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Will the State pay for my care?

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State funding for care is quite complex. Whilst continuing healthcare, principally for medical reasons, is still provided by the NHS free of charge, ordinary day to day nursing and adult social care, to help with retaining independence and performing daily activities of living is the responsibility of local authorities. 

If you do not qualify for NHS Continuing Healthcare and need more social care, your local authority is duty bound to carry out a means test on your savings and income to see if you have to fund it yourself or whether they need to pay for it.

State funding for care is quite complex. Whilst continuing healthcare, principally for medical reasons, is still provided by the NHS free of charge, ordinary day to day nursing and adult social care, to help with retaining independence and performing daily activities of living is the responsibility of local authorities. 

If you do not qualify for NHS Continuing Healthcare and need more social care, your local authority is duty bound to carry out a means test on your savings and income to see if you have to fund it yourself or whether they need to pay for it.


Means Testing

Local authorities no matter where you live will only help financially if:-

a) You are deemed to need the care and
b) Your assets and savings fall below certain maximum limits.

These maximum limits (referred to as Upper Capital Thresholds) vary depending on which country you live in and will change slightly each year. The current different thresholds are:-

England - £23,250
Wales - £24,000 is receiving care at home, £50,000 in a care home.
Scotland - £29,750 (all figures correct 2022-23)

However, in Scotland, regardless of savings you will qualify for a Personal Care payment if you are assessed as needing care. This is currently £212.85 pw and if you also need nursing, you will also receive an extra £95.80 per week Nursing contribution (all rates applying 2022-23). A Financial means test is only carried out if you need care in a care home to determine whether you have to pay for any "Hotel" or accommodation costs.


So what do they include in assets?

Capital

All assets owned by the person needing care (not partners as well) and half of any joint assets including:

  • Bank and Building Society accounts (including 50% of any jointly held accounts which you own with a spouse or partner)
  • Shares
  • Investments such as ISA’s and Unit Trusts (and other properties) including 50% of any jointly held accounts which you own with a spouse or partner.
  • Any Business Interests
  • National Savings and Premium Bonds
  • Shares or Government Gilts
  • The value of any capital you may have transferred to other family members at a time when care could have been foreseeable,
  • Your Home but not when:
    a) A spouse or partner still lives there
    b) relative over 60 still lives there
    c) An incapacitated relative still lives in it
    d) A child under 16 still lives there and the person needing care is responsible for maintaining them (only one property can be disregarded under these rates)
    Or you want care at home.

Personal possessions are excluded unless believed purchased deliberately to reduce capital prior to an assessment.

Your local authority also has the discretion but is not compelled to disregard the home if it has now become the sole residence of someone who previously cared for you.

However the value of any property assessed should only include the net value making allowance for any debt secured on it and a nominal 10% sale costs. It could also be further reduced if you only have a beneficial right over a percentage of its ownership, such as where (prior to any care being a possibility) ownership was transferred intoTenants in Common basis, or where some of it is now owned by a Trust. In such instances only a “nominal” value should be assessed (providing no other family member is able or willing to buy the other share) as no other person would want to buy just a percentage of any property.


12 Week Property Disregard

Even if the full value is counted, providing other assets do not exceed £23,250 England and N.Ireland, £50,000 Wales or £29,750 Scotland (2022-23) they should also ignore it for an initial 12 weeks. This is called the 12-week property disregard.

However, this doesn’t mean your first 12 weeks of any permanent care will be provided free, it just means the value of your home must be disregarded. During this 12 weeks they will still normally seek some contribution from you towards your care based on your income and any benefits you are already claiming or could claim.

After this first 12 weeks, your home's value would then be counted (unless continues to be disregarded due to a spouse or dependant relative living there) and you would then need to fund your own care and should seek professional care fees advice. To find out more about options for self-funding see Paying for Care.

Income

Even if your capital falls below the applicable Upper Capital Thresholds you may still not qualify for any assistance as they will then also look at your income to see if this could exceed the cost of any care they assess you need. If it does, they may still not pay.

The income they assess you could be receiving doesn’t just include your Pensions but also any state benefits you may be entitled to, plus any “tariff” or theoretical income they feel you should be getting from any savings greater than:

England - £14,250
Scotland - £18,500
(Both of these are based on 2022-23 rates)

This “tariff income” is calculated at the arbitrary fixed rate of £1 per week extra per week for every £250 of capital that you have between the lower and Upper Capital Thresholds.

E.g If you have £23,000 of savings, you will be deemed to be receiving a further £35 per week.

If your total “assessable income” exceeds the amount it would cost your Local Authority to source the care they feel you need, even if your savings are less than £23,250 in England or if you live in Wales -£24,000 if want care at home or £50,000 if you need care in a care home (both rates applicable in 2022-23), you are unlikely to qualify for any help.

Only once both your capital and income fall below the applicable figures, are you likely to qualify for maximum funding.

However, even then, they will only pay for the care or number of hours they feel you need. If you want more hours or better quality of care, your or your family may have to fund any difference.

To avoid this, you or your family may want to look at how much a care fees annuity might cost.

To get a FREE quote complete our care fees annuity quote form. Or call us on FREEPHONE 0800 180 4336.

State Benefits

Even if you need to pay for your own care, you may also be able to claim the following non-means tested benefits based solely on your need for assistance /care;

Depending on your age and finances you may also be able to claim Pension Credit and even reductions on or exemption from Council Tax which you should speak to your own Local Authority about..

   

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