There is a great deal of confusion around our complicated care system for older people. In my experience, most people don’t fully appreciate that adult social care is a means tested benefit and over 50% of people requiring care will need to part or fully fund it themselves.
Adult social care funding has become a significant issue over recent years. An independent care commission was set up to consider the amount people pay towards their own care and have made proposals to the government. There is currently much political debate about this and how the extra money needed will be paid for.
In order to simplify things I have identified the key points that currently apply to make things easier to understand.
Community Care Funding for Residential care
- If you need Residential or Nursing Home care and have savings (capital) of less than £23,000 it is likely that you will be eligible for financial help towards the cost of your care so long as you have been assessed to need it.
- Anyone who has capital of their own above £23,000 will be assessed as being able to pay the full cost of their care home fees.
- Those whose capital is between £14,000 and £23,000 will be expected to make some contribution from their capital as well as income (state pension, Attendance Allowance, fifty per-cent of any private pension or other income)
- Your relative should not have to make any contribution from their capital below £14,000, but will still be expected to contribute from their income (state pension, Attendance Allowance and fifty per-cent of any private pension or other income)
- Different financial rules apply for couples and single people.
- Care in a residential home can be free for up to six weeks if it is arranged as part of “intermediate care” after hospital treatment.
- All local authority Social Services have their own systems, allowances and procedures, although every person funded by Social Services is entitled to a personal allowance. You can check out current rates at www.turn2us.org.uk.
- A personal allowance cannot be used to pay top-up for fees or for services that should be included by the home as part of the care service.
- For the first twelve weeks after Social Services have made an assessment, the value of your relative’s property will be disregarded in their calculations. The purpose of the twelve-week disregard is to give your relative time to sell, let or raise money on their property to fund care costs.
- If your relative claims Attendance Allowance and Social Services are making an increased contribution to their care fees, the allowance is withdrawn after the fourth week and reinstated at the end of the disregard period.
Community Care Funding for Home Care
- The situation for Community Care funding for home care is even more complicated and varies between each local authority. This is the infamous postcode lottery that the government has pledged to reform. Until then eligibility is determined as much by what each Local Authority has a policy of paying for, as by their need
- If you have more than £23,250 in capital (not including the value of your home) you will be charged the full cost of your care.
- If your capital is less than £23,250, your income will be assessed but you must be left with at least the basic amount of Pension Credit plus 25%.
- Some councils are more generous and increase the capital threshold or set a maximum amount they expect anyone to pay for their care.