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When Should I Apply for Local Authority Funding?

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

The social care system is on its knees

Paying for care is an ongoing discussion and is one that is part of any election campaign.

The current green paper on the future of social care has been delayed to the “first opportunity in 2019” but currently remains to be considered.

The reality is there have been social care cuts since 2010 and higher eligibility criteria since 2015. Couple this with increased challenges with the number and quality of staff and higher care costs this has led to one in six of our care providers not meeting current care standards regulated by the CQC.

A consequence of this is there are now fewer registered care providers and sadly increased instances of the local authority ignoring the law.

Many residents start off paying privately for their own care and after some time they reach the maximum threshold of £23,250 and therefore require assistance from the local authority to assist with their care fee funding.

Due to the pressures the local authorities are under, it is advisable to make this application when an individual or resident is one year away from needing local authority funding.

This will allow the local authority enough time to carry out the various financial and eligibility needs assessments required to secure funding.

If a person meets both the financial and eligible needs criteria, the local authority is under a duty to arrange and meet those needs.

However, they are only under a duty to arrange and provide for those needs for a privately paying resident if they are either under a mental incapacity or they have assets over the threshold and expressly request the local authority to do so.

Unfortunately when the local authority arranges such care an individual often does not get the level or quality of care they want.

A recent case has confirmed that the local authority is not under a duty to achieve the outcome the individual wants but only what is necessary.

A care package should not be reduced unless a reassessment of needs has been made which involves the individual (or a representative on their behalf) and their carers. Any reduction without such assessment is unlawful. An individual is entitled to a reassessment or a reassessment will be triggered on any change of circumstances to make up the difference.

Under the current social care system if an individual cannot afford the level of care they require by their own means, the local authority budget will not extend to the individual’s needs. Family or friends may be asked to top up care fees to make up the difference.

Is there a better way?

The green paper seeks to consider integrating the NHS and social care systems and once again they will consider a cap on care and an insurance model. Specialised housing will be considered and a link between children and the elderly.

Currently, there is no suggestion that the responsibility of social care will not be passed to the tax payer.

Talk to our dedicated care funding team for all matters regarding the cost of care.

Vicki Pearce


Vicki Pearce


Vicki is a Partner and head of our Private Client Team and our Care Funding and Court of Protection Team . She is based in Northampton. As head of both teams she is able to bring her expertise and obvious overlaps into both areas of…