Will I have to pay?

Yes, everybody has to pay something (with a few exception such as Section 117 clients). People with over £23,250 in savings will have to pay the full cost of the permanent residential or nursing care home.

How will you work out how much I may have to pay?

If we do not already have details of your finances, we will ask you to fill in a Financial Assessment Form.

Financial assessment forms and booklets

If you need help with this, please contact the Financial assessment team.

Do you work out the charges in the same way, however long I stay?

No, we have different rules for working out how much you have to pay if your stay is not intended to be permanent (a short stay). For example, for respite stays we ignore Attendance Allowance but we take it into account as income for permanent stays.

The Financial Assessments team will let you know what you have to pay as soon as possible after you move into the residential or nursing care home.

What income will you take into account when you decide how much I may have to pay?

We will take into account most of the money you have coming in, including:

  • State Retirement Pension
  • Pension Credit
  • wages or salary
  • other Social Security benefits
  • pension from a former employer
  • Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance (care component).

Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance (care component) are only payable for the first four weeks of a permanent stay if funded by the Local Authority. You will then have to relinquish these benefits. If you are self funding you may retain these benefits.

If you have savings of over £23,250 that are in your name only, or you do not want to give us details of your finances, you will have to pay the full cost of your stay.

How will you take my savings into account?

When we work out how much you have to pay, we do not count the first £14,250 of your savings.

For every £250, or part of, you have between £14,250 and £23,250, we add £1 a week to your income. This is called tariff income and does not reflect the actual interest you get from your savings, which is ignored when calculating your income. If your savings are in excess of £23,250, you will be charged the full cost of your care.

The following examples show how this is calculated:

Example 1

You have £14,500 savings. We ignore the first £14,250. This leaves £250.

We add £1 to your weekly income.

Example 2

You have £14,750 savings. We ignore the first £14,250. This leaves £500

We add £2 to your weekly income.

Can I give away my savings or investments?

You must not give away your assets, such as cash, shares or property, in an attempt to avoid paying all or part of the charges. If you do this, we can assess you as if you still have these assets.

What happens if my savings drop below £23,250?

If you are paying your own fees, you need to contact the Social Services Department in whose area your residential or nursing home is located.

If the residential or nursing care home is in the London Borough of Merton, you should contact your local Social Services Team. A care manager or social worker will do an assessment of your needs to see whether we can help you pay your fees. The Financial assessment team will then work out the new amount you have to pay, which will probably be less. You will be asked to provide us with all your financial details and may have to fill out a financial assessment form.

Who pays the residential or nursing care home?

We usually pay the full fees to the care home. We then collect contributions from you (or a member of your family) by issuing a monthly invoice.

I still have bills to pay for my own home. What happens whilst I am staying in the residential or nursing care home?

If you own your own property, we will allow (include in your financial assessment) housing costs for the 12-week disregard period. If you live in privately rented accommodation, we may allow eight weeks housing costs. If you lived in council accommodation, we usually allow housing costs to the end of tenancy. However, these may change due to your circumstances and if anyone else lives in the property.

Once you have been living in the home for about 6 weeks, you will have a review meeting with both your care manager and someone from the residential home. At this meeting, it will be decided whether it is in your interests to stay in the residential home. Until the review meeting takes place, we will allow for the following home expenses when we work out how much you will have to pay:

  • rent or mortgage
  • ground rent
  • water rates
  • service charges
  • housing costs (see above)

If you go into a residential or nursing care home, your Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit may be affected. To find out more you can contact the Revenue and Benefit Department.

How will I find out how much I have to pay?

The Financial Assessments Team will send you a letter that tells you how much your weekly contribution is from the date you go into the care home. We will also tell you how we have worked out your weekly contribution. Your bill will be based on this contribution and sent on a monthly basis.

What should I do with any money I receive before I get my first bill?

The Financial assessment team will not be able to tell you immediately how much you have to pay.

This means that you should save any money you have coming in, including State Retirement Pension, to pay the bill when it arrives.

You are allowed to keep a minimum of £23.50 each week for your own personal use.

Will I have to sell my house?

We will not include in your financial assessment the value of your home if:

  • Your husband, wife or partner lives there
  • A relative aged 60 or over lives there
  • A relative under 60 who receives certain disability allowances lives there
  • A child under 16 for whom you are financially responsible lives there

There may be other circumstances where we will not count the value of your home. The Financial assessment team will discuss this with you when they take the full details of your situation.

If there are no special circumstances (above list), we have to take into account the value of your house when considering how much you should pay for your residential or nursing care home. However, we cannot make you sell your house, and we must follow the rules below when considering the value of your home.

We have to ignore the value of your house for the first 12 weeks that you live in a care home. This is known as the 12 week property disregard period.

Normally, after this 12-week period, we take into account the value of your home. In most cases this will mean that you will be liable to pay the full cost of your stay. However, if you do not have savings or other assets of more than £23,250 that are immediately available, we can delay the full charges until your house is sold. This is known as the deferred paymentscheme.

The Deferred Payment Scheme (DPS) is for those who do not wish to sell their house or who are unable to sell it quickly enough to meet the full cost of their care.

You will continue to pay charges based only on your income and savings but because you are liable for the full cost of your accommodation, a debt will build up, with your house as security. We will secure our interest in your house by registering a charge at the Land Registry.

If you do not join the DPS, we will still place a charge on the house if you are unable to pay your bills.

Please make a request to us if you would like to enter into this scheme.

What happens until my property is sold?

If you have not entered into the deferred payment scheme, you will be charged the full cost of your care. If you have entered into the deferred payment scheme, you will pay a contribution based on your income and any savings that you have in excess of £14,250.00. We will continue to pay a share of the cost of your stay and will regularly tell you about the debt that is building up against your property.

Will I pay less if I am given financial help with nursing care?

NHS Funded Nursing Care (also referred to as free nursing care) is available to all residents who are assessed as needing nursing care by an NHS healthcare professional.

If you are awarded funded nursing care, the amount you will receive will depend on how much nursing care you need and will be one of the following weekly amounts: £108.70 or £149.60. If you pay the full cost of your services, your final bill would be less these deduction.

From the 1st October 2007 NHS Funded Nursing Care payment is changing to a one level weekly payment of £108.70. All nursing residents that are currently receiving medium payment will receive the new payment from this time. Those residents currently on the high band payment will continue to receive £149.60. This is only beneficial to full cost clients.

You will still have to pay a contribution for accommodation charges. This will be worked out in the normal way.

What happens if I go into hospital?

Normally, your benefits will continue and you will continue to pay your normal charge while you are in hospital or until your place at your care home is given up by agreement.

What should I do if I don't understand how you have calculated my charges?

If you need more information about the charges for residential or nursing care homes, please contact the Financial assessment team.

What should I do if I disagree with how much you ask me to pay?

First, please contact the Financial assessment team who will be able to explain how your contributions are calculated, and to reassess your situation if necessary.

If, after speaking to us, you are still not satisfied, you can make a formal complaint.

How do I contact the Financial assessment team?

Financial Assessment Team
Merton Civic Centre
London Road
Morden
SM4 5DX

Email: financial.assessment@merton.gov.uk
Telephone: 020 8545 4047