Making decisions about care for yourself or a loved one can be a very emotional and difficult time. The primary concern of course is about getting the right mix of support and quality of life for the person involved, but often the issue of funding this care causes intense worry.
Under the Care Act all councils must now offer a ‘Deferred Payment Agreement’ (DPA) option to those that are eligible. This is an arrangement with the council that enables people to use the value of their own homes to help pay for their care home costs.
Importantly, DPAs give people control over if and when they sell their home. For example, many people enter into a DPA and then rent out their property to pay for their care. This not only solves the funding dilemma but protects the family investment for the next generation.
Whilst this will undoubtedly prove an attractive option to many, figuring out eligibility can be a complex process. People considering residential care will need a straightforward way to find out if DPAs are relevant to their situation. Councils will also need a way to efficiently filter potentially large numbers of enquiries to rapidly identify and help those who are eligible without straining already dwindling resources with additional calls, emails and appointments.
To solve this common problem facing councils providing adult social care, the Department Department for Communities and Local Government’s Local Digital Programme worked in collaboration with eight councils and IT cloud firm, IEG4, to develop a Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA) Calculator application programming interface (API).
The online calculator can take the strain by letting people work out their eligibility for the scheme, at a convenient time, from their own device. Social workers and financial assessment teams can also use the tool to inform their advice to clients.
Developed under Open Licence, means that anyone is able to integrate the APIs, free of charge, into their website or software solution. For those that do not have the skills needed to develop this in-house, development partner IEG4 has created an easily customisable ‘ready-made’ solution.
The tool ask users a series of questions to find out:
- whether a person is likely to be eligible to enter a DPA
- how long their equity in their property would allow them to defer costs
- what the total costs would be
Watch this video to see the tool in action: