The legal framework and regulations concerning care fee planning in the UK are primarily governed by the Care Act 2014, which outlines the responsibilities of local authorities and the rights of individuals in need of care and support. Means testing is a fundamental component of the financial assessment process within this legal framework.


Care Act 2014:


The Care Act 2014 brought significant changes to the social care system in England, emphasising the promotion of individual wellbeing and person-centred care. The Act puts certain requirements on local authorities to ensure that those seeking or needing care are looked after. Key elements include:


Assessment of Needs: Local authorities must assess an individual’s care and support needs, considering their well-being and desired outcomes. This holistic evaluation covers physical, mental, and emotional needs.


Duty of Local Authorities: Local councils have a duty to provide support to individuals whose needs meet the eligibility criteria, ensuring they receive adequate care and assistance.


Carer Support: The Act acknowledges the critical role of carers and imposes a duty on local authorities to assess and provide support to unpaid caregivers.


Care and Support Planning: This involves creating a care plan tailored to the individual’s needs and preferences, outlining the type of care and support to be provided.


Means Testing:


Means testing is a significant aspect of the Care Act and determines an individual’s financial eligibility for local authority support. The financial assessment considers the individual’s income, savings, assets, and property to determine the level of contribution they should make towards their care costs. The means test seeks to ensure fairness in the allocation of public funds for social care.


Local authorities assess an individual’s total capital (savings, property, investments) and income (pensions, benefits, etc.) to calculate how much they can contribute to their care costs.


Following the financial assessment, individuals may receive a personal budget, representing the amount the local authority will contribute toward their care. This can be used to purchase care services or manage care needs.


There are upper limits set by the government, and individuals with capital below these limits may be eligible for more financial support. At the time of writing, if you have capital of £23,250 or over you will need to pay for your care in full. With assets below this, you will receive support from the local authority towards the cost of your care, but this is incremental passed on the level of your capital.



Deprivation of Assets:


Authorities can investigate instances where individuals deliberately divest assets to avoid paying for care. If it’s found that assets were given away to avoid care costs, these assets might still be considered when determining care fees.


Legislation Across the UK


It’s important to note that means testing and eligibility criteria can vary between different regions and are specifically related to care in England.


Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have their own legal frameworks for social care, which may differ from those in England. Seeking advice from legal and financial professionals well-versed in local regulations is crucial for effective care fee planning.


There are many ways in which you can protect your assets against the cost of future care fees, and our experts are able to look at your individual circumstances and identify tailored solutions to do just this.

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If you need such advice, speak to us today. Call Stuart on 01254 88 08 34, email, talk to us via live chat or alternatively complete our Contact Us form and one of our expert advisors will be in touch.



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