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Some people will have to contribute towards their care home fees. Your local council will work out how much you may have to pay by doing a financial assessment. If you need any further guidance or advice, the Select Healthcare team are always happy to help, too.

Your Financial Assessment

Before you move into a care home, you'll have a financial assessment with your local council. The council will look at your income and capital and decide how much you may have to pay towards your care home fees.

Examples of income include:

  • Interest on your savings
  • Private and/or State Pension
  • Some benefits like Pension Credit, Attendance Allowance or the care component of Disability Living Allowance

Your capital might include:

  • Interest on your savings
  • Private and/or State Pension
  • Some benefits like Pension Credit, Attendance Allowance or the care component of Disability Living Allowance

Before your financial assessment, make sure you're getting all the benefits you're entitled to. This is important because your contribution to your care home fees will be worked out as if you're receiving all relevant benefits.

No matter how much you have to pay towards your care home fees, you must be left with £21.90 a week (£22 if you live in Wales) to spend as you choose. If you get the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance, you will continue receiving this.

Local Authority Funding

You should be entitled to financial support from your Local Authority if you have been assessed as needing a care home and your capital is below £23,250. If your capital is below £14,250 you will be entitled to maximum support although you will still contribute your income less £23.90 per week retained for personal expenses. If you have capital between these amounts you will be required to pay an extra £1 per week for each £250 or part thereof between these two figures. If your assets (which may include your property) are above £23,250 you will more than likely be expected to pay privately for your care.

Even if the Local Authority is paying for your care you will still have a say in which home you choose. The home must be suitable for your needs and adhere to conditions set out in a contract between the home and Local Authority.

Top Ups

If the fees are higher at your chosen care home than the rate that the Local Authority would normally pay the Local Authority will usually allow the third party to pay a ‘top up’ to the fees as long as they can afford to do this long term. You cannot top up fees yourself from your capital below £23,250.

If your partner requires care but you do not then the property occupied by a partner is disregarded and only 50% of any private pension or joint savings will be taken into account.

Self Funding

You may be entitled to other forms of financial assistance if you are not eligible for Local Authority funding and are funding your own care.

If, apart from your property your other capital is below £23,250 then the Local Authority will help with your costs within the first 12 weeks of permanent care, after this any further costs incurred will be charged against your home and recouped once the sale of it has gone through. You do not need to sell your property Social Services can lend you the money to pay for your care and charge this to the value of your property; however they may place a limit on how much they will pay.

If you are self funding, Attendance Allowance is a non-means tested, non-taxable allowance paid at the lower rate of £53.00 per week for those needing care by day or night and, at a higher rate of £79.15 per week for those needing care by both day and night. If you receive nursing care in a care home you may be entitled to NHS Funded Nursing Care which will contribute towards the cost of your nursing care. If applicable an amount of £109.79 per week is paid by the NHS direct to the nursing home as a contribution towards the weekly fees. If your needs are primarily health care needs you may be entitled to full funding from your local Primary Care Trust (PCT) following an assessment under their continuing care eligibility criteria.

What happens if you are self funding in a care home and run out of money?

If your capital reduces to £23,250 you can seek assistance from your Local Authority. However, if the home is more expensive than the funding that the Local Authority offer, and the home will not reduce its fees, you may have to find alternative, cheaper accommodation or find a source of top up. If you are in a situation where you are running out of money it is advisable to approach Social Services to seek an assessment of care needs.

There are ways of meeting care costs for as long as you need care, whilst using up only part of your capital. For example, the use of an Immediate Need Care Fee Annuity can contribute towards capping the cost from the outset, thus enabling potential inheritance to be left for the family from any remaining funds after the purchase of the annuity. You can consult a specialist care funding adviser for guidance on your options or to see if you would qualify for this.