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Why Your Client Will Have To Pay £145k To Qualify For The £72k Cap

Specialist community care law solicitor Cate Searle, has analysed the new rules on the care fees cap and explains how eligibility loopholes mean that typical clients will endure at least three years of paying fees until they qualify for the care fees cap.

Imagine you are a Professional Deputy for Mrs Smith and have been unable to source a care home placement for her for less than £850 per week. She is a self-funder and has assessable capital of over £180,000, an assessable income of £1,000 per four weeks (pensions & benefits). Social Services tell you that her needs can be met for £650 per week. The £650 pw comprises:

  • £230 pw income contribution for daily living costs
  • £420 pw capital contribution towards the cap

There is a shortfall of £200 pw which Social Services tell you is ‘above the reasonable cost allowed’, but which you still have to pay on behalf of your client.

The £420 pw capital contribution towards the cap equates to £21,840 per year. It will take Mr Smith over 3 years to qualify for Social Services financial assistance at the £72,000 cap.

The “extra” £200 per week you spend from her capital falls outside the cap – £10,400 per year.

By the time Mrs Smith reaches the £72,000 cap to get help with fees from Social Services, she will in fact have paid:

  • 3.3 years income contribution @ £11,960 pa = £39,468
  • 3.3 years “reasonable capital” @ £21,840 pa = £72,072
  • 3.3 years “excess by choice cost” @ £10,400 pa = £34,320

Total spent before your client qualifies for the £72,000 cap is thus actually £145,860.

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