Care Can Be Expensive.
Here are your options...
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Funding Your Care
Self funding your care
Adult social care budgets have suffered in recent years and a higher proportion of people are now having to self-fund their own care.
The austerity measures of recent years have had a significant impact on adult social care budgets and the reality is that a high proportion of people are now having to self-fund their own care. As a result many local authorities have had to raise the “needs bar” for when someone qualifies for funding via social services.
Simply put, if your capital, savings and or income puts you outside the upper means-test thresholds for local authority funding, you will generally be responsible for paying your own care. However, there are some scenarios where the NHS may be responsible for funding and there are some occasions when your property, as well as certain types of investments, cannot be included in the means test.
However, with careful planning it may be possible to structure things in such a way that care fees can be paid for the rest of your life – without the worry that the money might run out, while also leaving other investments untouched.
The first step is to think about what your ideal care would be, and then talk to a specialist financial advisor who will discuss all the conceivable options, exploring both the health and financial implications of each, and often creating a previously unthought-of solution. Expert financial planning helps ease the burden of worrying about your finances at a time that might be both highly confusing and emotionally draining. As everyone approaches the funding of care fees differently, and everyone will have different financial circumstances, personal, tailored planning with a professional adviser is vital. It is important not to dismiss any care options until such advice has been taken.
Such expert planners should be authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and should have obtained a dedicated long-term care qualification. For added reassurance, they should also be Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checked (previously CRB), and therefore cleared to guide vulnerable people.
The advisor will hold a face-to-face meeting to assess the situation thoroughly from both a care and a financial perspective. After thorough research, they will present the person in care and/or their legal representatives with a comprehensive report detailing each and every available option, together with their recommendations. This allows the client, legal representatives and/or the family members to weigh up all the facts and make an informed decision.
Depending on individual circumstances, the report could include the opportunity to purchase an ‘immediate care plan’: a dedicated and potentially tax-free product designed to cover all or part of the care fees.
This type of specialist financing can be funded from existing savings and/or ‘equity release’, where capital is unlocked from a property, or other alternatives. There are of course pros and cons to all these options, so they do need discussion with suitably qualified advisers. Once established, immediate care plans can pay towards care fees indefinitely.
This is a tax-free benefit for people who are physically or mentally disabled who need someone to look after or supervise them.
The rate varies between £57.30 and £85.60 per week and is applicable if you:
Are aged 65 or over
Physically or mentally disabled
Claim straight away so that you do not lose out. THIS IS NOT MEANS TESTED.
Call the Benefit Enquiry Line for advice: 0800 882 200
Local Authority Funding
If your capital, savings and or income puts you below the lower means-test thresholds then you may qualify for your local authority to assist with funding your care.
Those with savings or income within the means-test thresholds may qualify for partial funding. Although this sounds simple, you won’t be surprised to hear that the process can sometimes be a little more complex. For example there are often occasions when someone’s property can’t be included in the means test and there are also certain types of investment that can’t be included either.
The level of funding will depend upon an assessment of needs which is broadly based on the level of assistance you required with daily living activities, such as washing, dressing, preparing meals and taking medication.
If your local authority does pay for some or all of your care, you will be given a personal budget, and it could:
Provide the care directly to you, either through their own staff or through a contract organisation.
Give you direct payments that enable you to buy the services directly with money given to you by the local authority.
There are some items the local authority must provide for free if you are assessed as needing them. These include “community equipment” which means items specifically designed to make daily life easier for you. For example:
Equipment that helps with zips or buttons
Telephones with large buttons or flashing lights
The need for this type of equipment will come out of an assessment of your needs. A local authority may have set rules about the type of equipment it will consider supplying, or the level of costs it will meet. If this is the case, you could argue they shouldn’t have blanket policies about the equipment they will provide and should make decisions depending on individual circumstances.
In some case, a local authority may also pay for minor adaptations (costing less than £1,000) to your home. Things like grab rails on the bath or blocks to make the bed higher may be paid for.
For more information on local authority funding of your care, you can check out NHS Choices.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is ending for people aged 16 to 64. You may be able to apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) to assist with funding your care.
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is ending for people aged 16 to 64.
You can keep getting DLA if you’re under 16 or you were born on or before 8 April 1948 and have an existing claim.
You’ll continue getting DLA until the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) invites you to apply for PIP. You do not need to do anything until DWP writes to you about your DLA unless your circumstances change.PIP is made up of 2 components (parts), the ‘care component’ and the ‘mobility component’.
Daily living part
The weekly rate for the daily living part of PIP is either £57.30 or £85.60.
The weekly rate for the mobility part of PIP is either £22.65 or £59.75.
Council Tax Allowance
If you live on your own you are automatically entitled to a “Sole Occupancy Discount” of 25% reduction in your Council tax.
A Lifetime Mortgage is a form of equity release and has become more popular option for funding your care recently as they are tightly regulated.
Regulations have been put in place to include the right to remain in your own home for life and the no-negative equity guarantee which ensure that your family would not inherit your debt if the home was then sold for less than the outstanding loan amount. The benefits of a Lifetime Mortgage also include no repayments during the borrower’s lifetime, a ‘flexible drawdown’ feature which allows the homeowner to access regular withdraws of cash for day to day expenses and interest is charged at a fixed rate, however the money can run out. Alternatively and in some cases a more secure option is to take a one off lump sum equity release and invest it in a Care Fees Payment Plan.
For further advice you can speak with Jennifer Lyddiatt – The Wealth Care Partnership on 01425 653263 or email: Jennifer@twcp.co.uk
Free & Pre-Payment Prescriptions
These are only for NHS prescriptions
If you are over 65 your medication is free.
If you have cancer you will receive medication free.
Independent Financial Advice
This is to support people to continue to live at home.
To be eligible you must:
Be between 16 and 66 years of age.
Your assets must be less than £23,250.00
Receive the highest rate of Disability Allowance.
Get at least £340.00 per week from your local authority.
Have capital of £18,500 or less
For advice ring: 0845 601 8815
Check the adviser has The Later Life Adviser Accreditation
Ideally liaise with someone who belongs to SOLLA – The Society of Late Life Advisers We recommend Andrew Dixson-Smith of Care Fees Investment Ltd
Tel: 0845 077 5655 www.carefeesinvestment.co.uk
Is a Personal Independence Payment For You or Someone you know?
This video provides a brief overview of PIP, what it’s for and who it’s aimed at.
Providing Information To Support Your Personal Independence Payment Claim
This video explains what supporting information you should include when making a claim for PIP
Key things about your Personal Independence Payment decision
This video takes you through receiving the PIP decision and things you might want to do.