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

There are essentially two categories of care, and two distinct sources of funding:
  1. Social Care – for care needs such as washing, dressing or using the bathroom. This is funded by the local authority.
  2. 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.

The eligibility thresholds are:
  • £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.

Direct Payments

If you are eligible for help with care from your local authority, then either they can organise care for you or you can receive direct payments where you can manage care for yourself. This is where a certain amount of money is allocated to you to pay for care. Here is more information about this:

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.
https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/help-with-health-costs/what-is-a-personal-health-budget/

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)
https://www.gov.uk/attendance-allowance
This is tax-free and not means tested.

Personal Independence Payments (PIP) are for people aged 16-65 and has replaced the Disability Living Allowance

https://www.gov.uk/pip

There is of course, the State Pension
https://www.gov.uk/state-pension

Pension Credit is a benefit for people on lower incomes in order to provide a minimum weekly income:

https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit

Personal Expense Allowance is spending money that people whos care is funded are allowed to keep

https://www.financialadvice.net/personal_expenses_allowance/zone/552

Further Information

We hope this is useful. Do feel free to call us on 0208 1239 714 for further information.