Care for elderly
It is something worth considering and careful planning ahead.
There are various care arrangements that can be put in place for you, ranging from arranging help in your own home or moving them to an assisted accommodation such as sheltered housing or residential care.
More often than not a financial help from the local authority will be required in relation to the following:
- accommodation costs
- personal care costs
- nursing care costs.
The eligibility to receive financial support will depend on your personal circumstances and what capital you have.
Let’s look at the above specified categories of costs in turn.
Your local authority will carry out an assessment to ensure that you can keep some money for your personal use. Most of your income (including pensions and capital) will be taken into account when deciding what you should pay.
If you have capital of more than £27,250 the local authority will make no contribution to your accommodation costs and you will have to cover the full expense, although you may be able to select the care home of your choice depending on availability.
If your capital is between £17,000 and £27,250 the local authority will part-fund the accommodation costs.
Your care will be fully funded by the local authority if your capital is assessed as less than £17,000. In this case the funding can include personal care and nursing care costs.
Funding for accommodation costs may also be available in a private care home, but it is important to ensure that the local authority can agree a contract with the home at the outset if you think you may have to rely on this.
In certain circumstances it may be possible, as part of this contract, for third parties to agree to top-up costs where there is a gap between the home’s charges and the local authority’s contribution. The third parties are usually your family members and they might be asked to give written confirmation that they will contribute towards the care costs.
Personal and nursing care costs
The local social work department also has to carry out an assessment to establish if an individual’s needs mean that personal care and/or nursing care costs are to be paid.
Following the assessment the social work department can organise the move to a home, which must be suitable for your needs. If you require a place urgently you may have to accept what is available, although there may be circumstances where you can be put on a waiting list for your preferred location.
If you are over 65 you may receive £174 per week to fund your personal care costs and this will be paid directly to your care provider.
The provision of nursing care costs is similar to personal care costs except that they are available to people of any age who have been assessed as needing the service.
The amount you will receive each week is in the range of £79, which is paid directly to the care provider on your behalf. However, if you qualify to receive this free personal care and/or nursing care then you may lose your entitlement to Attendance Allowance or the Care Component of Disability Living Allowance.
What is included as ‘capital’ for means testing?
It is important to understand what is included as ‘capital’ for means testing.
When looking at spouses and civil partners, the assessment will include a half share of any joint assets they have. However, your home will be disregarded so long as your spouse or civil partner continues to live there.
The definition of ‘capital’ is wide and includes assets like land, premium bonds, stocks and shares and savings. If you own your home or a second property then this will also be included as part of the capital which is means tested and you will be expected to use that capital before accessing financial support.
If the property you live in is not owned by you this should not be taken into account unless you have gifted it away with a view to avoiding the implications of this assessment. It is crucial to seek guidance and assistance of a skilled private client solicitor when considering disbursement of your assets in contemplation of your future care arrangements.
It is worth remembering that there is no time limit beyond which the local authority will not question property gifts. In practice, however, the further back in time they were made the less likely they are to cause a difficulty.
Under current rules if the gift took place more than six months before you apply for funding then the local authority does not have the right to recover the assets or claim the cost of care from the recipient. The local authority would, however, still look for you to pay for your care.
Please ask us for information on the risks involved with the gifting of your home. Our private client team would be happy to help.