Being faced with the prospect of requiring care for yourself or a loved one can be daunting. It is well documented that the cost of care is expensive and must be paid for even by those with modest assets or savings (currently £23,250 in England for the tax year 2020/21). However, there are several steps that can be taken to potentially mitigate the cost of care, some of which I will highlight below.
So, first things first, ask the local authority to carry out a Care Needs Assessment which is free, as laid down in the Care Act 2014, resulting in a Care Plan. The assessment is to decide if you are eligible for care and support from your local authority and if you do, how these needs should be met. The assessment will provide you with information around practical changes that could be made in your own home to meet your care requirement or if more support is required, provide advice around moving to a care home. They can also provide details on support groups such as day centres and lunch clubs to help maintain your social interaction and well-being. The availability of equipment / aids such as shower stools, walking frames up to the value of £1,000.
Following the Care Needs Assessment, a Financial Assessment will determine if you have the assets now and in the future to either pay for your own care or will be reliant upon the local authority. If enough evidence is available that you can fund your own care, the local authority may deem that the Financial Assessment has been carried out and no funding will be provided. Simply because you own your home does not mean that it will automatically be included within a Financial Assessment. There are a number of property disregards which means that the value of your home will be ignored, a good example is choosing to receive care at home.
Investigate the possibility if you qualify for the Attendance Allowance which is payable to people of state pension age or over who have been suffering from severe disability for a period of 6 months or longer (non means tested), residing in their own homes or a privately funded care home. Depending upon your needs this could generate £89.15 per week (£4,635.80 pa), based on a significant need.
Whilst difficult to qualify for, your care may be entirely funded through the NHS Continuing Healthcare arrangement. This is where your overriding need for care is health driven (a primary health need). An assessment will be undertaken by health / social workers through a healthcare checklist. Assuming you meet the criteria, a further assessment will then be conducted by a multi- disciplinary team of health professional to establish eligibility for full funding.
Often overlooked but worth investigating is if you have insurance plans which might partially or fully meet your care costs. These arrangements often formed an option within an investment bond or may have simply been a care insurance contract. Pay-outs from these plans usually involve the failure of activities of daily living such as walking unaided, bathing, getting dressed independently etc.
Finally, check whether you qualify for any assistance as a result of a previous profession, association or religious background i.e. actors or masonic connections.
Once you have determined your eligibility for certain benefits or allowances it is highly likely particularly for those homeowners living in the south of England that you will have to contribute towards your care costs. There is a myriad of options that can be considered to help fund the cost of care some of which can remove the worry of running out of funds.
If you would like to discuss the options of having to fund your own care or the care of a loved one, then do please contact Peter Magliocco or Matt Bond who can guide you through what needs to be considered. Remember, a Power of Attorney will be needed if you are discussing the financial or health and welfare aspects of another person.