Care home funding advice
Paying for care home fees
It is a cliché that nothing in life is free, and this also applies to residential care. Nearly everyone can expect to be asked to pay something to contribute towards the cost of their care. This contribution can be drawn from both income and capital.
The current system is means tested and if you have assets of more than £23,250, you will need to pay the full cost of your care. Your income and assets are taken jointly into account when assessing your financial situation, although your home will not be taken into account if your partner or a close relative still lives there.
It may be that your local authority is involved in the arranging of care for you or a loved one. In this instance they will firstly do a care needs assessment in order to identify exactly what kind and level of care you need. They will then undertake a financial assessment of your situation to work out how much you will have to pay towards your care home fees.
If your local authority has assessed you as needing a care home place and your capital is below £23,250, you should be entitled to financial support from your local authority. You will be entitled to maximum support if you have capital below £14,250 although you will still contribute your income less £23.90 per week retained for personal expenses. If your capital is assessed as being between £14,250 and £23,250 you will also pay a capital tariff of £1 per week for each £250 or part thereof between these two figures.
As of April 2015, your local authority must provide you with a personal budget. This will show how much they have calculated they should pay towards your care needs as identified by their assessment.
In many cases the home that you wish to go to will cost more than the local authority is willing to pay. In this instance the local authority will allow your fees to be topped up by a third party so long as they are able to do so over the long term. You will not be allowed to top up the fees yourself from your capital below £23,250.
If you have moved into a home independently as a self-funded payer, once your capital reduces to £23,250 you can seek local authority assistance for the cost of your care. However, if the home costs more than the local authority usually pays and won’t reduce its fees, you could be in the difficult situation of either finding a source of top-up or seeking less expensive accommodation, which can be extremely stressful – the equivalent of being forced to move from your own home. It is important to ask a home about its policy, should this situation arise in the future.
The Care Act (2014) was set to change the way that people are assessed for contributions and also sets a cap on the amount anyone has to pay towards the cost of their care during their lifetime. However there is much confusion, even amongst government, care professionals, and advisers, as to how exactly the act is going to be interpreted what it will mean for those funding themselves, and when it will be fully implemented.
If you would like to talk to us about finance for a care placement you are considering, then we would be very pleased to try and help you. You can ring the number at the top of this site or email us.