4. Financial assessments
Not everyone will be eligible to have care or support paid for by their local authority. This eligibility is determined through a financial assessment of the person receiving the care or support.
Unlike the process for assessing a person's needs, the procedures for charging for care in the person's own home, the time it takes to assess whether someone has to pay, and the amounts charged, all vary between local authorities. Charges should always be 'reasonable'. Government guidance sets out a broad framework for local authorities to follow, so that people can afford to receive services.
The local authority will calculate the cost of the services to be provided (such as home care, frozen meals or a person who is providing care and is directly employed by the person or the carer) and then financially assess the person using the local authority's own charging policy. From this they will work out how much the person should contribute to the cost of these services. The local authority must provide a breakdown of how they worked out the charge.
Local authorities can charge a flat rate for low-level, low-cost care and support, or set a flat rate for care and support such as preparing meals or doing laundry. If a local authority charges a flat rate, it is not obliged to undertake a financial assessment.
There is a maximum weekly charge that any local authority can impose for services at home.
If the person with dementia or their carer thinks the charge for these services is unreasonable, or if the person with dementia is unable or unwilling to pay, they should ask the local authority whether it can reduce or waive the charge. A service cannot be discontinued simply because a person is unable to pay. However, a local authority can take the matter to court to recover the payment from the person.
If the person with dementia needs to move into a care home, the local authority will assess the person's income and savings according to national rules.