In April, the government reviews national benefits and the legislation on charging that all local authorities must follow. This includes capital thresholds, personal allowances and disregards.
Essex County Council take this opportunity to review its policies or change the way it charges (within statutory guidance published by the Department of Health).
Changes ECC have made from 10 April 2017:
- Reducing the upper capital threshold from £27,000 to £23,250 for domiciliary care.
- Charge for domiciliary services from the date care starts (continued for residential).
- Review domiciliary financial assessments to remove expenses that are not directly linked to a service users disability and are over and above care funded by Essex County Council. Their social worker will determine and authorise the need.
- Increase the cap on the maximum payment made towards domiciliary care from £784.00 per week to £1085.00 per week.
- Reduce the amount of 'Income Protected' guaranteeing minimum income within a domiciliary financial assessment, to £189.00 per week.
- Include as 'Notional Capital' the value of any second property owned ( such as a holiday home) for all care types (but continue to ignore the value of the home they live in for domiciliary care).
We will write to you in February/March to advise what changes have been made and in turn may have affected your assessed charge. We will enclose a factsheet which will explain things in more detail Please make sure you read the documents thoroughly.
You must review your financial records using the breakdown of your financial assessment that will be enclosed and let us know about anything that’s different, such as a change to your income, savings or expenses. Don’t forget to send us evidence of this change.
You will need to refer to the following factsheets:
March/April is a busy time of year for us and it may be difficult to get through on the telephone so there may be a delay in responding to your email or letter. The following list may answer some of the questions you have.
Why have you increased my private / occupational pension when there has been no change to the amount I receive
Most private / occupational pensions increase every year. Due to the high volume of annual reassessments, the whole process has to be automatic and therefore rules must be applied to all cases. Please email or write to us and we'll review your financial assessment.
Only 'income’ has been increased on the reassessment, but my capital / savings have changed and my expenses are higher than shown. Why did you not increase these?
The government income figures are either set amounts or percentage changes, which apply to everyone. Savings and expenses are relevant to individuals and we cannot estimate or guess their increases or decreases. Please email or write to us and we’ll review your financial assessment. We cannot accept figures over the telephone.
You have removed a lot of my expenses from my domiciliary financial assessment which has caused my assessed charge to increase. Why?
Essex County Council has taken the decision to review expenses and will now only consider expenses which are directly linked to your disability and not funded by any care you receive from us, as directed by your social worker. If you consider that your expenses are linked your disability and want us to reconsider them, you must contact us and we will put you in touch with an Adult Social Care representative who will discuss your care needs, care plan and financial assessment outcome.
My domiciliary assessed charge states that I must pay £1085.00 per week, I cant afford this
£1085.00 is the maximum you will pay. You will be charged for your services up to that amount based on what care you are receiving. Please look at the charges page where it tells you how much each service is plus it provides some examples of how you can work out how much your invoice will be.
Why has my assessed charge decreased / increased more than in previous years?
There are several factors which can affect your assessed charge issued by the government and Essex County Council. This means the outcome of an annual reassessment will vary from year to year and will never be the same. Please see information above about changes from 10 April 2017.
I have a financial representative, why did you send a letter to me?
If you would like your letters sent to your financial representative, you will need to make this clear when completing your financial assessment, otherwise they will be sent to you. You can also nominate a representative to speak to us on your behalf.
If you didn’t have a representative at the time you completed your financial assessment but do now, you will need to write to us. We have a legal obligation to protect your personal information under the Data Protection Act and will not speak or write to anyone without your permission.
My circumstances have changed and I no longer receive the service the letter refers to, why did you send it?
This could be because:
- You have recently cancelled your care package and no longer have a service
- You now receive a different type of service so the letter is not relevant to the services in place
There may be a crossover period and the letter was produced before we were notified of any changes to your services. Once we receive the paperwork we will update our records. Don’t worry - you will not be charged for any services you are not receiving.
I didn't use the care services planned for me. The letter is no longer relevant.
It may be we have not been notified. Please contact us and we’ll update our records. Don’t worry - you will not be charged for any services you are not receiving.
Who do I contact if I want to cancel my services?
Please speak to your social worker before you make any decisions.
Why have you included an amount for Pension Credits in my Permanent Residential Financial Assessment when I'm not in receipt of these benefits?
We include any entitlement you have to Pension Credits within a Permanent Financial Assessment. Therefore, you must make a claim. We will not remove it without a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions stating there is no entitlement.
There are lots of changes to be made and the annual reassessment is inaccurate. Can I have a new financial assessment form to complete?
Yes you can but you don't have to complete a full assessment, you can write to us, including evidence. However, if you would like a full review, contact your social worker who can either send us a referral for a visiting officer who will help you fill in the form or they can send you a financial assessment form to self-complete.