The decision to enter a residential care home can be very stressful and is often brought on by crisis. It can be even more difficult when families and the person moving into care are paying care home costs themselves.
We aim to make this time easier to navigate and less stressful by working with local authorities to provide a Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA) calculator.
A bit of background on deferred payment agreements
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. Some enter into a DPA for a short time, while others for a longer period where local authorities reclaim costs after the person in care passes away.
Among the changes brought in by the Care Act are that local authorities must offer a DPA to anyone who is eligible. Eligibility depends on a number of factors, including whether the person going into care:
- owns their home outright
- lives on their own (or don’t have any dependents living with them)
- has been assessed by their local authority as needing residential care
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.
Open 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.