Paying for Care following an Assessment

Once the Local Authority has carried out a Care Needs Assessment and concluded that you require support, they will then carry out a Financial Assessment to work out how you will pay for your help and support.

The outcome of the financial assessment will be that the local authority will either:

  • Agree to meet the full cost of your care needs
  • Agree to meet some of the cost (and you’ll need to top up the rest)
  • Leave you meet the full cost of your care

The local authority will then set up a personal budget for you which keeps track of the costs of your care

Care Fee Assessment?

The assessment looks at both your income (pensions, earning, benefits etc…) and Capital (savings, Property, investments etc…)

Residential Care Funding

Residential Care is means tested. Which means that should you require care and have assets (including your property) above the “means test level” (£23,500 for the 2015/16 tax year) then you will be responsible for paying your own fees.

Should you have capital assets below £14,250 you will be entitled to maximum support (although you will still contribute your income).

Between the two figure of £14.250 and £23,250 you pay a percentage based on your capital.

The value of your home is not taken into account in the means test for home care and, if only one member of a couple requires care, the means test should only take into account the resources of that person. Any joint accounts are treated as divided equally between the partners.

Care at Home Funding

Although local councils have the discretion as to whether to charge for home care services, in practice most will charge. To work out your contribution you will normally have to undergo a means test. This again will look at both Capital and income to assess how much you could afford to contribute towards the cost of your care and support.

There is a national framework that provides guidance to local authorities on how to work out charges for home care provided or arranged by them. This is called ‘Fairer Charging Policies for Home Care and Other Non-Residential Social Services’. Each local authority should publish and make available to users and carers clear information about charges and how they are assessed. This information should be made available at the time a person’s needs assessment is carried out and, after the means test, written information should be provided detailing how any charges are worked out and payable

However, in most areas should you require care and have assets above the “means test level” (£23,500 for the 2015/16 tax year) then you will be responsible for paying your own fees.

The value of your home is not taken into account in the means test for home care and, if only one member of a couple requires care, the means test should only take into account the resources of that person. Any joint accounts are treated as divided equally between the partners.

Funding Options for paying for Care at Home or Residential Care

There are many options for funding care and they can often be complicated to understand and depends how you been assessed. This can either be

  • As a private payer (Self Funder)
  • Entitled to NHS Funding
  • Entitled to Local authority assistance or
  • Entitled to benefits welfare benefits
  • A mixture of the above

How can I Fund my Care Costs.

Even if you qualify for assistance from the Local Authority or NHS, the amount you receive may not be enough to completely cover your care costs. If this happens you’ll need to think about how you’re going to top up any contributions or pay for it all yourself.

There are a number of options which you may wish to consider to help fund you care should you be a self funder and it would be advisable that you seek professional advice from a Solicitor.

 Privately (Means Tested Funding)

As said above, Residential Care is means tested. Which means that should you require care and have assets (including your property) above the “means test level” (£23,500 for the 2015/16 tax year) then you will be responsible for paying your own fees. If you have  capital (savings and assets) worth more than £23,250 (in England and Northern Ireland), or a weekly income high enough to pay for care home fees, you will not be eligible for assistance with your funding from the Local Authority.

What about my home?

The biggest fear about funding long-term care is that you’ll be forced to sell your home. The value of your home is not taken into account in the means test for home care if only one member of a couple requires care.

Should there only be one home owner or should both parties to a property require care, the Law states that the value of your property should be disregarded in any financial assessment for 12 weeks.

There are 6 options with your property simplified as follows;

Keep your property

  • Deferred payment scheme
  • Rent the property
  • Equity Release

Sell your property

  • Money in the Bank
  • Invest to generate income
  • Buy an annuity

Local Authority Funding

Should the Local Authority have carried out their Means Test Assessment and concluded that you qualify for help, based on you income and capital. The outcome of the financial assessment will be that the local authority will either:

  • agree to meet the full cost of your care needs
  • agree to meet some of the cost (and you’ll need to top up the rest)

The local authority will then set up a personal budget for you which keeps track of the costs of your care

Remember, should you financial circumstances change, you are eligible to a re assessment of your fees by the Local Authority.

What if my Home fees are more than the Local Authority are providing / willing to pay?

If you assets fall below the £23,250 or even the £14,250 thresholds and the Home costs more than the local authority is willing to pay. You can request that your fees will be topped up from a 3rd party.

If you are unable to find someone to top up your fees, this could result in you being moved to a less expensive accommodation and this could be detrimental to your health and wellbeing.

NHS Continuing Health Care Funding

If you have a disability or complex medical problem, you might qualify for free NHS continuing healthcare (CHC) if you’re an adult, or free NHS continuing care (CC) if you’re under 18.

Again, should you feel that you qualify for the above, your can find out whether you are eligible by attaining an assessment and should you qualify, the NHS should meet the full costs of your care including care at home, in a nursing home or hospice.

The NHS funding covers the costs of your care but can in certain circumstances cover the costs of your accommodation. Funding varies and you will need to check with your Local Authority to see what is covered.

Welfare Benefits

Both you or your carer can claim benefits when you have care needs

Most of these benefits aren’t affected by income or savings and you may be able to keep them if you have to go into a care home.

What benefits are you entitled to?

  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Council Tax discounts and exemptions
  • Other benefits
  • State Pension and Pension Credit

What Benefits is my Carer entitled to?

  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Carer’s Credit
  • Carer Premium
  • Pension Credit
  • Local welfare assistance

Further information

For further information regarding your benefits entitlements, please see www.gov.uk