Families in Birmingham have racked up a £6m care bill that will have to be paid back by selling their loved ones’ properties.
A deferred payment agreement (DPA) is an arrangement with the local authority that enables people to use the value of their homes to help pay for care home costs.
The local authority will help to pay the care home bills and the individual can delay repaying until they sell their home or die.
In Birmingham, there were around 300 DPAs at March 31, with a value of £5.7m, according to new figures from NHS Digital.
That compares to around 215 at the same date last year, valued at £80,000.
In 2017/18, around 175 new DPAs were agreed in the area, down from around 185 a year before.
Last year, around 45 DPAs ended, with Birmingham council recovering £680,000 for care home bills from property that had to be sold..
Numbers are rounded to the nearest five.
The Government gave everyone the right to defer paying care home fees from April 2015.
It intended for people to be able to defer their care fees for their lifetime and pay from their estate, providing more time for decisions and choice and peace of mind over how people use their home – for example so that a relative or tenant can live there.
People have to fund their own care if they have over £23,250 worth of assets, unless they qualify for medical care.
Under a DPA, you can’t usually use more than 90% of the value of your home to pay for fees (to allow for costs involved in selling the property), although local authorities may set a limit between 70% and 80%.
Councils can charge a set-up fee for the arrangement, and also charge interest on the loan, set at a national rate.
Across England, 6,335 DPAs were outstanding at the end of March 2018, with a value of £193m, compared to 6,440 DPAs worth £176m at the end of March 2017.
Of the total, 1.1% (65) related to clients aged 18 to 64 and 98.9% (6,270) to clients aged 65 and over.
There is no geographical trend in where people are more likely to take out DPAs, as individual factors such as levels of savings held as well as local variations in levels of home ownership and the proportion of people aged 65 and over, are likely to have an impact.
The average value of an outstanding DPA at England level was £30,000, varying from £17,000 in Yorkshire and the Humber to £49,000 in London.
There were 3,105 new DPAs agreed across England in 2017/18, up from 2,860 new DPAs in 2016/17.
There were 150 DPAs that had ended during 2017/18 and were written-off, worth £2.2m. Some £63.0m was fully recovered from 2,705 DPAs that ended during the year.
There were 1,235 DPAs that concluded due to the death of the holder, of which 28.3% (350) had been in place for more than 36 months. Of the DPAs that concluded while the holder was alive, 29.4% (410) had been in place for six months or less.