Outcome for Financial Assessment includes Attendance Allowance Income 'assumption' - is this legal?

Hi there!!

And a Happy New Year to you all. Lets hope 2023 is a good year for us all.

I just want to ask people’s opinion on an odd situation following submission of Financial Assessments for both my Mum and Dad who need care support.
My parents savings are of a level where they will need to contribute but certainly won’t be self funding.
I submitted the assessment forms on their behalf, and at the moment neither are receiving Attendance Allowance. Nothing was included on the form. We did apply for AA for my father 5 months ago but have heard nothing.

Anyway, just before Xmas, the council wrote to both my parents with the financial assessment ‘outcomes’ outlining what their maximum amount they ‘can afford to pay’.

In both calculations, they have assumed my parents would be receiving Attendance Allowance and have included the higher rate as income. So both my parents’ income is overstated by £92/week (c£4.5k per year) which they (currently) aren’t receiving.

I’m disputing this, as it results in each of my parents obiligation being £92/week higher than it would have otherwise been.

Has anyone else been in this situation? I would have thought it would be unlawful for the council to include income that isn’t real?

I’m being chased to sign ‘Pre-paid card’ admin forms but am concerned if I sign as the authorised person it then makes my parents liable for these incorrect contributions. I’m not sure how the pre-paid card process works.

Any advice would be gratefully received.

Kind regards

Don’t sign anything!!
This isn’t quite as simple as it might seem.
Carers UK has a helpline which can give best advice, but it’s going to be very busy this week! Google “Charging for Care” and look at the .gov pages or the 2014 Care Act Guidance for chapter and verse about what they can and can’t charge for.
However, my son had his assessment recently, so I’ve just had a look at it. He gets highest DLA Care but £30.55 has been disregarded, I think because he doesn’t have any night time care.
In 2021 there was a test case concerning Suffolk County Council, when it was found that they were unlawfully including DLA or AA in their income section. Most councils are ignoring this!
Help the Aged might have some informative leaflets.
How many “weekly allowances” were given to your parents? My son was initially charged about £70 a week after allowances, then £45, now nothing, after deductions for Clothing, special diet, laundry, other expenses, Transport and other Disability Related Expenditure.

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Hi Ian

As bowlingbun mentions, please do contact our helpline for more advice.
They can be contacted by either calling 0808 808 7777 from Monday to Friday, 9am – 6pm or you can contact us by email advice@carersuk.org

kind regards

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Definitely contact the Helpline. However, please note that they can assume AA is in payment, but should also help you to claim it - as they are saying your parents are entitled to it…

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Thank you.
I will action. I’m reaching out to Citizen’s Advice and Age UK hopefully today also.

Thank you for your thorough response bowlingbun.
As an accountant it makes no sense that someone would be able to claim money on income that is not proved that they are in receipt of.
I will investigate this legal case too. In my response to the council I have gently floated the idea of legaility in claiming this as income when it clearly isn’t the case and is therefore invalid.
Let’s see what they say.
No weekly allowances have been given to my parents - they only have their pension income.
My mother has carers going in at certain times of the day for certain periods and we’ve had to complete a financial assessment form - which is based on fact not speculation.

I don’t get this ‘assumption’ business. We should only be charged for ‘what’s in the bag’.
You wouldn’t include speculative information on a loan application, or will. It just doesn’t make sense.
If they action us getting the additional benefit and start charging us from the date of receipt of this benefit, I totally get that. In fact it would be more efficient if they instigated and actioned the payment their side, and then it’s all done as one piece, and everyone knows the score.

But in essence they can only charge us after a) we have confirmation of receipt and b) we have confirmation of the actual amount to be received.
And I’m sure there would be a legal case for this.
At the moment there is neither - and I have sent them a letter from the DWP essentially saying ‘apologies you haven’t heard from us, but you will in due course’.

Hi Ian. I doubt it’s legal, but it is something that happens: part of the law is that they should ensure that people are getting everything they’re entitled to. This seems to have been translated as referring people to Citizen’s Advice and assuming they get it. I’m not entirely sure that BB is right, though. AA and DLA have to be taken into account but only when relevant, in that if the award is for middle care DLA/low care AA, then it’s all taken into account. They can’t take all of the higher rate into account if they are not providing night time cover. However, the rules are different with PIP (it replaced DLA for most people) as it’s awarded on a different basis.

Even so, the concept of taking money you don’t have into account without even helping you to get it is bizarre.

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Ian, great to have an accountant on board, I have a degree in Business Studies with a lot of accountancy involved, it makes social workers very uneasy.
When I mentioned “allowances” these should be deductions made by SSD from your parents income when calculating SSD charges. Did they give you or your parents a written explanation of all their calculations? They should have done.

When my mum went into a care home that was funded by the council she was only allowed to keep her attendance allowance for 4 weeks then it stopped. My understanding is that you are not allowed to claim attendance allowance if you are in council funded care so taking it into account in the assessment for longer than 4 weeks must surely be a mistake.

If they are not in council funded care then you should definitely claim attendence allowance for both of them. If the council thinks they are entitled to it then they probably are. You need to keep ringing up if you hear nothing. If the claim is turned down then i think you have grounds to go back to the council to say they cant take it into account.

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People in nursing homes who are self funded are normally entitled to “funded nursing care”. Not sure of the current rate of payment, about £150? This is not paid to the patient but should be deducted from the weekly bill.

To avoid confusion:

  1. If you receive care at home, you can receive Attendance Allowance, but it is taken into account as income available.
  2. If you go into a care home and receive even a penny a week funding from the LA or the NHS, you can’t claim AA after 28 full days. This means that, if you go into care on 1st March, the first full day is the 2nd March, making the 28th full day the 29th - so AA stops from 30th.
  3. If you are completely self-funding, you can continue to claim AA. And if you have a family carer, and the home agrees that the carer is providing at least 35 hours support to you, they can keep claiming CA.

No wonder people stress out over the benefits system.