When people need residential or nursing home care there will be fees to pay. In some situations Local authorities and or the NHS will pay, in other circumstances people are asked to pay some or all of the cost of the care themselves.
Not everybody needs residential care, in fact only around 6% of those aged between 75 and 85 need residential care. When care is needed the local authority will undertake a means assessment of both income and capital to calculate whether someone should contribute towards their care. This assessment will take into account the value of their home if they are a homeowner.
Local Authorities do provide many support services such as meals on wheels, home help and day care centres to help people stay in their homes. Some of the support services may be means tested.
Age Concern and other voluntary organisations provide services for older people which include shopping, gardening and cleaning help.
When the primary need of an individual is a health need the responsibility to meet the funding is that of the NHS. This is even the case when the local authority has organised and made the placement. This is the basis of NHS Continuing Care – fully funded health care.
If you do not qualify for free care then your assets will be assessed to see whether you will need to contribute towards its cost, this is generally known as Means Testing.
Most of the resident’s income will be put towards the fees for means tested services. The resident will be allowed pocket money (currently £24.90). To find out about recent care system changes, click on the link.
If you have more than £23,250 in capital you will be required to pay the full cost of the fees regardless of income. Your home is counted as capital and will be included. Your home will only be ignored if your spouse/civil partner lives there or a relative who is over 60 or under 16 lives in the house. It may also be ignored if you had a live in carer who continues to live there.
If you have capital of between £16,000 and £23,250 then you will have to pay for some of your care on a proportionate basis. If you have capital of less than £16,000 then the local authority will pay for your care.
It may be tempting to give your assets away to avoid paying fees
A number of people approach us to try and avoid paying for care by giving away their home or their savings. This could be termed ‘deliberate deprivation’. If the local authority believes that you have deliberately deprived yourself of money, you will be treated for the purposes of the means test as if you still have it. There are no time limits. Any gift needs to be given careful thought and legal advice taken before mistakes are made.
Some of the disadvantages of making a gift could include:
This may all sound doom and gloom, it isn’t, it is just a complex area and the first easy option may not be the best in the long run. We are able to advise on the best scenario for you and your family, whether that is re-organising your finances, downsizing your property or finances for tax saving purposes or helping complete the forms and liaise with the local authority about funding either yours or a relatives care.
If any of these issues, relating to residential and nursing home care, affect you or any member of your family we are specialists in this area and we will be able to advise and help. We are happy to visit you or your family at home, or at their place of care if that is more convenient for you, we have car parking available at our Ipswich office and ground floor disabled access meeting rooms. Please contact us by telephone or email for advice and to arrange an appointment.
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