You may be surprised to learn that you qualify for some level of funding to finance your long term care needs. Below we have set out what might be available to you or your loved one.
Local Authority Support
Local Authority funding is not accessible to individuals where capital assets exceed £23,250. Where assets exceed this amount you are considered a ‘self funder’, which essentially means you will have to pay for your own care fees until such a time that your capital falls below this threshold. Some assets are excluded from the assessment which is undertaken by the Local Authority. In particular, the treatment of the person’s home can sometimes lead to confusion. This asset is excluded if:
* A spouse or partner still resides at the property
* A relative aged 60 or over lives at the house
* A disabled relative lives at the house
* A dependent child under 18 lives in the house
* The care is being provided on a temporary basis
* The person is in the first twelve weeks of needing permanent care
With Local Authority funding, you can top up care payments of the amount provided if it does not meet the cost of the chosen care provider. Local Authorities will only assess the individual needing care and do not assess a couple’s joint resources. For more information you will need to contact your Local Authority.
NHS Continuing Health Care and Funded Nursing Care
NHS Continuing Care is a package of care funded by the NHS. It helps to meet the physical and mental needs that a person has as a result of a disability, accident or illness. This can be provided in any setting, including your own home. The care is funded by your local Primary Care Trust. To qualify, you have to be assessed as having a ‘primary health’ need. Assessors will make this decision by looking at a person’s day to day needs. This can be done prior to discharge from a hospital, or when your health gets worse (i.e. if you are at home). To arrange an assessment you will need to speak to hospital staff or your GP. Consent to the assessment must be given by the person needing it, or in situations where they are unable to do so, the person holding Lasting Power of Attorney for their health and welfare will be required to do so.
What is Attendance Allowance?
Attendance Allowance is a benefit paid to people who are 65 or over who have care needs, to help with the extra costs of long term illness or disability. Attendance Allowance can be paid regardless of your income, savings or National Insurance contribution record and is a tax free benefit. If you are a carer who has care needs, you can claim Attendance Allowance for yourself and this will not affect your Carer’s Allowance.
Getting Attendance Allowance does not reduce other benefits, it may even increase them. If you have a carer then claiming Attendance Allowance may help them to qualify for certain benefits (such as Carers’ Allowance). Attendance Allowance may also entitle you and/or your carer to further help with council tax.
There are no restrictions on how you can spend your Attendance Allowance, and you do not have to spend it on paying for the care that you need. However, your council or trust can take Attendance Allowance into account when calculating how much you might need to pay for any care services you receive.
Attendance Allowance will not apply to:
- people who are between 16 and 64 years, who should claim the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) instead (or Disability Living Allowance (DLA) if the person lives in Northern Ireland)
- people aged 65 or over and who are already in receipt of DLA or PIP
Who can claim Attendance Allowance?
To qualify for Attendance Allowance you must meet all of the following criteria:
- be aged 65 or over
- need help looking after yourself because you have a disability or illness
- have had the disability or illness for at least six months (you can make your claim before the six months have passed, but you will not receive any payment until they have)
You may need help with various activities because you have a physical disability or illness, a sensory impairment, a learning disability or a mental health condition. You may have multiple disabilities or conditions.
How much is Attendance Allowance worth?
There are two rates of Attendance Allowance:
Rate Amount per week (2015/16 rate)
- Higher £82.30
- Lower £55.10
You will be paid the higher rate of Attendance Allowance if you meet one of the following criteria:
- you satisfy both the daytime and night-time tests
- you are terminally ill (someone is classified as terminally ill if they are not expected to live longer than 6 months)
You will be paid the lower rate of Attendance Allowance if:
- you satisfy the daytime or night-time tests
Specific rules apply for some kidney patients undergoing renal dialysis at least 2 times per week.
If you have any questions whatsoever on any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01206 233372 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Researching your funding
Looking for quality elderly care is a demanding and emotional process, frequently experienced for the first time. It’s therefore not surprising that among the hundreds of questions requiring an answer, the most prominent one is ‘What are the costs and how will I afford them?’
Given the importance of this question, it is a sad statistic that currently only eight per cent of self funding care patients receive proper financial advice to fully inform them of the options that are out there. There are several specialist financial advisers out there, who are both accredited and independent, offering a full advice and support service, without bias towards one particular care provider or style of care.
This begs the questions, why aren’t care providers helping to increase these organisations visibility? A financially informed and secure patient, whether with live-in care or in a home, will be less stressed, as will their support network, creating a more relaxed environment for all concerned. Providing this patient/adviser relationship also makes sound business sense, as patients who take advice are far less likely to default on the payment of fees and reduce the potential burden on the state sector through proper finance management.
The Government has recognised this phenomenon and has begun to put steps in place to increase the financial advice available to patients. A commission has recently been set up to explore the issues surrounding funding care and support. This commission is fully independent and expected to report back within a year.
In the meantime, Ann Mason Care would advise those looking to self-fund care to contact a member of Symponia www.symponia.co.uk. Symponia Financial Advisors are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (the FSA) to give advice.