Self-funding your care for later in life
Article by Trish Watkins
When you or a loved one enters care there is a lot to deal with – both emotionally in accepting that it is no longer possible to live at home, but also in terms of practical issues such as how that care is going to be funded.
There are two types of care homes – residential homes, which will help with everyday tasks such as getting dressed and providing all meals, and nursing homes which will also offer 24 hour nursing care.
Do you have any questions about care fee funding? Contact us today.
Questions to be answered in this article
Get assessed – what care will you need?
A person requiring care should first have a care needs assessment to establish the nature and level of their needs. This applies whether care is privately funded or paid for in part or wholly by the local authority. This is a free service available upon request from social services.
What is NHS continuing healthcare?
This is a package of care for people who are assessed as having a primary health need. It is arranged and funded by the NHS and it is not means-tested. If your ongoing needs are clear and you have significant health needs there may well be circumstances where consideration should be given as to whether or not you may be eligible for NHS continuing healthcare. What this means is that all of your nursing care is paid for. This can be a lengthy and complex issue and needs specialist advice – something we can offer you here at Goughs.
If the person requiring care is not eligible for NHS continuing healthcare and has less than £23,250 in capital the local authority will also undertake a financial assessment to determine how much the person can contribute towards their care. If the person has an income (e.g. pensions) the majority of this will be used as a “client contribution” to offset the cost of care with the local authority making up the difference. If they own a property it will depend on the circumstances as to whether or not its value is taken into account as capital.
Anyone with capital above £23,250 will be expected to self-fund their care. A financial assessment is not required as the local authority will not be involved.
How much do care homes cost?
Costs will vary according to where you live and what your needs are but the average weekly cost of a residential home in Wiltshire is currently around £750 and for a care home it is around £1,000. To find out more about choosing a care house, click here.
To find out more about care homes in Wiltshire, please follow this link.
Am I eligible for any benefits to help with funding my care?
Attendance Allowance is a non-means-tested and tax-free benefit. It is available for people who have reached pension age who are disabled long-term or suffering from an illness and require help with their care or need to be supervised. If help is needed either in the day or night the weekly payment is £57.30 and if help is needed both day and night the weekly payment is £85.60. However, it is not available if the local authority is funding the care.
Funded Nursing Care is available if a person lives in a care home which is registered to provide nursing care and they have been assessed as needing nursing care. This is a weekly amount currently set at £187.60 and paid directly to the care home. When calculating the weekly fees payable, do check with the home that this has been taken into account. This benefit is not means-tested nor is it taxable.
Can I avoid having to sell my home?
If a person enters permanent care and their partner remains living in the property then none of its value can be taken into account when assessing liability for care fees. There are other instances where the property is not taken into account so it is important that professional advice is taken to ensure that you are aware of all available disregards.
It may be possible for the property to be rented out and the income used to pay towards care fees but there will be ongoing costs and responsibilities associated with this e.g. insurance, maintenance etc.
Equity release is an option but can be very expensive and again it is vital that professional advice is sought before entering into such an agreement. The Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA) offer unbiased advice on subjects such as this.
If capital drops to £23,250 and the only other valuable asset is your home the local authority must offer you a deferred payment agreement. This is a loan agreement and will need to be repaid either when you choose to sell your house or on your death. Additional charges and interest are applied to the agreement to cover administration costs.
It is recommended that legal advice is sought if you are considering entering into a deferred payment agreement and our specialist lawyers here at Goughs can assist you with this. Speak to our deferred payment expert, Trish Watkins, for more information on this.
Alternatively, if you have any other questions about self-funding your care, or you wish to find out more about our services, don’t hesitate to get in touch today.