Care Home Costs
It can be a daunting and emotional time when you or a family member decides to move into a care home. Often the situation can be made more difficult by the complexities involved in deciding how to finance the costs of care. Here are some simple guidance notes that may help.
The costs of care can be broken down into 3 different elements.
Residential care – this cost is associated with care provided by a carer, such as help with dressing, personal care, eating, bathing and mobility.
Nursing care – this cost is associated with care provided by a qualified nurse.
Accommodation – this cost is for your room, your heat and lighting, food and dining options, and general living costs.
How much do care homes cost?
How much you pay will depend on the care home, where you live, the length of your stay, the level of care you required, the size and location of your room and any other chargeable extras you decide you would like to pay for. ‘Extras’ can be additional optional costs such as hairdressing, chiropody, trips out etc.
Where you live
Many people are eligible for some of their care home costs paid for by their local authority. This will depend on how much capital you may have (such as level of savings and/or property owned) and where you live.
If you do have savings and/or property in your name, it is likely you will be deemed as being self-funded if there are over the capital thresholds. These are:
If you have less capital (savings and/or property) than the above, it is likely you will be eligible for Local Authority funding. To apply for this funding, you must contact the Local Authority and request a Financial Assessment.
Local Authority Financial Assessment
All Local Authorities will undertake a financial assessment at your request. They will decide what level of care you need and also look at your current income and savings to determine whether you may need to make a contribution towards the cost. This process is usually quick as long as you are able to provide evidence of your income and current assets. Once their assessment is completed, the outcome is provided to both the potential resident and the potential care home so all parties are fully aware of the costs to be charged and any contributions due.
How much care you need
The amount of care you may need will determine how much you will pay. This will be determined by the outcome of your assessment and if do require more round the clock supervision, the cost will be more than somebody who is still relatively independent.
If I’m receiving financial assistance, do I still get to choose my care home?
Yes, as long as the care home is registered for the type of care you need. However, it is important to understand that in some homes, we may have to charge a top-up. This is because the cost the Local Authority charge may not quite cover the costs of your preferred care home. This does not mean you have to pick another care home, but you may have to pay an additional top-up contribution which either you or a 3rd Party can opt to choose.
What happens if my savings run out?
When your savings fall below the upper limits of the capital thresholds set out by the government, you are likely to qualify for financial assistance. You should contact your local social service department as soon as your savings are approaching the limit, so they can undertake a financial assessment for you.
Do I need to sell my House?
If you own a property with your spouse and they still live in the family home, your property will be disregarded in terms of being taken into account as a capital asset. However, if you own a property solely, this will be taken into account as a capital asset. Under the Care Act 2014, you no longer have to sell the property in order to pay for your care home fees, however you now have the option to apply for either a Property Disregard Scheme for the initial 12 weeks of your care home stay and/or apply for a permanent Property Deferred Payment scheme with your Local Authority. They will then enter into a legal agreement with you which allows them to pay for your home care fees for an indefinite period, and put a charge on your property.
My partner needs care, but I don’t. How does this affect me?
Don’t worry, only the person who is going into the care home should be means tested. The property you are stilling in will be ignored and you savings will be treated differently with higher capital thresholds being applied. However, we do encourage all our residents to seek independent advice and support from their local social work team before so you are able to make a well-informed decision before you agree to fund any care costs.
What is Continuing Health Care funding?
With Continuing Health Care (CHC), funding is paid for by the NHS via your Local Clinical Commissioning Group, and is for care where health care requirements which are highly complex or particularly severe. It is non-means tested and the full cost is covered by the NHS. As assessment for this type of funding is undertaken by a medically qualified member of the CHC team, and there is a specific checklist which they assess for and determine whether there is a primary health care need, which can be treated outside of a hospital setting which then determines whether it can be awarded. However, this type of funding is subject to 3 monthly reviews and if your level of care requirement changes, then this funding can be withdrawn.
Advice about paying for care
It’s important to get professional advice on the best way to fund the cost of care and we suggest that you take advice from a care fees expert to make sure that you have explored all the options available to you.
In order to make life easier we have contacted a national care fees planning specialist, Symponia who are dedicated to the financial issues of later life, in particular the payment of care fees. Read more about how Symponia can help you and download their helpful handbook.