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Charging and financial assessment

Imposition of charges

Part 5 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 covers charging and financial assessment in relation to services provided or arranged by local authorities under the Act. 

A local authority may impose a charge for providing or arranging the provision of care and support or support. Such a charge can only be for costs the local authority incurs in meeting the needs for which the charge is made, although the authority can recover an additional charge (often referred to as a “brokerage charge”) for arranging for the provision of care and support for an adult whose financial resources are above the financial limit (often referred to as a “self-funder”) but who nonetheless asks the authority to meet his or her needs.

Where care and support is provided to an adult (whether to meet the adult's own needs or to meet the needs of the adult's carer), the charge may be imposed on that adult.

Where care and support is provided to a child (whether to meet the child's own needs or to meet the needs of the child's carer), the charge may be imposed on any adult with parental responsibility for the child. Where a child's needs are met by the provision of something to an adult, the charge may be imposed on that adult.

Where the charge is in respect of support provided to a carer, a charge can be imposed on an adult carer, or in the case of a child carer, on any adult with parental responsibility for the child.

The Welsh Ministers have the power to make regulations about the way that local authorities exercise their powers to charge for social care services. Regulations can also disapply a local authority's power to impose a charge and which may instead require the local authority to provide care and support or support free of charge.

See Part 2 of the Care and Support (Charging) (Wales) Regulations 2015 (S.I. 2015/1843)

Financial Assessments

A local authority must carry out a financial assessment of a person's resources when it has concluded that it will meet their needs for care and support or support.

Welsh Ministers must make regulations about the way that financial assessments are to be undertaken by a local authority. The regulations must provide for the calculation of an eligible person's income and capital. They can also provide for the extent to which either is to be regarded or disregarded in the calculation of charges to be imposed, the circumstances in which a person will be deemed as having financial resources above a set threshold and circumstances in which a new financial assessment must or may be carried out.

Welsh Ministers also have the power to make regulations that set out the circumstances in which the duty to carry out a financial assessment is disapplied.

See the Care and Support (Financial Assessment) (Wales) Regulations 2015 (S.I. 2015/1844)

Determinations as to a person’s ability to pay a charge

A local authority must determine, in light of the financial assessment it has undertaken, whether it is reasonably practicable for a person to pay its standard charge for the service and, if not, how much it is reasonably practicable for the person to pay (if anything).

The Welsh Ministers must make regulations which make further provision regarding how to determine the ability to pay a charge for care and support or support.

See Part 2 of the Care and Support (Charging) (Wales) Regulations 2015 (S.I. 2015/1843)

A local authority must give effect to any determination of a person's ability to pay a charge.

Deferred payment agreements

The Welsh Ministers have the power to make regulations about the circumstances in which a person whose needs are being met by a local authority, or whose needs are going to be met, may enter into arrangements with that local authority to defer any charges that will be imposed upon the person in respect of the provision of such services. An arrangement made under this section is known as a “deferred payment agreement”.

Regulations have been made under this section, which include the interest which can be charged and the duration of the deferred payment agreement.  See the Care and Support (Deferred Payments) (Wales) Regulations (S.I. 2015/1841)

Charging for preventative services and assistance

The Welsh Ministers have the power to make regulations about a local authority's ability to impose a charge for the provision of preventative services and assistance but such regulations cannot impose a charge upon a child.

See Part 3 of the Care and Support (Charging) (Wales) Regulations 2015 (S.I. 2015/1843)

Reviews relating to charging

The Welsh Ministers can make regulations about a local authority's obligation to undertake a review of a decision made about the charges imposed, a determination as to a person’s ability to pay a charge or decisions relating to the liability of a person make a payment where there has been a transfer of assets to avoid charges.

Such regulations may also include provision to specify the procedure to be followed, as well as who can request the review and the time period in which a request for a review is to be made.

See the Care and Support (Review of Charging Decisions and Determinations) (Wales) Regulations 2015 (S.I. 2015/1842)

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