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 is the responsibility of local authorities. They are 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 help pay for it.
Local authorities no matter where you live will only help financially if a) you are deemed to need the care and more importantly your assets and savings fall below certain 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
Scotland - £26,250
However in Scotland, regardless of savings you will qualify for a Personal Care payment if you are over 65 and also if nursing is deemed necessary also an extra £78 per week Nursing contribution (all rates applying 2015/16). A Financial means test is only carried out to determine whether you have to pay for any "Hotel" or accommodation costs.
You will only potentially qualify for any financial assistance from your local authority if your assessable capital is below:-
England - £14,250
Wales - £24,000
Scotland - £16,250
(All of these are based on 2015/16 rates)
All assets owned by the person needing care (not partners as well) and half of any joint assets including:
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 into a Tenants 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.
Even if the full value is counted, providing other assets do not exceed £23,250 England and N.Ireland, £24,000 Wales or £26,250 Scotland (2015/16). they should also ignore it for an initial 12 weeks. This is called the 12 week property disregard.
Even if the full value is counted, providing other assets do not exceed £23,250 England and N.Ireland, £24,000 Wales or £26,250 Scotland (2015/16) they should also ignore it for an initial 12 weeks. This is called the 12 week property disregard.
If or when care becomes permanent AND care in a care home is deemed necessary under any local social services care needs assessment, the value of any principal former residence (not investment or 2nd property) should be disregarded for the first 12. However this doesn't means 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.
However, even if your capital falls below the applicable Upper Capital Thresholds you may still not qualify for any assistance. This is because they will then also look at your actual income being received from pensions and any benefits you are either currently receiving, or could receive if you claimed them, plus any tariff income (or theoretical income) they calculate you should be receiving from any capital/savings you have above their lower means test threshold, currently:-
England - £14,250
Wales - £24,000
Scotland - £16,250
This "tariff income" is calculated at the fixed rate of £1 per week extra per week for every £250 of capital that you have above the lower capital threshold and below the Upper Capital Threshold.
If your total income including this tariff income (minus a weekly personal expenses allowance they allow you to keep of currently £ £24.90 p.w. (England) £25.50 p.w. (Wales) or £25.05 p.w. (Scotland) 2015/16) - exceeds the maximum your local authority is prepared to pay for any care, once again they will not help and you will have to continue to pay for your own care until any tariff income falls sufficiently for them to help when they will only make up any difference.
Only when both capital and income falls below the applicable figures would you ever qualify for your local authority maximum funding. However they will then only pay a maximum rate, if you are receiving or chose more expensive care than any maximum your local authority is prepared to pay (each local authority sets different rates) then if your care provider is unwilling to accept the local authority rate, your family will need to fund any difference or you will have to move to a different care provider that will accept it. To avoid this from happening and to guarantee their care can continue uninterrupted, many of our clients opt for a care fee funding plan (formerly called a care fees annuity).
To get your free market comparison of ALL care fee funding plans simply complete our care fee plan quote form.
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The information contained in this web site is for general information only and is not financial, investment or tax advice. It is also subject to the UK regulatory regime and is therefore restricted to consumers based in the UK. If you would like to discuss a particular issue or generally ask us how we can advise on your particular situation then please contact us.
Advice on Care is a trading style of Keith Hargraves who is an appointed representative of Intrinsic Financial Planning Limited and Intrinsic Mortgage Planning Limited, which are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Intrinsic Financial Planning Limited and Intrinsic Mortgage Planning Limited are entered on the FCA register (http://www.fca.org.uk/register/) under reference 440703 and 440718.
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