Funding Your Care

If you would like to find out if you are eligible for help with meeting the costs of your care, the first step would be to approach your local Social Services Older Adults team.

A Care Manager would arrange to visit you to carry out an assessment of your care needs to see if your level of need is judged to be within their criteria for receiving support. If after the assessment it was decided that these criteria were not met, then there would be no eligibility for help from Social Services regardless of your level of savings or income. In this instance, then paying privately for care and support would be the option available.

If it was decided that your needs were sufficient to require help and support, then you would be passed to another team for a means tested financial assessment. To enable the means test to be carried out, you would have to provide full details of all your savings and income.

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Currently, if you have savings of between £14,205 and £23,250 (2015/2016) then you will be eligible for some help with meeting the costs of your care. Any savings or income below the lower amount is disregarded for the purposes of the assessment. If your savings and income are above the upper level, you would be assessed as having no eligibility for help with meeting costs.
During this assessment, the officer should also check that you are in receipt of all the benefits you are entitled to and support you to claim for any you are not receiving.

The Care component of Disability Living Allowance is not counted in the assessment nor is the Attendance Allowance. Whether these benefits are awarded at the lower or higher rates will depend on the amount of help that you need.

Savings and income does not include the value of the property you live in for the purposes of care at home.

Once savings and income fall below the upper level you may ask for a reassessment of your finances. All assessments are reviewed annually as a matter of course by the Local Authority once they are funding either fully or in part a care package.

From April 2016, new funding structures will be introduced which will place a cap on the amount an individual will pay to meet care costs. The financial assessment needed to establish this for a person will again be carried out by the local authority.

If you choose to manage your care needs through Direct Payments, this would also give you the choice of employing your own care worker (or Personal Assistant). If this was the option chosen, then you need to bear in mind that you would be that person’s employer and as such would be responsible for deducting income tax, paying the employers national Insurance contribution, ensuring that pay rates met Minimum Wage requirements, ensure holiday entitlements were met and paid and that Employers and Public liability insurance was in place. You would also need to manage the recruitment and any training needs of the person that you employed.
The final option to explore is Continuing Care Funding from the NHS. To qualify for this funding a person must have a complex medical condition and substantial and ongoing care needs and the main or primary need for care must relate to that health need.
There will be an initial screening to identify if a full assessment will be carried out to determine eligibility for this funding. If agreed, this is an ongoing package of care that is funded by the NHS.

If you are assessed as being eligible to receive fully or partially funded care from your Local Authority there will still be options available to you to enable you to have greater choice and control over the care you receive and who provides it.
You could request that this money be made available in the form of a Direct Payment. It may also be called an Individual Budget. This means that you will be given a sum of money to meet the cost of your care needs, which will be detailed in a support plan. You are then able to choose your care provider and have more control over how the money is used. If the payment falls short of what you feel you require either you or your family are able to top it up.
If you do not feel able to manage this yourself, you can get support from a person you trust, or ask the Local Authority to manage it for you. You could also ask to have the payment in the form of an Individual Service Fund which could then be held by the care provider you have chosen to manage on your behalf.

NHS funding will sometimes be provided on discharge from hospital for a period of 6 weeks to provide a reablement package to help a person recover skills and independence that may have been lost during the time they were being treated and recovering.
Aids and adaptations such as grab rails and chair risers can be assessed for and provided free of charge in most cases. This process can be activated by a hospital or Social Services who will arrange for an Occupational therapist to visit and carry out an assessment.
Should your property be in need of more intense work to make it suitable then in some cases it may be possible to apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant, but eligibility for this is means tested.
If the only option is to fund care needs privately and to do so in the long term will mean having to sell your home when you would prefer to remain there, then there are some schemes that allow equity from the property to be released. If this was an option that you chose to investigate, it would be advisable to seek the support of an independent financial adviser.

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