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Paying for care at home

Am I entitled to financial assistance with care costs?

The rules around paying for care are set by central Government. View The Care Act 2014 Guidance.

If your disposable capital assets (any money you have that is not tied up in the home you live in) are more than £23,250 then you will not be entitled to financial assistance from Dorset Council. You will be expected to pay the full cost of any care you receive, usually directly to the provider of the care.

You are only entitled to financial assistance from the date you come to us requesting help. It’s your responsibility (or the responsibility of the person with authority to act for you) to ask for help at the time your capital drops below the upper capital limit of £23,250. Once you have completed the financial assessment and provided verification that you are entitled to help with care costs, we are only obliged to backdate funding to the date on which financial assistance was requested.

If your disposable capital assets are between £14,250 and £23,250 then you will be asked to make a contribution from your capital each week towards the cost of your care. This contribution is £1 for each £250 or part thereof.

For example, if you have capital of £16,500, there are 9 lots of £250 between £14,250 and £16,000 and therefore £9 per week will be included in your assessment as income. This amount does not represent any income received on the capital (interest) but is designed to continue to reduce your assets from the upper limit to the lower limit of £14,250.

Where your capital is less than £14,250, you may need to contribute towards the cost of your care from your income.

Find the cost of your care and eligibility using Which? tool

We recommend you to use the cost of care and eligibility tool provided by Which? to find out:

  • care home fees
  • cost of home care
  • if you are eligible for financial support from Dorset Council

Information for people who pay for their own care 

Please read our information sheet for self-funders

What benefits am I entitled to?

As part of your financial assessment, our assessment officer will check that you are receiving all the income you are entitled to. Read information about claiming benefits. However, where your circumstances are more complex, or you are not receiving a chargeable service, our welfare benefits team can help you to work out which benefits you can claim. We offer free, confidential and practical advice and we will;

  • carry out a telephone assessment with you
  • visit you at home if necessary
  • help with benefit applications
  • help you to challenge the decisions of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) if required

If you are awarded a back payment of benefit at any time you should tell us immediately. This will affect your financial assessment. You may have to pay some of this money to us as part of your assessed weekly contribution.

Contact the Welfare Benefits Team during office hours

  • East Dorset, Purbeck and Dorchester areas: 01305 225754
  • Weymouth and Portland: 01305 228022
  • North Dorset and West Dorset: 01305 225756

Contact Citizens Advice Bureau for the number of your local office, they can assist with applying for benefits and form completion.

Discounts are available if you are receiving certain benefits. You may be able to get help with:

  • council tax – if you are a carer, have a disability, or a mental illness
  • Wessex water bills – if you receive Pension Credit
  • home fuel and energy bills – with a surviving winter grant
  • NHS dental bills, prescriptions, eye tests and glasses – if you are on a low income

If you move into a residential care home and your care is funded by us, you will lose your entitlement to the following benefits 28 days after admission:

  • attendance allowance (AA)
  • disability living allowance – care component (DLA)
  • personal independence payment (PIP)

Entitlement to these benefits also ends 28 days after you are admitted to hospital.

It is your responsibility to inform the Department for Work and Pensions if you are admitted to hospital or a care home and you receive one of these benefits.

If your placement is funded by a Deferred Payment Agreement (see separate information sheet for details) you are entitled to continue receiving these benefits on the basis that you are ultimately responsible for the full cost of your care.

The Mobility component of DLA and PIP is not taken into account in the assessment of charge.

What help is available from the council?

The financial assessment will be different based on whether you will be having care services in your own home, which includes short breaks away from home (respite), or if you will be in a residential care home or a nursing home.

It will be carried out by one of our financial assessment officers who will contact you by telephone or via a postal application, although in certain circumstances it may be necessary to complete this during a visit to your home. This could be, for example, if you have difficulties using the telephone due to a hearing problem. 

Our financial assessment officer will gather information from you so they can advise you of the amount you would have to pay each week towards the care you receive.

We will also check that you are in receipt of all the welfare benefits you are entitled to and may be able to help you claim any benefits, where appropriate.

If we ask for proof of your financial circumstances (for example bank statements) and you don’t provide these by the date requested, the financial assessment will be concluded using the information you have provided. As a result, you may be required to pay the full charge for the services you receive.

What will happen in the financial assessment?

We will ask about your capital

We will ask you about your savings and any other assets you have. This could include:

  • bank/building society accounts including current account(s) and savings account(s)
  • Post Office card account for benefits
  • property ownership records, including the one you live in and any other property or land you may own or have owned in the past
  • stocks and shares
  • life assurance bonds
  • premium bonds
  • cash

You will be asked to provide information and evidence about these assets such as property deeds, bank statements, savings passbooks, or investment documents.

If you have given away or transferred assets to another person, the value of these assets may still be included in your financial assessment.

We will ask about your income, which means any money you receive

We will ask about any money you have coming in, which might include:

  • state pension (SP)
  • private pension
  • occupational pension
  • disability living allowance (DLA) or personal independence payment (PIP)
  • employment support allowance (ESA) / universal credit (UC)
  • attendance allowance (AA)

State benefits are shown on your bank statement as an income and are identified by your National Insurance Number, and by the letters shown above, next to each payment. Some benefits are paid every 4 weeks so should be divided by 4 to get the weekly payment.

You may also have other money coming in, such as from a property you rent out. You will be asked to provide information and evidence about your income, for example, copies of your pension or benefits statement.

We will ask about the cost of your home

This only applies if you will be receiving care in your home, or if you will be going into a
residential care home for a temporary stay.

This is the money you spend relating to your home, including:

  • mortgage payment
  • rent (that you pay and is not covered by Housing Benefit)
  • council tax (that you pay and is not covered by Council Tax Support)
  • services charges/ground rent, if these apply
  • buildings insurance (that you pay)
  • gas, electricity and fuel
  • metered water

You will be asked to provide information and evidence about these expenses, for example, statements or bills. If you do not provide the evidence required, then no allowance will be made in the assessment.

You will also be asked about other housing related expenses such as gas, electricity and water. If your payments are more than the amount considered to be ‘the norm’ for the type of property you live in, then we will make an allowance only for the extra amount that you use on a weekly basis. The standard amounts included are set annually by the Government.

Eligibility for council help

If you would like help from the council we will need to find out if your care needs meet our eligibility criteria.

If you are not eligible for financial help, we may still be able to advise you on the type of support you might need and the organisations that can provide it.

To find out if we can help you and if we will pay something towards the cost of your care, we will carry out what we call a supported assessment and a financial assessment.

Contact us for an assessment

Just (retirement solutions) have made a video that explains what happens when you contact your council for a care needs assessment

Support for healthcare needs

If you have mostly healthcare needs and need a nurse to support you rather than a carer, you may be eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare.