Who pays for your care?
Funding for social care such as intervenors, communicator guides, residential care and support workers is complex and may come from various different sources. There are currently five main sources of funding:
Social services may pay for the whole cost of your support if you have eligible needs and low income and savings. You should have a needs assessment which will decide what your needs are and which are eligible for support. This assessment should be carried out by someone specifically trained to assess a deafblind person.
If your needs are eligible for support then you will have a financial assessment to see if you need to pay anything towards the support. If you don’t have enough income or savings for this, then social services should pay for your service. You should be given a personal budget which sets out how much it will cost to meet your needs, how much you have to pay and therefore how much the local authority will pay.
Social services have different streams of funding which they can use to pay for your support. As well as their general budget from council tax and from central government, there are also specific funds for particular purposes.
Councils can use this to pay for your care, but this shouldn’t make any difference to you. You should simply receive support without having to worry about what funding stream is paying for it.
If the funding stream is reduced, for instance if the Government cuts it or changes what it is to be used for, the council should not reduce your support. You should receive the support that your assessment says you need unless your needs change. If your support is changed without a reassessment, or if you disagree with the change, you should ask for advice.
You may have needs which relate to your health, and the National Health Service (NHS) should pay for these. Sometimes a package of care will be part funded by health services and part by social services. This should not affect you. Normally social services arrange the support and reclaims the NHS contribution. You should not be left without a service while the NHS and social services argue over who is going to pay.
Some people’s needs are seen to be predominantly health needs and should be funded entirely by the NHS. This is a system called Continuing Health Care (CHC). If your needs increase, you may find that what was a jointly funded support package becomes fully NHS funded.
NHS funded support should be entirely free. The NHS now provides direct payments, so you should be able to have a degree of control over how your personal budget is spent. There is now the possibility of having a joint health and social care budget.
You may have to pay for some or all of your care yourself. Social services should still arrange it, but they may charge you. They will do a financial assessment to see if you should be paying towards your support. There is guidance on what you can be charged which must be followed. If you have a financial assessment and you think you are being charged too much, get advice.
If you have savings above £23,500, you will be expected to pay for the whole cost of your support. If your savings fall below this then you may be able to get some free care.
If you have chargeable income above income support +25 per cent (35 per cent in Wales), then you may be charged. Chargeable income does not include earned income if you work, but does include pension income and some benefits.
Disabled people are entitled to a range of benefits, such as Disability Living Allowance (DLA), or Attendance Allowance, which you can use to pay for support. Please note that the process of DLA being replaced by a new benefit, Personal Independence Payment (PIP), began in April 2013. From now on, all new claims must be for PIP rather than DLA for everyone aged btween 16 and 64. Children under 16 should still claim DLA.
If you have to pay social services for your support, then some benefits (such as the DLA care component) may be taken into account as income, to calculate any contributions towards payment for this support.
Social services should ignore other benefits (such as DLA mobility component) when deciding if you can afford to pay for your care. If you are in doubt about benefits or charging you should get advice.
First published: Thursday 5 July 2012
Updated: Tuesday 6 December 2016