The Impact of Means Testing for the Cost of Care

The cost to you of care delivered by a local authority or trust is determined by a Care Assessment, which takes into account what your needs are and the services required and then Means Testing, which looks at how much capital and income you have that can be taken into account to offset the cost to the provider.

The lower capital limit for 2015/2016 is £14,250. This means that if you have capital below this amount, it should be ignored for the financial assessment. If the person’s capital is between £14,250 and £23,250, £1 a week for every £250 is taken into account as income. So, if the person has capital of £4,000 above the lower capital limit, £16 will be taken into account as income a week.

For residential care, the value of the person’s home may be taken into account as capital. However, there are exceptions to this rule such as when certain people will remain in the home. For non-residential services, the value of the person’s home should not be taken into account as capital.

Means Testing, when deciding how much income you have, takes into account only some income. Certain types of income are always ignored, including:

  • earnings (employed or self-employed)
  • the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit

The local council can treat disability related benefits, such as the care component of DLA, the daily living component of PIP, or Attendance Allowance – as income. If they do, they should deduct any disability related expenditure before they take it into account as income. Examples of disability related expenditure could include:

  • laundry and specialist washing powders
  • special dietary requirements
  • special clothing or footwear
  • extra bedding, for example, because of incontinence
  • extra heating or water costs
  • garden maintenance, private cleaning, or domestic help, if needed because of disability and not provided by social services
  • privately arranged care services, including respite care
  • the purchase, maintenance and repair of disability related equipment
  • transport costs needed because of disability, over and above the mobility component of DLA or PIP

This list is not exhaustive. Other items can be included as long as they are reasonably needed for the person to live at home. Most other benefits will be taken into account as income in full. If not going into residential care, you can be charged for home care services, however the value of your home is not taken into account when working out how much you have to pay.