Guide to funding
Caring for people

Guide to Care Funding

Whether you are paying for your care yourself, are looking for financial assistance with care fees or looking to sort out your benefits whilst in care, it can be very confusing. We would recommend you seek professional advice and you can see a list of organisations to contact on our page of useful contacts.

We have put together some information regarding the most common questions and queries we get asked about care home funding.

What type of funding support is available?

There are several types of support available including from local councils, health trusts (NHS) as well as third parties such as relatives.

  • The most common is Means Tested Support
  • If you require nursing care you could have you care funded by the NHS

If you are not eligible you will be required to fund your own care and this should require professionally advised financial planning ideally before the time when care is needed.

How do I know what I am eligible for?

To see if you fall into the criteria to receive funding support for your care, you will need to be assessed by your local council’s social services department who will assess your care e=needs to determine what type of support you require and therefore the level of assistance available to you.

They will carry out a financial assessment called a Means Test to decide what you are entitled to by way of financial contribution to your care and accommodation costs. It may be that the council will fully fund your care.

The level of support varies throughout the UK, but in England there are currently three levels of support available –

  • If you have assets above £23, 250 you will be expected to cover the standard costs of your chosen care home until such as point as these assets fall below the £23,250 threshold.
  • If your assets are between £14, 250 and £23, 250 you will be expected to make some contribution from your assets and any income such as a pension
  • If your assets are less than £15,250 you will not have to make any contribution from your assets but will be expected to contribute from any income you may have.

(Figures correct at 2011-2012)

Only capital and income in your name counts when it comes to financial assessment. Any joint savings and capital are assumed to be equally shared so only half of the value will be counted as yours. If both you and a partner are moving into a home, you will be assessed individually, so the capital limits apply to each and are not joint.

Getting the right assessment

Before you have your care needs assessed by your Local Authority it is important that you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to. This is important because your Means Test will assume you are receiving everything you are entitled to so you don’t want to be penalised for benefits you aren’t actually receiving.

If you feel that your needs require nursing care, you should talk to your GP who will refer you to your Local Authority’s social services department who will work out how much financial assistance you are entitled to towards your care and accommodation. If you are assessed as qualifying to having some or all of your nursing costs paid by the NHS, it is not depended on your assets. Some people, particularly those needing ongoing, specialist treatment may have the full cost of their care paid for. This is called ‘continuing health care’.

Will I need to sell my home to fund care?

If you move into a care home permanently, your Local Authority may count your home as capital from 12 weeks after moving in and this may therefore require you to sell your home to fund care (depending on what other capital you can draw on).

But, your home is not counted as capital if it is occupied by any of the following –

  • Your husband, wife, civil partner or someone you live with as a partner
  • A close relative who is aged 60 or over or is incapacitated
  • A child under 18
  • An ex-husband, ex-wide, ex-civil partner or ex-partner if they are a single parent

Give away assets such as savings or your home (or sell on at less than their true value) in order to qualify for financial assistance is not allowed and is classed as ‘deliberate deprivation’ and those assets will still be included in your assessment and classed as you still owning the assets. As there is no limit to the time this can be applied, it is advisable to seek professional, independent financial advice before changing any financial arrangements so as not to appear to have been giving away your assets.

Accessing support

There are various organisations who can offer independent advice –