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Challenging the inclusion of a property in a financial assessment

twinklestar

Registered User
Sep 14, 2014
84
My brother and I are keen to challenge the inclusion of our mother's property in the financial assessment that was recently undertaken.

Our mother has recently gone into 24/7 care and we are currently sorting out matters financial and legal. The property we live in is owned by our mother. Mr brother and I have lived here all our lives. We have chosen to do so to care for our parents. This is the only home we have ever known. We, therefore, wish to challenge the inclusion of our mother's property/our home in the financial assessment. Has anyone challenged the inclusion of a property? How did they do it? Any advice or tips and tricks would be welcome. My brother and I are in our 50s and are not disabled. Our father died 12 years ago.
 

Saffie

Registered User
Mar 26, 2011
22,510
Near Southampton
Have you read the AS's Factsheet on Paying for Care?
If not, this might help.

Property and the financial assessment for care home fees

If the person with dementia owns their own home, this may be included in the financial assessment to determine who pays care home fees. However, the home will not be taken into account if one of the following people also lives in the property, and will continue to live there after the person has moved into a care home:
• a husband, wife or civil partner
•a close relative over the age of 60 (as set out in the guidance used by local authorities)
•a dependent child
•a relative who is disabled or incapacitated.

In cases where the person's house is also the permanent home of a carer, the local authority has discretion to decide whether or not to include the value of the home in the assessment for as long as they are living there. This applies especially in cases where the carer has given up their own home to care for the person. They may also allow the carer to continue to occupy the home while charging the fees against the home. Such a deferred payment agreement (DPA) (see below) means the fees can be recovered by the local authority when the property is sold.

Where the value of a person's home is included in a financial assessment, this should not be taken into account for the first 12 weeks of the person living in the care home. This is called the 12-week property disregard. This may mean that, during this time, the local authority will pay or contribute towards someone's fees. This grace period can enable a family to arrange to sell the home, or speak to the local authority about other options. If the home is not sold after 12 weeks, the local authority can continue to pay the care home fees via a deferred payment agreement. This means the local authority will claim back the money it has paid in care fees once the home is sold.
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
9,132
Yorkshire
Not sure there's much you can do as the house is hers - but no doubt if you are paying her full market rent and paying all the bills, so really you are her tenants, that will help your case to stay in the house as your home.
 

Pete R

Registered User
Jul 26, 2014
2,038
Staffs
How did they do it? Any advice or tips and tricks would be welcome. My brother and I are in our 50s and are not disabled.
Hi twinklestar,

You have to apply for what is called a Discretionary Disregard and I am surprised that whoever conducted the financial assessment did not tell you about the process.

I am applying for one on my Mom's house. I gave up my life and career abroad to come back to the UK to care for her 12 years ago so your case seems somewhat stronger. Mine has been refused and I am now on my second appeal.

The assessor basically submitted a letter I wrote outlining all the circumstances of how long I had lived in the house, the amount of care I had given my Mom and the sacrifices I had made to keep her out of full time care as long as I could. It also stated that I would be effectively made homeless and was unable to return to my previous life. Obviously your circumstances are different but it all needs writing down.

The legal department wrote an horrendous letter back refusing saying I had made a life style choice, that the care I had provided was minimal and I should have anticipated that my Mom would eventually need full time care and therefore should have bought my own house nearby.

The appeal process is the same as any other complaint against the LA and when that is exhausted you then have the option to go to the Local Government Ombudsman. You should contact them for a reference number on your first refusal as they told me the time delays used by the LA are useful in making their decision. It took them 8 months to respond to the last appeal. I am sure they will keep on refusing in the hope I will give in.

I submitted a Freedom of Information request and discovered that over the last 5 years 17 applications had been made to my LA and not one had been allowed.

This has been going on now for over a year and The New Care Act came in last April. In the guidance to the Act.......
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploa.../file/366104/43380_23902777_Care_Act_Book.pdf
Annexe B Sec 42 covers Discretionary Disregard and gives an example of where it could be applied........

"Jayne has the early signs of dementia but wishes to continue living in her own home. She is not assessed as having eligible needs, but would benefit from some occasional support. Her best friend Penny gives up her own home to move in with Jayne. At this point, there is no suggestion that Jayne may need residential care.
After 5 years Jayne’s dementia has reached the point where she needs a far greater level of care and support and following an assessment it is agreed her needs would best be met in a care home. On moving into the care home, the local authority uses its discretion to apply the property disregard as this has now become Penny’s main or only home."


Not exactly your circumstances but way less of a threshold in my opinion.

Whilst the appeal process goes on I am entering into an Deferred Payment Agreement with the LA where they will pay Mom's fees and reclaim the money back on her death or if the property is sold. When ;) my appeal is successful that can be cancelled and monies refunded. This is well worth asking if it is possible for yourself.

The other important thing to remember is that if you are ultimately unsuccessful and decide to remain in the house and not sell then The house will be automatically disregarded on your 60th Birthday. (I have 4 years to go).

Let me know if I can help in any way and well done to you both for looking after your parents.:)
 
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Spiro

Registered User
Mar 11, 2012
522
Having spoken to both Independent Age and Age UK, it seems that some LA's have a limited understanding of the Care Act (all 500 odd pages of it) and are still getting to grips with it.

If the main carer has to move out of their home so it can be sold to pay for care fees, then surely the council has an obligation to rehouse them.

Do please give the charities above a call, I've found them to be very helpful and well informed. Age UK is open 365 days a year!