Skip to content
Please donate

Deprivation of assets in social care

'Deprivation of assets' is when someone reduces their assets (such as money, property or income) on purpose so that they won’t be included in the financial assessment for care home fees. If your local council decides you've reduced your assets to avoid paying care home fees, they might still calculate your fees as if you still owned the assets.

How do my home and savings affect what I pay for social care?

If your local council assesses you and decides you qualify for social care, such as getting extra help at home or moving into a care home, they'll do a financial assessment (also known as a means test) to calculate how much you should pay towards the fees.

Your income and savings will be taken into account in the financial assessment. If you need to move into residential care, your property could be taken into account.

Some people consider giving away their home or money to relatives, friends or charities, so that they won’t be taken into account in the financial assessment. But, the council might decide this is a deliberate deprivation of assets.

Find out how the financial assessment takes into account the value of your home

What counts as deprivation of assets?

When your council is deciding whether getting rid of property and money has been a deliberate deprivation of assets, they will consider a few things:

  1. If you knew you would need care and support at the time you gave away your assets.
  2. If paying for care and support was a significant reason for you giving away your assets.
  3. If you knew you would need to contribute money towards your care.

It’s not just giving away your money that could be seen as a deliberate deprivation of assets. Different ways of reducing your money or property could count too, including:

  • giving away a lump sum of money, for example as a gift
  • suddenly spending a lot of money in a way which is unusual compared to your normal spending
  • suddenly spending lots of money on living in an extravagant way, such as gambling
  • transferring the title deeds of your property to someone else
  • using savings to buy possessions, such as jewellery or a car, which would be excluded from the financial assessment
  • using your assets to buy an investment bond with life insurance
  • putting your assets into a trust that they can't be removed from.

If the local council thinks that you have deliberately reduced your assets to avoid care fees, they may still include the value of the assets you no longer have when they do the financial assessment.

What if I gave my money or home away a long time ago?

The timing is important. The council will look at when you reduced your assets and see if, at the time, you could reasonably expect that you would need care and support. They then have to decide based on all the case facts and clear reasons, which could be challenged.

If you were fit and healthy, and couldn't have imagined needing care and support at the time, then it might not count as deprivation of assets.

What if I disagree with the council's decision?

If you disagree with your council's decision about deprivation of assets, you can challenge it using the formal complaints procedure.

Remind the local council that they have to show that you were:

  1. significantly motivated by avoiding care costs
  2. you knew you'd need care and support at the time you got rid of your assets
  3. you were expecting to have to contibute towards the cost of your care.

The local council has to base its decision on facts and let you submit relevant evidence to support your account. Be as clear and specific as you can when you're explaining why you may have given away your assets.

If you're not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint, you can take your complaint to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

Find out more about making a complaint on the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman website

Phone icon We're here to help

We offer support through our free advice line on 0800 678 1602. Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year. We also have specialist advisers at over 120 local Age UKs.

Share this page

Last updated: Jun 11 2024

You might also be interested in...

Care home top-up fees

If your choice of care home accommodation costs more than your local council is willing to pay, someone else can make...

Become part of our story

Sign up today

Back to top