Paying for dementia care if you have a partner

A financial assessment for care should only take into account the assets of the person with dementia, even if they have a partner. 

Paying for care and support in England
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Does your spouse or partner have to pay for care?

If a person with dementia has a partner, financial assessment forms may ask about their finances too. This will decide what belongs to the person with dementia and what belongs to their partner.

Once this is done, the assessment should only take into account the finances of the person who needs care.

The only exception to this is where it’s financially advantageous to them to be assessed as a couple.

Financial assessment for care in England

To help them decide who will pay for a person with dementia’s care, a local authority will carry out a financial assessment.

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If you have a joint account or other shared assets

If the person with dementia has joint bank accounts or other assets held jointly, the assessment can only take into account the share belonging to them.

It will be assumed that the person’s share is half (50%) of these joint assets, unless the person can show otherwise.

Can you give away assets to avoid care fees?

The Care Act guidance is clear that people should be treated with dignity and respect and be able to spend their money as they wish. However, local authorities must not reward people who are avoiding paying their contribution.

Deprivation of assets

A person may want to transfer an asset to someone else in order to avoid it being used to pay for their care. This is called a deliberate deprivation of assets.

For example, someone may transfer money into someone else’s bank account, or transfer ownership of a property into someone else’s name. 

When deciding whether a derivation of assets has taken place, the local authority will consider: 

  • the motivation for disposing of the asset
  • whether they had a reasonable expectation of needing care and support at the time
  • whether there was an expectation of needing to contribute to the cost of their care.

Any attempt not to include an asset in the financial assessment may be seen by the local authority as a deliberate deprivation of assets. If this happens, the local authority may assess the person as if they still owned the asset.

Do you have to sell your house to pay for care?

Whether a home is taken into consideration during a financial assessment depends on where the person with dementia is receiving care. If the person is living in a care home, their home may be included.

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