If the time is fast approaching where you realise you may need extra care in your day to day life, you may be worrying about how much that care is going to cost, how you will be able to pay for it and if you might be eligible for local authority funding.
With many people, when they think of needing extra care the first thing that comes to mind is a care home, or residential care however there is an alternative. Care in your own home is a better option for many and the costs are comparable to residential home fees.
Social care is means tested in the UK. The amount of help you get depends on how much you have in personal assets, so before you can receive funding for home care services you will need to have a financial and needs assessment. This is to work out what level of care you require in order for the local authority to decide whether and how much to contribute towards the cost of your daily care. In other words, they may pay for all of your care, or they may pay for part of your care with you paying the rest, or they will assess that you must pay for all of your care.
What will they look at?
The local authority will thoroughly assess your income and available capital to assess your eligibility for funding help. Your total capital could include things such as:
- Bank and building society accounts
- Investments and savings
- ISAs, stocks and shares, dividends
- Properties you own which are not your main residence
Is the value of your home included?
If you move into a care home in England or Northern Ireland the value of your home and assets over and above £23,250 are taken into account to pay for your care. The asset threshold in Wales is £24,000 (or £50,000 for care in a care home) and in Scotland it is £27,250. However, if you want to stay and receive care in your own home the good news is that your home is not included as part of your assets.
What is a needs assessment?
This is to ascertain what kind of help you need to manage your daily care needs before your local council can recommend whether you require any equipment to help you get around the house or to help you with personal care and bathing needs. It looks at whether you need help accessing local services such as day centres or medical appointments. and indeed whether you need help from a carer.
They will ask you questions about how you manage daily tasks like cooking, eating, washing and dressing and about how you cope when you have to leave the home for any reason. The assessment can be carried out either over the phone or face to face. It is a free service, and you can book an assessment by contacting your local authority’s social services department.
Following a successful assessment, the council will allocate a care plan and budget for you and will either pay a direct payment into your bank account so you can arrange and pay for live-in care of your choosing, or they can arrange local authority care.