What is a financial assessment?

This page covers:
• What a local council financial assessment is
• Reasons why people had a financial assessment or not
• What’s included in a financial assessment

A financial assessment is where the local council works out whether they will contribute towards someone’s care or if that person should pay for it themselves. If a person is assessed as needing to pay for all their own care, they are called a ‘self-funder’.

Leigh felt her foster son’s social transition ‘could have gone quicker’ if it wasn’t for her insisting on slowing things down.

Do I have to have a financial assessment?

Before a financial assessment can be carried out, the local council will do a needs assessment to see what level of care is needed. See more about this in What is a needs assessment. Some people we spoke to said they knew they would be paying for all their care themselves so didn’t see the point of going through the assessment process.

Teresa had been part of a group of volunteers to try out a planned subproject within her birth cohort study. She found it tiring and unpleasant in some ways, but also thinks the research would be interesting.

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What does the financial assessment look at?

The assessment will look at income, savings, shares and other assets counted as capital. If the person receiving care is living at home, the financial assessment will not include the value of the home.

Jenny, a senior researcher, explains why it is often a long time before findings can be drawn out of a cohort study and shared with others.

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As Susan says, if a person paying for care has a home that is left empty, the value of the property will be counted as capital. But if they have a spouse or partner who remains living in the home, the value of the property is not counted. Margaret’s financial assessment for her husband did not include the house because she continued to live there.

If property or money is given away, for example to children, this could be judged as something called ‘deprivation of assets’. This is where people deliberately reduce their assets to try to avoid paying for care. Some people believe there is a seven year time limit so that if assets are given away but care is not needed for at least seven years, that’s okay. But this is incorrect. There is no set time limit and everybody’s circumstances are different. Gifting money or property can also be subject to taxation.

Sometimes other family members who are not a spouse or partner carry on living in the home. This becomes quite complicated. Anyone in this situation would need to get information from the local council about their individual circumstances. Frances found herself in this situation. Her dad lived with her and her family when he first needed care. Later, when he moved into a care home he had a financial assessment. Because her dad part-owned the house this was counted as capital.

As an adult, Barbara thinks that each time she chooses to return a questionnaire or arrange a visit is a kind of re-consenting’ to the research.

Age at interview 73

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A financial assessment will consider dependents such as a wife or husband. Margaret found out through a financial assessment that she could have some money from her husband’s pension towards her household expenses.