Whether it’s hourly visiting care, live-in care or a residential care home, care can be expensive. This gives you information and signposts to know what funding is available and where you can go to apply.
Social Care vs Health Care
- Social Care – for care needs such as washing, dressing or using the bathroom. This is funded by the local authority.
- Health Care – for medical needs related to illness and injury. This is funded by the NHS.
If Social Care is required, how it works is that you request a Care Needs Assessment (available free from your local authority https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council), which establishes whether the Social Care needs are at a level which the social services will support. From the needs assessment the local authority will produce a Care Plan which details the care needs and recommendation of services to meet these needs.
Then the care that can be provided is means-tested by a Financial Assessment. This establishes whether you are entitled to funding.
- £23,250 in England (2019)
- £40,000 in Wales, (2019 – likely to go up to £50,000)
- £27,250 in Scotland (2019)
If the combined value of all your assets (excluding the value of your home) is above this, you will need to pay for your own care until you are below the threshold. However, if you decide to go to a care home then the value of your house is included in your assets. So you may need to sell your house to pay for care in a residential care home.
Often the situation can arise where someone is below the threshold and entitled to financial support from the local authorities, but the amount offered isn’t enough to pay the care needs. In this case it is possible for friends and family to ‘top up’ the difference.
NHS continuing healthcare (CHC)
This is where people with usually long-term, complex healthcare needs, are entitled to continuing support from the NHS (as opposed to the local authority). This is organised by the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CGC) https://www.england.nhs.uk/ccgs/ One crucial difference is that Continuing Healthcare is not means tested.
With CHC, usually the NHS will organise the care, but there is an option similar to direct payments called Personal Health Budgets (PHBs) where you have more choice over the care that you receive.
For those that are not eligible for CHC, it may also be possible that the NHS will fund any nursing aspects of home care needed or the nursing care aspect of nursing care fees, usually up to £158.16 per week.
Available State Benefits
It makes sense to claim all that you are entitled to and some are not means tested. The following is a list of the available options:
Attendance allowance is for people aged 65 or over who need help with care due to sickness or disability (including mental illness and learning disability)
This is tax-free and not means tested.
There is of course, the State Pension