Adult social care - What happens to my home?

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What counts as property?

'Property' means any building, accommodation or lands that you own or jointly own. For most people this is their home but it can also include, for example, houses lived in by someone else, holiday homes or commercial property.

Will my property be taken into account?

If you own property, other than your former home, we will take its value into account from the date you enter a care home. If the value of this property is more than £23,250 you will have to pay the full cost of your fees. In some circumstances we do not take the value of your former home into account. Please see - What if a relative continues to live in my home?

What happens if I give my property away?

If you give away property or sell it for less than its true value to try to avoid paying the full cost of your fees, we will calculate your charge as if you still own the property. There are actions the council can take if we think you have deliberately given away or sold property for less than its worth.

What if a relative continues to live in my home?

We will not take the value of your home into account while it remains the home of any of the following people:

  • Your partner or spouse
  • A relative aged over 60
  • A relative aged under 60 who is incapacitated
  • A divorced or estranged partner - if they are a lone parent
  • A child under 16 who is maintained by you.

In most other circumstances we will take the value of your home into account after the '12 week property disregard' period. If you own the property jointly, we will take the value of your share into account.

What is the '12 week property disregard'?

If we take your home into account we will ignore its value for up to 12 weeks, starting from the date you first became a permanent resident. We call this the '12 week property disregard'. You will have to contribute towards your care costs during this period from income and other capital. You will also have to continue to maintain the property and meet any ongoing costs that arise.

What happens after the '12 week property disregard'?

During the '12 week property disregard' you will have to decide how you will fund your ongoing care when the disregard period ends. You will need to take advice at the earliest opportunity to decide how you are going to pay for your ongoing care.

What options are available to me?

There are a number of options you may want to consider and it is essential that you obtain independent financial advice. You could try the Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA). It is important for you to make this decision at the earliest opportunity because you will be expected to have made arrangements by the end of the disregard period.

What if I do not want to sell my property?

There are various ways to fund your care:

  • You may decide to raise the money you need by renting out your home. The rental income may allow you to fund your ongoing care. Whether you can do this will depend on your income, how much the fees are and whether anyone else can help you. You will need to consider expenses such as the maintenance and insurance of the property
  • You may have family or friends who are willing to contribute towards the cost of your care
  • You may decide to raise the money by taking out a loan, taking out an annuity, a home income plan or some other type of equity release scheme
  • You may decide to apply for a deferred payment agreement.

What is the deferred payment scheme?

The deferred payment scheme is designed to help if you have been assessed to pay the full cost of your care home fees, but cannot afford to pay the full cost immediately because your capital is tied up in your home.

Deferring payment of your care and support fees can delay the need to sell your home; providing peace of mind during a time that can be challenging. The scheme is a type of loan that offers you the opportunity to 'defer' paying the full cost until a later date. If you are eligible for the scheme, the council will work out how much you can afford to pay each week towards the cost of your care home fees, based upon your income and other capital. The council will then pay the difference between the amount you can pay and the actual cost of the care home. The part that the council pays on your behalf is the 'deferred payment'. This builds up as a debt, which is repaid when your house is sold. If you decide not to sell your property during your lifetime, the debt must be repaid to the council from your estate after your death.

Once you enter into the agreement, we register a legal charge on your property. This means that you will be unable to sell or transfer ownership of the property without repaying the debt. You can end the agreement at any time, for example, if you decide to sell the property, by repaying the debt.

Will I be eligible for the deferred payment scheme?

If you decide to apply for a deferred payment, we will assess your application against the following criteria:

  1. We must have assessed you to have eligible needs which the Council agrees should be met in a registered care home; and
  2. You must have less than £23,250 in savings and other capital (excluding the value of your home); and
  3. Your property is not disregarded for charging purposes.

If all of the above criteria are met and you can provide adequate security, the scheme will usually be offered.

Can I have a deferred payment on a second property?

No. Government rules do not allow this. A deferred payment can only be agreed on your former home.

Will I pay interest on the deferred payment?

Yes. Interest will be compounded on a daily basis and will apply from the start date of the agreement. The interest rate is based upon the cost of government borrowing and is expected to change every six months.

Is the deferred payment scheme suitable for me?

You should take independent financial advice to help you to make a well-informed decision as to whether the scheme is right for you.

How do I apply for a deferred payment?

You will need to tell us that you want to apply for a deferred payment. You need to let us know before the end of the property disregard period and at the earliest opportunity.

If we offer you the scheme you will have to sign a deferred payment agreement. This document explains how the agreement works and the responsibilities of both you and the council.

Does it cost anything to use the deferred payment scheme?

Yes, you will have to pay an administration fee but this will not exceed the amount it costs the council to set up the agreement. A 'Schedule of Charges' is listed on the back page of the Deferred Payment Information Leaflet (PDF). Once your application has been provisionally agreed, a one-off charge will be requested from you towards our legal and administrative costs, whether or not the matter proceeds to completion, plus the costs of any land registry fees incurred.

If we agree to enter in to an agreement, you will have to pay an arrangement fee for the Council to enter into a contract with the home on your behalf. There will also be an annual fee payable for each year of the agreement. These fees can be paid upon application or you can choose to defer them. If you defer them, you will have to pay interest on the fees from the start date of the agreement. There will also be a final fee for the council to discharge its legal charge when the property is sold, or where the debt is repaid by other means.

How will my decision affect my entitlement to benefits?

If you receive help from the council your entitlement to certain benefits may be affected. We will discuss this with you during the financial assessment. Further information can be found in the Deferred Payment Information Leaflet (PDF).

Can I go into a home that charges more than the council will pay?

If you choose a home that charges more than the council usually expects to pay you will have to make arrangements to pay a top-up. A top-up is the difference between what the council will pay and the cost of the home you choose. Family or friends can pay it on your behalf or, if you can afford to, you can pay it yourself.

During the '12 week property disregard' period you can pay the top-up from capital (excluding the disregarded property) or income that we do not take into account in the assessment. The top-up will be in addition to what you have already been assessed to pay, based upon your income and capital.

If you enter a deferred payment agreement you can:

  • Continue to pay the top-up yourself
  • Ask Family or friends to pay it on your behalf
  • Add the top-up to your deferred payment.

The council must be satisfied that you are able to afford a more expensive home for the duration of the deferred payment agreement.

Can I get help paying for nursing care?

If you move to a nursing home you will get the nursing element of your care paid for by the National Health Service (NHS). Nursing care is care provided by a registered nurse and is different to personal care. A nurse will assess you to see how much the NHS will pay. The NHS will pay the assessed amount direct to the home.

Complete an Online Financial Assessment

You can complete a financial assessment now using our Online Financial Assessment tool to find out how much you may have to pay. You can complete the assessment for your information only, or you can choose to send the details to us for verification. You will need information on your savings and outgoings to hand before you start.

Files available to download

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