care home fees are made up of:

  • costs for accommodation, laundry, meals, heating and lighting
  • care and support costs (residential care, nursing care, dementia care)

If you have to live in a registered nursing home and need nursing care, the NHS will contribute towards the cost of your care.

When being financially assessed for a temporary stay, the value of your main or only home is not included in the calculations, as the intention is that you will return home.  You will be allowed additional expenses to maintain your home during your temporary residential care stay.

Do I have choice over the costs of my care?

As part of your care planning, we will discuss the type of accommodation that will meet your needs. We will make sure that at least one option is available to you which is affordable within your budget.

Where you have been assessed as requiring a certain type of accommodation (care home, supported living, and shared lives accommodation) you have the right to exercise choice between providers in certain circumstances. This includes anyone who is receiving aftercare services under the Mental Health Act 1983.

If you choose a care home that charges above our expected costs, then a top-up may be payable. This is the difference between our expected costs and the actual cost of the home. A "first party" top-up is when you pay the top-up fee yourself. A "third party" top-up is when someone else pays your top-up fee for you.

Will my home count as part of the financial assessment?

If you are moving into a care home on a permanent basis, the value of your home will be taken into account, unless any of the following apply:

  • your husband, wife, partner or former partner continues to live there, except where they were estranged since before you went into a care home
  • a relative aged 60 or over continues to live there
  • a lone parent who is the person's estranged or divorced partner continues to live there
  • a relative under 60 who is incapacitated, and receives certain disability allowances continues to live there
  • a child under 18 for whom you are financially responsible continues to live there.

To make sure you have enough time to make the right decision about moving into a residential care home, we can allow up to 12 weeks at the start of care where the value of your home is not taken into account. This is called a 12 week property disregard.

Personal Expense Allowance (PEA)

Before any charges are made towards the cost of your care home, we need to ensure you are left with a minimum amount of income. This is known as the Personal Expense Allowance (PEA) and is set nationally each year by the Department of Health and Social Care. It is reproduced in our Annual Statement of Charges which you can find in the appendices of the charging policy on our website. This is to ensure that you have money to spend as you wish on personal items such as clothes and other items that are not part of your care.

Deferred payments

A deferred payment makes sure you do not have to sell your home to pay for the costs of living in a care home during your lifetime. The agreement offers you a loan from the council, using your home as security. 

There are two types of deferred payment arrangement (DPA):

  1. Traditional – where the council arrange the care and pay the care home directly

  2. Loan – where you have made your own care arrangements and contract directly with the providers

Generally, anyone who lives in Lincolnshire and owns their own property can apply for a DPA to cover the cost of their care. The following must also apply:

  • you have been assessed by the council's Adult Care team as needing a permanent stay in a care home to meet your needs
  • you do not have any other assets or savings over £23,250, apart from the value of your main or only home
  • your home is not disregarded for the purposes of the financial assessment, for example, it is not occupied by a spouse or dependent relative
  • you must agree to us placing a legal charge on your property
  • you must sign any associated deferred payment documentation
  • all co-owners will be required to sign the deferred payment agreement and the necessary documentation to secure the charge with the Land Registry; the DPA will apply to your share of the property
  • there can be no other beneficial interests on the property, for example, outstanding mortgages, loans or equity release schemes, unless this is approved by us prior to entering the agreement.

When a DPA will be stopped

A deferred payment can be stopped:

  • If you repay the full amount due
  • If you sell your property and we are repaid from the proceeds of the sale
  • On your death and the amount is paid back from your estate

Can someone else apply for me? 

Yes, if you have a financial deputy or a Lasting Power of Attorney for property and finances, they can enter into the deferred payment agreement on your behalf. It is expected that a relative or solicitor will apply to the Court of Protection to become a financial deputy where one is required but isn't yet in place.

For a loan DPA to start, legal authority must already be in place. For a traditional DPA, we will fund care on behalf of the individual receiving it whilst an attorney's application is with the court. Where it is considered that any deputy or attorney is not acting in the best interests of the individual receiving care, a referral will be made to our safeguarding team.

The costs and charges involved

The Care Act 2014 allows the council to charge interest for the duration of the deferred payment agreement – this rate will be set each year. This applies to both types of deferred payment agreement.  More information can be found in the Annual Statement of Charges in the appendices of the Charging Policy on our website.

We will also charge an administration fee to cover costs but will not make a profit from the arrangement. 

Self-funding your care

A self-funder is someone who is paying for the full cost of their care and support. 

This is most common where you have savings or investments adding up to over £23,250. This figure is set every year by the Government.

If you don’t provide the information we need to complete a financial assessment, or if we have assessed you as not having eligible care needs under the Care Act, you will also have to pay the full cost of care.  

If you are a self-funder, you are entitled to a free assessment of your care needs. After this, the council can manage your care for you for a one-off arrangement fee.  You may choose to enter into private arrangements with care providers to arrange your care. Additionally, you may also be able to apply for a deferred payment loan to finance your care. 

You can also secure the services of an independent social worker or broker for example, to manage your care packages.  

While paying for your care, the amount of your savings and investments will reduce. You should let us know when this amount gets close to the capital limit (£23,250).

Independent advice

Paying for care can be complex, particularly if you are funding your own care. The council can't provide individual financial advice directly, but we do recommend that you consider seeking independent financial advice as early as possible. We will assist you to understand how to access independent financial advice. We recommend that you check that any financial advisor you choose to use is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

You may also wish to take legal advice from a solicitor to assist you with any proposed arrangements. Should you wish to do so, the Law Society’s Find a Solicitor service might be helpful.

 

Personal budgets

If you are assessed as having eligible care needs, the planned support will have a cost which is called a personal budget and it allows you to:

  • choose and control the support that is best for you
  • be fully involved in decisions about the help you need to live independently
  • support yourself in ways that suit you

Your personal budget will be made up of the amount you have been assessed to pay and the amount the council will contribute to your care costs.

You can use this budget to buy the care and support you need, in one of the following ways:

  • as a direct payment – this means that you will be able to purchase your care and support yourself within your allocated personal budget
  • by receiving services commissioned or arranged by us

You must spend the money as per the agreed plan to support your needs.

Direct payments

You can have your personal budget paid to you directly.  This gives you the option to arrange and pay for your own support. It means that you do not have to use the services we provide.

If you are unable to manage your money, an ‘authorised person’ can request a direct payment and manage it on your behalf. This is usually a carer, family member or friend.

An ‘authorised person’ must:

  • act in your best interests
  • make sure that you have as much input as possible into decision-making
  • let us know if you are able to make your own decisions again

Managing your payments

We may pay your personal budget as a one-off lump sum or as ongoing monthly payments.

You can use direct payments for:

  • support with personal care
  • help with daily activities, including getting out and about
  • short term breaks or respite care
  • getting involved in community-based activities
  • buying equipment or making small adaptations to your property

The council can help you with ways of managing your direct payment.  We will offer a prepaid card, virtual wallet or a managed account.   

If you choose not to have a direct payment, we can arrange support services for you.

For advice from our direct payment support service, visit the Penderels Trust website

Council-managed budgets

A council-managed budget is where we manage your personal budget for you and arrange your support. We can do this if you:

  • want to use services provided by us
  • do not want to manage the money yourself
  • cannot consent to receive direct payments
  • do not have an 'authorised person' to help you