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Council Financial Assessment

Discussion in 'Legal and financial issues' started by Lhg, Mar 11, 2015.

  1. Lhg

    Lhg Registered User

    Dec 28, 2012
    42
    #1 Lhg, Mar 11, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2015
    Dear All,

    Firstly I'm very grateful that this forum exists.

    From reading other posts about council's financial assessment for residential care apparently they aren't standardised, but could anyone tell me if to ask someone for "details of accounts which have been closed over the last five years" regular procedure/or has anyone also been asked this.

    Many thanks for advice/experience.
     
  2. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    4,776
    Salford
    It would seem like a logical question for them to ask as there may have been an account with thousands in that you've cleaned out (not that I'm implying in any way that you're that kind of a person:eek:) and so deprived them of an asset that could go towards paying for care or impact on any benefits they may be entitled to.
    But you can see why they ask, I would expect that "not that I'm aware of" would be a good enough answer.
    K
     
  3. Lhg

    Lhg Registered User

    Dec 28, 2012
    42
    Thanks for your reply, but they actually haven't had any account information yet, so not sure how they can assume anything quite yet. This is the first question they've asked (along with bank statements for the last year - and that to me is understandable).
     
  4. jaymor

    jaymor Volunteer Moderator

    Jul 14, 2006
    12,556
    Female
    England
    I think it is possibly a standard question for them to ask. It is sad that it has to be asked but they will be very aware that there are people who hide money and unfortunately because of this everyone gets asked the question.
     
  5. Raggedrobin

    Raggedrobin Registered User

    Jan 20, 2014
    1,427
    I don't think, in fact, I am sure we weren't asked that. We had to supply details of accounts held in the last 2 years only.
     
  6. Lhg

    Lhg Registered User

    Dec 28, 2012
    42
    Thanks Raggedrobin that's useful to know. The council already making an accusation of a deprivation of assets before seeing any documents, or before even informing me they were doing a financial assessment, so it feels quite unpleasant.
     
  7. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,438
    That's why they are asking for details of accounts closed over the last 5 years. I realise that this sounds a bit "chicken and egg" but it's inevitable that if there is even the whiff of suspicion re Deprivation, they will go further back than they might normally.

    I must point out that while assets disposed of more than 6 months before an LA assessment that a care home is required are excluded, so section 21 of HASSASSA (Health and Social Services and Social Security Adjudications Act 1983) will not apply, the LA may still have recourse to regulation 25(1) of the National Assistance (Assessment of Resources) Regulations 1992 (which basically says: if you should have capital and you have disposed of it to avoid fees, you can be treated as still having said capital).
     
  8. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    4,776
    Salford
    You don't say where you are but I had a quick look on line and from their websites:

    Croyden council asks for "Bank statements for all accounts you hold dating back to the last 6 months". was the first one that came up.
    Stockton on Tees Council asks "If you have disposed or transferred any property/assets within the last few years please give details below."

    So it's a pretty normal question, but 5 years seems a little excessive.

    I don't know why "The council already making an accusation of a deprivation of assets before..." a friend of mine did get treated with some "suspicion" as his mother was asset rich but cash poor, in that she had a very big house and very little money in the bank, the house was disregarded (part owned by her children and an elderly relative living in it) and it seemed to p the council off they were going to be picking up the bill.
    K
     
  9. dave1946

    dave1946 Registered User

    Mar 12, 2015
    2
    Purely out of curiosity, I must ask:

    If one were simply to fail to mention some asset or bank account during the assessment process (particularly an asset that had been disposed of, or and account that had been closed), could the authority discover the omission? - if so, how?
     
  10. Saffie

    Saffie Registered User

    Mar 26, 2011
    22,499
    Female
    Near Southampton
    With so much information available these days, I think they have the ways and means to check things.
     
  11. Lhg

    Lhg Registered User

    Dec 28, 2012
    42
    #11 Lhg, Mar 12, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 17, 2015
    thank you

    Thank you so so much for all your answers. To be honest my blood just ran cold when I read that. I believe that they were trying to build a case against me from the off (without any evidence). Unfortunately I had a terrible lawyer (and even more unfortunately just realised this) and she has just been acquiesced to everything they asked, without telling me that this isn't usual practice. I feel slightly faint as my gut instincts knew something was wrong! This is all a ploy to get my mother's half of the property. I even told them I have a fax from the social worker to the GP saying I was reluctant for my mother to go into a home. In fact it was the Council's decision and not mine to send my mother to a nursing home (I wanted to keep her at home). I just wrote to the local MP to tell them of all the games/threats. He said he'll take up my case, but concerned that the Council will promise to behave and then revert to form. Anyway, at this point, I am so incredibly grateful for all your responses and taking the time to read and advise me. I think I need a stiff drink!
     
  12. Lhg

    Lhg Registered User

    Dec 28, 2012
    42
    #12 Lhg, Mar 12, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2015
    Just to add that I personally spent a vast amount of my own money looking after my mother, which makes it even worse. I think it's important to let people know how underhand councils can be, they did a financial assessment apparently last July, without informing me or asking me for any information (and my mother has very severe Alzheimer's so they couldn't ask her), five months after "the assessment" and after the property disregard period had passed, they demanded a large amount of money within 14 days. I've been fighting them since. To be honest it's absolutely threatening and based on nothing.
     
  13. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    4,776
    Salford
    #13 Kevinl, Mar 12, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 17, 2015
    NAME OF COUNCIL REMOVED don't put the assessment form on line (as far as I can find) so there's no way of knowing if 5 years is an unusual request, your original question.
    In post 12 you say "This is all a ploy to get my mother's half of the property" if the property is half owned then it is virtually impossible for the council to make this happen and by virtually I mean not possible without the consent of the other owner/s.
    In post 13 you say "five months after "the assessment" and after the property disregard period had passed, they demanded over £9,000 within 14 days".
    No one can force the other half owner to sell their share in a house if they don't want to. Any valuation of the house would have to be made on the basis of buy half a house the other half belongs to a total stranger so effectively it's valueless.
    I can't ask you to put the whole lot here in the public domain unless you're happy to do that but the bits of the jigsaw aren't fitting into place and some of the things like asking you for 9k in 14 days?
    Unless they have substantial proof you've been part of a scam of some sort to hide assets then they don't have any right to ask you for any money at all.
    K
     
  14. Lhg

    Lhg Registered User

    Dec 28, 2012
    42
    #14 Lhg, Mar 13, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 17, 2015
    Sorry, I should have said that the demands were for my mother's savings and not mine. Even if they suspected something, which of course is their right, they shouldn't have carried out a "financial assessment" without informing me (as my mother's POA), and five months after doing so, when by the a bill for per week care had wracked up to a huge amount and demand payment (with the odd threat of court action). I objected to how the assessment was carried out. I had hoped to contribute towards the care bill through a tenant, but now it was a case of a debt (or debt recovery). As I say, they conducted it behind my back, looked at the land registry, jumped to conclusions (while still not asking me for any information, or even how much money she currently has, which I'd be happy to give). And as I say, the lawyer didn't explain to me that the 5 year bank statements were not exactly the norm. Of course my mother's savings should go towards her care, it isn't an issue, but as they seem to accuse/threaten first and ask second, and so I need to be clear exactly what's going on and what's the norm or normish. I just suspected something was wrong.

    Thanks again. And thanks for checking. I have find it quite difficult to find information on NAME OF COUNCIL REMOVED site, other than PR stuff.
     
  15. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    19,277
    Male
    North Manchester
    #15 nitram, Mar 13, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 17, 2015
    "...they did a financial assessment apparently last July, without informing me or asking me for any information (and my mother has very severe Alzheimer's so they couldn't ask her)..."

    Not in line with:-

    You will need to complete a Financial Assessment form so we can work out how much you must pay and how much the Council should contribute.

    Your social worker or caremanager will give you a financial declaration form. If you do not receive a form, please contact the Financial Assessment Team at NAME OF COUNCIL REMOVED Council who will send one to you.



    Unless it's your fault for not asking for one when you did not get one!!!!!!

    Seems crazy that the financial department proceed without either a completed form or a documented refusal to complete one, perhaps somebody documented that your mother refused to fill in a form!!!!!
     
  16. Lhg

    Lhg Registered User

    Dec 28, 2012
    42
    Thank you so much for that information. It's really useful. No social worker or care manager got in touch. My mother had a social worker, but he never spoke to me about anything beyond placing her in the home and then about CHC. In fact no one gave me a form, or spoke to me - all I got was the invoice from the finance team, and then the insinuations. Why didn't they just send me a form initially, even if they didn't speak to me? They could well have said my mother refused to fill in the form - ha, at this point I'd believe it!!! It has been truly crazy. What I really needed was to know how things should be carried out, so this is very helpful. I just felt bullied. I can't believe the lawyer didn't mention any of this. Wow.
     
  17. Raggedrobin

    Raggedrobin Registered User

    Jan 20, 2014
    1,427
    Hi again, I am slightly confused by the situation. You said the council looked at the land registry and then were after the house. Does this mean you don't 'officially' own the other half of the house, or have acquired it since your mother has been ill? I ask, because I wonder if this is why they are suspicious?

    It does still seem very odd they didn't actually send you the financial assessment if you have poa for your mum, how could she fill it in? i don't get that either. But then you say something about debts, does it mean that you or her owe the council money or something? I feel as if we are missing something that might explain their odd behaviour?:confused:
     
  18. Lhg

    Lhg Registered User

    Dec 28, 2012
    42
    #18 Lhg, Mar 16, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2015
    Hi, no I do own half the house. my father left his half to me. I only registered it last year, because I was unaware that I needed to do so at the land registry. The council saw this and jumped to all kinds of conclusions (i.e. that there was no transfer of monies - as they put it). Of course i have all the documents, which i sent them. But that was after the fact - they didn't come to me initially, or give me forms to fill in, when i could have given them all the information they needed. Rather as I say they did the financial assessment without my participation, looked at registry records without informing me and then made accusations and demands for statements. However, by that time (from june to november i think) - there was already a £9,000 owning to them for my mother's care home fees, but again it was only a debt because they didn't tell me that they'd already done financial assessment (or rather hadn't bothered to ask me). i know everyone wants to make sense of this situation, but this is all i can tell you. the bottom line is that they didn't follow procedure and then made accusations (before asking me for documents or bank statements). as I say, the first I knew that there had even been a financial assessment was the invoice landed on my doorstep. i do think people should be aware of how underhand these things can be. From my perspective I felt extremely threatened.
     
  19. tre

    tre Registered User

    Sep 23, 2008
    1,353
    Herts
    This sounds absolutely awful. I can see that only having registered on the Land Registry last year may have got them thinking that something was amiss but presumably it was quite simple to prove when your dad died and left you his half of the house.
    I fail to see how your mum would have been compos mentis enough to allow them to complete a financial assessment and why, considering you had POA they did not involve you in this from the outset.
    However, this is all in the past now and you need to deal with the situation you have at present.
    In my experience, lawyers are not terribly helpful and just put your costs up.
    It seems that someone at the LA has got the idea you have done something underhand by putting two and two together and making five and now they are doing their best to be as difficult and officious as possible.
    It always used to be rumoured that the VAT officials were like this, that is, anyone who made a small innocent error had their whole books put under the microscope to frighten them.
    I have kept every receipt and statement for my husband and myself for several years in case when we need the financial assessment anything is queried. There is nothing underhand but I still feel it seems like quite a threatening type of process, especially coming at the time you are also dealing with a loved one needing to go into full time care.
    What a nightmare for you.
    Tre
     
  20. Lhg

    Lhg Registered User

    Dec 28, 2012
    42
    Thank you so much for your input Tre. Yes, unfortunately I learnt the hard way about lawyers (up until last week). And yes I think you're right too about jumping to conclusions without evidence. I thought being a carer for my parents was the most difficult thing I've done, but this just is so much pressure too. You're also right, it's what's in front of me, not what was. Now I'm clearer about the process that helps too. I'm also hoping now that the MP has agreed to raise the case that will help to at least not make me feel so threatened.
     
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