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Charging for non-residential services

Introduction

The council's charging policy for Non-Residential Services has been produced in accordance with the Care Act 2014. The Care and Support (Charging and Assessment of Resources) Regulations 2014 set out local authority's responsibilities and came into force on 1 April 2015.

The council's policy sets out how we assess the amount you will be required to pay towards your care package based on a financial assessment of your income and savings.

What do we mean by Non-Residential Services?

Non-Residential Services refers to services which enable you live in your own home, for example:

  • Domiciliary Care
  • Day Care / Day Opportunities
  • Meals taken in a Day Centre or Day Opportunities
  • Supported Living
  • Extra Care Housing
  • Direct Payments

How will I know what I must pay for my care package?

Your social worker will tell you how much services cost. If you do not wish to disclose your financial details, you will be asked to sign a form agreeing to pay the rate set by the council for the services you receive.

If you request a financial assessment, you will be asked to sign a form so that we can check your benefit payments with the Pension Service to help us to work out how much you will have to pay.

Your social worker will let the Payments and Charges Team know which services you are receiving, and a member of staff will then send out a financial assessment form either by post or to your email address.

Financial assessment

The financial assessment is a means tested assessment and will be offered when you receive any non-residential services (except for Careline services).

A finance officer will calculate how much you will be assessed to pay based on your income and savings.

A finance officer will inform you if you are not in receipt of the correct benefits to ensure that you are receiving your maximum benefit entitlement. They will advise you on the benefits that you will need to claim to maximise your income.

Information you are required to provide

The finance officer will require the following information to complete your financial assessment:

  • National Insurance Number
  • Details of Benefits e.g. (Retirement Pension, Pension Credit, Income Support, Employment Support Allowance, Universal Credit, Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment). Your award letter from DWP or Job Centre Plus will show these details.
  • Details of Private (Occupational) Pension
  • Details of any other income
  • Bank Statements
  • Any other financial investment e.g. ISA, Premium Bonds, Shares etc
  • Tenancy Agreement
  • Council Tax bill
  • Mortgage payment details
  • Extra costs of disability

How much will I pay?

The amount we ask you to pay is based on your income and savings less allowances and disregards. We also make an allowance for disability related expenditure of which you may be required to provide proof such as receipts. These items are explained in more detail below.

The actual amount you will have to pay will depend on the amount of services you receive, but you will not be asked to pay more than the full cost of the service.

The finance officer will provide you with details of the financial assessment they complete and the amount you will be required to pay each week.

Income

The following income will be included in your financial assessment:

  • all state benefits
  • works / occupational pension
  • tariff income on savings between £14,250 and £23,250
  • any other income.

Savings

If you have savings that you hold jointly with your partner, we will assume you have equal shares.

Savings over £23,250 - you will be required to pay the rate set by the council for the services you receive.

Savings between £14,250 and £23,250 - you will have to pay £1 a week for every £250 or part of £250 of your savings. This is called Tariff Income.

Example:  If you have £15,000 savings, £14,250 is disregarded and tariff income of £3 per week is considered as income.

Tariff Income is meant to represent an amount that a person with savings over a certain limit should be able to contribute towards their care costs, not the interest earning capacity of those savings.

Savings under £14,250 - the amount you pay will depend on your financial assessment.

What do we consider as allowances for living costs?

The Government determine the Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) amount that someone should be left with to cover their living costs. These amounts are set out in the Care & Support (Charging & Assessment of Resources) Regulations.

  • Mortgage payments
  • Rent payments
  • Council Tax payments
  • Ground Rent
  • Service Charges (if part of a tenancy agreement)

What income do we disregard?

  • Disability Living Allowance / PIP (Mobility Component)
  • War Pensions
  • Earnings from Employment

What do we allow as disability related expenditure?

Disability related expenditure will be individually assessed. A fixed weekly amount will be used where possible. Evidence of expenditure will be required to verify that items claimed have been purchased.

Examples of disability related expenditure are listed below. This list is not exhaustive, and you will have the opportunity to have further items considered.

  • Wheelchair (Manual/Powered) - If purchased privately
  • Stair lift - If purchased privately
  • Prescription Charges (If you are not eligible for free prescriptions)
  • Careline
  • Private Care Costs (providing it has been agreed by your social worker)
  • Heating Costs (in excess of Government guidelines depending on property type/occupancy)
  • Specialist Footwear
  • Basic Garden Maintenance
  • Basic Cleaning Services

Two carers

Where a care package requires two personal care assistants, a charge will be made for both assistants.

Direct Payments

This charging policy will also apply to you if you choose to receive a Direct Payment. The amount you are assessed to pay will be deducted from your Direct Payment.

Meals and transport

Charges for Day Centre meals and transport are flat rate charges and are in addition to your assessed weekly charge.

What happens if my care package changes?

Depending on your care package and assessed charge, if there is a change in the services you receive, your charge may change and be adjusted accordingly.

What if the service is not provided?

You will not generally be charged for services that are not provided. However, we do expect you to inform your care provider in advance of planned absences such as holidays, days out, hospital appointments etc so that we can cancel your service for that period.

It is important that you let your care provider know so that you are not charged for cancelled services you have not received. If you do not notify your care provider and the council incurs a cost as a result, then you may be charged for this.

What happens if my financial circumstances change?

If you have any change in financial circumstances e.g. your state benefits change, or your savings increase above the capital limits, you must notify the customer finance team as soon as possible on (01744) 675351.

Your financial assessment will be revised, and you will be notified of any change in your weekly charge. You are entitled to request a review of your charge at any time.

Financial re-assessment

We will review your charge in April each year to take account of increases in benefits and private pension. If you are in receipt of state benefits only, we will revise your charge automatically; otherwise we will apply a percentage uplift.

What if I disagree with the assessed charge?

If you do not agree with the amount of charges you have been asked to pay, you can ask the Payments and Charges Team to review your charge. You also have the right to complain through the Integrated Social Care and Health Services Department's Complaints Procedure.

How will I pay my charges?

For a commissioned service, you will receive an invoice every four weeks in arrears. If you receive a Direct Payment, you will have your charge deducted from this payment before it is made to you.

There are several methods of payment, which are shown on the reverse side of the invoice.

If you would like to pay your charges by Direct Debit, you must wait until you have received your first invoice. You can then contact the Income Section on (01744) 675271 and arrangements will be made with you to pay by this method.

Debt management

All arrears will be followed up promptly and sensitively, in accordance with council debt recovery policy.

If you are having difficulty paying your charges it is important that you contact the Payments and Charges Team on 01744 676352 immediately to discuss your situation.

The use of the legal debt recovery process will be used as a last resort and may include court action.

Contact numbers

Invoice enquiries - 01744 676575, customerfinance@sthelens.gov.uk

St Helens Borough Council Contact Centre - 01744 676789, www.sthelens.gov.uk

The Pension Service / DWP - 0800 731 0469

(State Retirement Pension / Pension Credit) - www.gov.uk/contact-pension-service

Disability benefits - www.gov.uk/disability-benefits-helpline

(Disability Living Allowance / Attendance Allowance) - 0800 731 0122

(Personal Independence Payments) - 0800 917 2222

Citizens Advice (St Helens) appointments - 01744 737866, www.sthelenscab.org.uk

St Helens Carers Centre - 01744 675615, www.sthelenscarers.org.uk

DASH (Disability Advice and Information in St Helens) - 01744 45053, www.sthelensils.com

Age UK - 0800 169 6565, www.ageuk.org.uk

Independent Age - 0800 319 6789, www.independentage.org.uk

First Stop - 0800 377 7070, www.firststopcareadvice.org.uk