State funding for care and nursing home fees comes via local authorities and/or the NHS. The criteria for each differs markedly. Local authority funding for care fees is means tested and based on the assets and income of the person needing care, if care is assessed as being needed. NHS funding is not means tested and is solely based on the medical needs of the care recipient.
Anyone requiring care is legally entitled to an assessment by their local Social Services . It is crucial in most-to-all cases that this assessment is carried out to ascertain the type of care needed and any state support which may be provided. If the assessment confirms that care is required, a means test will be carried out if the local authority is to be considered to provide funding, during which you must disclose full details of your assets.
If you have been prudent and have managed to save for your later years, own your home or have savings, it is likely that you will be liable for the majority of your Long Term Care fees. Broadly speaking, any income the care recipient receives is expected to pay for care home costs, except for a small weekly amount towards personal expenses.
There are two thresholds used for assets: an upper and a lower. Assets include property currently or sometimes previously owned, whether jointly, or as tenants in common to determine if you or Social Services should pay for care and nursing home fees. However, if a spouse or civil partner still lives in the home, it is disregarded. The property value is also disregarded for the first 12 weeks of care.
If the care recipient has assets above the higher threshold they are expected to pay for their care home fees in full. If the care recipient's assets are below the lower threshold, the Local Authority should pay the shortfall after their income and personal expense allowance are taken into account. If assets owned are between the two thresholds they are treated as 'tariff income' of £1 per week for every £250 of assets, that is they are treated as having income which should pay towards care and the personal expense allowance. Scotland also has a non-means tested personal Free Personal Care contribution, although Attendance Allowance is withdrawn if it is being received.
|Personal Expense Allowance Per Week||£21.90||£21.90||£22.00||£21.90|
A Local Authority may exercise its right of investigation to confirm that your home or assets have not been gifted in an attempt at avoiding Care or Nursing Home Fees (known as Deprivation of Assets). They have far reaching powers to recover any assets disposed of in this way, including the right to demand the return of those assets or to treat them as still being in the possession of the care recipient in their means testing and reducing or cancelling the amount they would have otherwise paid if the total of the actual and notional estate is over the thresholds.
Michael Migan BA (Hons)
Care Funding Manager
Care Fees Advisers
Care and Nursing