If you have had a full care and support assessment and been found to need care and support, the next step is a means test. This involves completing a form with information about your income and assets to work out what you have to pay towards the costs of your care.

If you have not yet spoken to anyone but feel you need some care and support, find out how to get information and advice about care and support.

Our Care and support charging framework explains more about how we charge for social care, and you may be required to pay towards the cost.

You will talk to an assessment officer from our client finance team. They will contact you or the person who looks after your finances to arrange a meeting or to send you a financial assessment form.

The assessment officer can help you with any questions you have about how much you have to pay and tell you about any benefits or allowances you can apply for.

The assessment officer will look at your income, personal expenses (which is different depending on whether you are at home or in a care home) and assets. This will be worked out taking into account:

 Your income including tax credit and some benefits. Excluding disability-related expenses (like laundry, maintenance, respite care and extra bedding).

- Your personal expenses if you need to go into a care home. We need to make sure you have enough money to spend on personal items like clothes and toiletries. This is known as a personal expenses allowance (PEA). If you have dependent children or are a temporary resident you may be entitled to more in your allowance.

- Your personal expenses If you are receiving care in your own home. We will make sure you have enough money left after paying your living costs (for things like rent and food) this is known as the minimum income guarantee.

- If you are receiving care in your own home, in residential care accommodation, nursing care accommodation or extra care housing and have over £23,250, in savings we will not contribute to the cost of your care.

If you are receiving care in residential care accommodation, nursing care accommodation or extra care housing and have more than this capital limit because of the value of your home, but you have less than £23,250 in savings, we may be able to offer you a deferred payment agreement. We could only offer a deferred payment agreement if your property value is taken into account as part of your financial assessment. Deferred payments are quite a complex area and you may want to read leaflet F3 – Guide for people moving into care who have a property

If we think you have deliberately got rid of capital in order to get financial assistance, you will be treated as if you still had that capital. This is known as notional capital. This could apply if:

- you spent money on a non-essential or luxury item
- you gave money away
- you gave away property or a share of property

We will look at why the money has been spent. Repayment of a debt may justify your action, but it will depend on individual circumstances.

Timing of the spending is important. If you didn’t know you needed care at the time or that you were likely to need it soon, it’s less likely that we will see it as deliberate.