Deprivation of assets
If someone intentionally reduces their assets - such as money, property or income - so these won’t be included in the financial assessment for care home fees, this is known as ‘deprivation of assets’. If your local council concludes you have deliberately reduced your assets to avoid paying care home fees, they may 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 as needing social care, such as getting extra help at home or moving into a care home, they will do a financial assessment (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 means test. If you need to move into residential care, your property could be taken into account.
Some people consider giving away their home or money, perhaps to relatives, friends or charities, so that they won’t be taken into account in the means test. However, the council may decide this is a deliberate deprivation of assets.
What counts as deprivation of assets?
Deprivation of assets applies when you intentionally reduce your assets, such as money, property or income, so these won’t be included when the council calculates how much you need to pay towards the care you receive.
When your council is deciding whether getting rid of property and money has been a deliberate deprivation of assets, they will consider two things:
- You must have known at the time you got rid of your property or money that you needed or may need care and support
- Avoiding paying for care must have been a significant reason for giving away your home or reducing your savings.
It’s not just giving away your money that could be seen as a deliberate deprivation of assets. Different methods of reducing your money or property could count too, including:
- giving away a lump sum of money.
- transferring the title deeds of your property to someone else.
- suddenly spending a lot of money in a way which is unusual for your normal spending.
- gambling the money away.
- using savings to buy possessions, such as jewellery or a car, which would be excluded from the means test.
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 means test.
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. The local authority must decide based on all the case facts and clear reasons, which could be challenged.
If you were fit and healthy, and could not have imagined needing care and support at the time, then it may not count as deprivation of assets.
What should I do next?
The system of paying for care is complex and every case is unique. We suggest you find out more before you take any action and contact your local Age UK for face-to-face help.
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 140 local Age UKs.