Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA) Calculator for Adult Social Care

Ready reckoner, built once, locally adaptable

This project developed a Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA) Calculator application programming interface (API), which anyone is free to integrate into their website or software. A DPA is a payment mechanism offered by a local authority to help people who are required to pay for their care and support but whose wealth is tied up in their property. Under the agreement, the local authority pays the person’s care fees and the fees are repaid at a later date, usually when the property is sold.

The tool asks 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


The calculator allows adult social care service providers to provide information about social care support.


What is a DPA?

A deferred payment agreement (DPA) is an arrangement with the council that enables people to use the value of their homes to help pay care home costs.  DPAs give people control over if and when they sell their homes. For example, many people enter into a DPA and rent their properties to pay for their care.

Among the changes brought in by the Care Act are that local authorities must offer a DPA to anyone who is eligible. Figuring out eligibility can be a complex process and 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.

 DPA calc screenshotsOpen API for councils to create DPA calculators

Deferred Payment Agreements incur interest and charges and people considering them will need help to:

  • figure out how much a DPA will cost them
  • if they are eligible to enter one
  • whether a DPA is right for them

To respond to this need, many councils intend to develop online DPA calculators so that citizens can quickly check whether they are eligible to apply before starting the application process.

The Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA) Calculator API is a project with significant demand across the board and an almost consistent formula for each local authority.

The idea of developing a universal open API – which councils and suppliers can freely use as a base for rapidly developing online DPA calculators to meet local needs – came from the DCLG Local Digital discovery and co-design process during 2014. The Local Digital programme hosted a number of events on the impact of the Care Act on local authorities and this project was consistently raised as meeting a common user need and worth pursuing collectively.

The product development was taken forward with the aid of eight partner local authorities: Calderdale, Devon, Hammersmith & Fulham,  Kirklees, Leeds, Lewisham, South Gloucestershire and York.

Citizen needs: People need to be able to access the right information about their options for financing the cost of their care. They need to be able to find this information at a time that suits them, not just during working hours. They need the information to be clear and easy to follow so they can fully understand their options without needing to telephone or enquire in-person to seek clarity. They need to be able to quickly establish if they are eligible for a DPA before they spend too much time finding out about them.

Local authority needs: From April 2015, local authorities will be required to provide and signpost to a broad range of information on adult social care, including financial information. They are also obliged to participate in the Universal Deferred Payment Scheme and offer DPAs to eligible residents. Anticipating a surge in the number of people requesting information about DPAs, local authorities need a cost-efficient way of helping people to understand what DPAs are, how much they cost and if they are eligible to enter one, before they make further inquiries to the council. For such tools to be useful, local authorities need them to reflect localised factors, such as the cost of care and the local interest rate applicable. Under increasing financial pressure, local authorities must also demonstrate value for money in any digital solutions they procure.

Supplier needs: Suppliers need clear guidance from central government on the eligibility criteria for entering into a DPA and the formula for costs being calculated. Having this information will mean they can confidently develop web tools for their customers. Having access to an open API with the data they need and the clear instructions on the calculation formula will enable them to deliver more accurate and cost-effective products to local authorities.

Central government needs: For future policy development around adult social care funding central government departments need access to high quality data.

  • A published open API, and associated documentation, for suppliers/developers to use to create their own web calculators
  • Additional feedback open API developed that will return anonymised data back to a central data warehouse on the calculator’s usage
  • Data warehouse developed to store information collected by the feedback API
  • Up to 8 collaborating local authorities able to link to a bespoke web-form for the calculator from their adult social care financial information pages
  • A show and tell event to demonstrate the new open API and online calculators, followed by discovery session to explore possible next steps and networking
  • Working-out-loud blog posts, social media updates and other communications
  • Published outcomes and learning from the project

We have developed APIs under Open License, which together constitute the DPA calculator, and are free for reuse across the public sector. Two APIs perform different parts of the calculation, and the other collects feedback.

Councils and organisations who use these on their sites will still need to develop a user interface for the calculator.

To use any of the calculator API’s, you must also agree to implement the feedback API (API 3).

Calculator APIs

We’ve split the calculator software into 3 APIs to give you more flexibility in how you integrate the tool into your care information service.

Open API 1 – Central Government rules and parameters for DPA eligibility; this is updated centrally whenever national policy changes are made 

Open API 2 – This ‘packaged’ API takes eligibility input, performs eligibility calculations and returns results.

Open API 3 – Feedback API providing warehouse input to collect anonymised statistics for open reporting purposes

For examples of how these APIs could be used as calculator forms, please visit the DPA Calculator microsite.

Related updates

Enthusiastic Response to the Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA) Calculator

22 Jun 2015

by Henry Mathes Local Digital’s Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA) Calculator and Eligibility Checker API was met with great interest at an event held last Friday, June 12th, to launch the…

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Working out loud: DPA Calculator Project – Designing for Real Users

1 Jun 2015

Following the product discovery workshop on 14th April, developer iEG4 created a bespoke version of the DPA calculator for each local authority partner. Our local authority partners are: City of…

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Working out loud: Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA) Calculator – Getting the right formula

21 May 2015

Our next step in the Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA) Calculator project was to ensure the suppliers had the right formula for the calculation. Our colleagues at the Department for Health…

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View all updates about this project

Related resources

Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA) Calculator: Introductory Video

19 Oct 2015

This video introduces our Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA) calculator for adult social care financing options. It explains what the calculator is and how it could be used. Local authorities and…

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Open APIs for building your own Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA) Calculator

21 Aug 2015

We have developed 2 kinds of DPA calculator APIs under Open License, which are free for reuse. 2 APIs perform different parts of the calculation, and the other collects feedback.…

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Local Digital Open API Demonstrator – Deferred Payments Calculator | Linda O’Halloran and Paul Tomlinson | June 2015

8 Jun 2015

Presentation on the Deferred Payment Agreement Calculator – what it’s for and why it’s needed by Linda O’Halloran, Head of Products, DCLG Local Digital Programme and Paul Tomlinson, Managing Director,…

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Financial information and advice and duties under the Care Act | John Murphy | June 2015

12 Jun 2015

Presentation on what local authorities should be doing in regards to providing guidance and information relating to social care. Presented by John Murphy from the Department of Health at the Adult…

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Facilitating Access to Information and Advice | Jane Finnerty | June 2015

12 Jun 2015

Presentation on practice guidance to support local authorities to facilitate access to independent financial information and advice. Presented by Jane Finnerty from the Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA). Presented…

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Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA) Calculator – User testing plan and scenarios

31 May 2015

As part of the development of the Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA) Calculator, our local authority partners have carried out user testing to identify and potential problems or errors. Each authority…

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