This is a brief overview of Fairer Charging, how you can apply for it and what the role of your support provider is in the procedure.

What is Fairer Charging?

Fairer Charging is a means test to determine a service users ability to contribute to Support Charges. It was brought in to try and make sure that no one would be worse off as a result of the introduction of Supporting People.

Who is eligible?

  • Fairer Charging is available to service users who are charged for their support. This applies to all long-term services (over two years in duration). These are generally Block Subsidy services.
  • No charges apply to short-term services so Fairer Charging is not necessary.
  • If a service user receives Housing Benefit (all or part) they automatically qualify for the full support subsidy from Supporting People. Remember, if you are receiving Housing Benefit but don't receive Supporting People subsidy please ask your support provider to tell the Supporting People team of this.
  • If you have applied but do not qualify for Housing Benefit (all or part) you can apply for a Fairer Charging assessment, which takes place through a Financial Assessment. This assessment will establish how much (if any) you can afford to contribute to your support charge.
  • If you have savings of £21,000 or more you will be charged the full support cost. In exceptional circumstances this can be reconsidered.
  • The Financial Assessment can lead to you receiving full support subsidy or paying a proportion of your support charge.  It may also be determined that you will have to pay the full support charge.

What happens with a Financial Assessment?

The Financial Assessment is designed to make you feel as comfortable as possible. They are normally carried out in your home, unless you request a different venue. You can have someone present at the assessment with you, such as an advocate, friend, relative or support worker. You can also choose to nominate a representative who has access to your details to attend the assessment on your behalf.

The assessment is evidence based and will need to look at information on your income, savings and expenditure. These include:

  • Pension books
  • Payslips
  • Bank statements
  • Housing costs
  • Illness/disability related costs (if relevant)

Without this information a Fairer Charging assessment cannot be carried out.

How do I apply?

A application request form is available from your support provider. Once completed, the form should be sent by the provider to the Financial Assessment team at the address on the form. No financial information will be needed from you at this point. The team will then forward you a Financial Assessment Information pack with a Financial Assessment form, which you need to complete with your financial details and return to them.

The Financial Assessment team will contact you with the outcome of the assessment and notify the Supporting People team.

What else should my support provider do?

  • Ensure service users are aware of the Fairer Charging policy by making the Fairer Charging leaflet available at all Supporting People properties.
  • Identify if the service user should have a Fairer Charging Assessment.
  • Complete and send in the application request form to the Financial Assessment team.
  • Support the service user to make payments until assessment is complete.
  • Resolve any issues relating to arrears of non-SP eligible support costs.
  • Inform Financial Assessment team of any special requirements – eg translation/interpretation services; large print; advocate.
  • Inform Financial Assessment team of any risk factors involved in undertaking the Assessment.

Contact us

London Borough of Merton
Supporting People
3rd Floor
Civic Centre
London Road
Morden SM4 5DX