In Wales, the overarching principle is that people who have been assessed as needing care and support services should only be asked to pay what they can afford for those services.
Once your local council has decided that you need care and support, it will carry out a financial assessment to establish whether you:
- have sufficient funds to pay the full cost yourself
- will be asked to contribute something towards your care costs
- need the full cost of your services to be paid by the council.
What does the council need to know?
There are strict guidelines to make sure that councils carry out financial assessments fairly and equitably.
They will want to know about:
- Your income: pensions, state benefits, other payments but not income earned as an employee or in a self-employed capacity
- Your capital: savings, investments, properties (other than the one you live in)
- Your outgoings: including (as yet) unpaid tax and NI contributions.
Any capital below £24,000 will be ignored. If you have income over £24,000, you will be charged the full cost of your services, up to a maximum of £90 a week (April 2019).
You will receive a written explanation of how your contribution was worked out and how much you will be expected to pay.
Only the income of the person being assessed can be taken into account in the financial assessment. If you are in a couple, the presumption is that each of you has an equal share of your joint income.
The council is allowed to assess you as a couple, but only if this would be financially beneficial to the person being assessed.
Can I refuse to have a financial assessment?
Of course. However, if you do refuse a financial assessment, the council will not pay – or help to pay – for your care services.
You can still have personal care services from your council but you will be charged the full cost of your care package up to £80 a week (April 2018).
Paying the full cost of your personal care services
Even if you don’t expect to get any financial help to pay for your personal care services, it’s still worth having your needs assessed by social services, because:
- the social worker or care worker will be able to provide you with advice and information
- the council has an obligation to help you arrange care services if you cannot do this yourself
- your written care plan will be extremely helpful when talking to private care agencies about how they can meet your care needs.
If you do wish to engage your own community care services, the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales has an online directory of home care providers (put your town/area in the Keyword box and search for Domiciliary Care).