Moving into a Care Home can be a difficult time, the rules and regulations when deciding who pays the fees, including nursing care, can be complicated. Here we have tried to answer some of the more commonly asked questions. We cannot however give individual financial advice but have supplied a list of useful contacts.

Who qualifies for Council funding?

  • If person has capital of more than £23,250 they will not be eligible for Council funding. Where a resident is one of a couple, or a civil partnership, they will not be eligible for Council funding if they have capital of more then £23,250 in their own right; or if their own capital and their share of jointly held capital is more than £23,250.
  • Capital over £14,250 and up to and including £23,250 is taken into account in full for the purposes of calculating the resident’s tariff income from capital.
    Tariff income; £1 for every complete £250 or part of £250 over £14,250.
  • Capital of £14,250 or less is fully disregarded (i.e. does not attract tariff income).
  • A financial assessment by the Council will determine what an individual’s contribution will be; if the individual is eligible for Council funding this is usually pension income less a personal allowance.

What is Capital?
Capital is the total value of savings, bonds, shares property and land owned by the resident.

A resident’s resources are either capital or income. It may not always be obvious whether a payment is capital or income, but generally, a payment of capital is one which is:
–  not in respect of a specified period; and
–  not intended to form part of a series of payments.

Examples of capital are shown in the following list. The list is intended as a guide.

  • Buildings
  • Land
  • National Savings Certificates and Ulster Savings Certificates
  • Premium Bonds
  • Stocks and shares
  • Capital held by the Court of Protection or a Deputy appointed by that Court

Any savings held in:

  • Building society accounts – income which is paid into an account becomes capital once the period over which it is taken into account as income expires.
  • Bank current accounts, deposit accounts or special investment accounts. This includes savings held in the National Savings Bank, Girobank and Trustee Savings Bank – income which is paid into an account becomes capital once the period over which it is taken into account as income expires.
  • SAYE schemes
  • Unit Trusts
  • Co-operative share accounts
  • Cash

Can I transfer my capital to someone else? (Deprivation of Capital)
During the financial assessment the Council may consider that a resident has ‘deprived’ themselves of capital in order to reduce accommodation charges.

A transfer may be considered as ‘deprivation’ regardless of the time of disposal if it was considered to be with the intention of avoiding accommodation charges.

If the Council decides there has been deprivation of capital it will consider the resident as having ‘notional capital’, they will treat the resident as having the capital and charge for accommodation.

Where a resident transfers capital to avoid accommodation charges within 6 months of assessment of needing care the council has the power to recover the cost from the person/s to which those assets were transferred.

Do I have to sell my property?
If you do not put your house on the market the council will lend you money against the value of your property which will be re-paid once the house is eventually sold, however they may limit how much they will pay and because it is not on the market it will be treated as capital and subject to its value.

Will the Council pay my fees whilst I sell my property?
If savings are below £23,250.00 the council will disregard the value of the property and pay towards the cost of care for the first 12 weeks. After 12 weeks the Council will recover any payments received from the eventual sale of property.

How will this affect my partner?

Property occupied by a partner will be disregarded, 50% of any private pension and 50% of joint savings.

  • A married partner can be asked to make a ‘liable relatives contribution’ towards the cost of care, however because government intend to abolish this councils have been given extra money so they not to apply for the contribution.

What will happen when I run out of money?
Once your capital reduces to the upper limit you can ask the Council to pay towards the fees. The Home will negotiate with the council an agreeable weekly fee.

Do Social Security Benefits stop? Are there other benefits I can claim?

  • Housing benefit will stop
  • Income Support will continue at the same rate as if living at home
  • Attendance Allowance will stop after 4 weeks if the council is paying towards fees. If you are paying your fees privately Attendance Allowance will continue. This is a non-means tested, non-taxable benefit, current rates are £54.45 per week if you need care during the day and £81.30 if you need care both day and night.
  • If you need nursing care you will be entitled to NHS Nursing Care Contribution from your commissioning group currently £110.89 per week.
  • If your main need is healthcare you may be entitled to NHS Full Funding from your local commissioning group

How much is Personal Allowance?
Personal Allowance is paid with weekly pension; the current rate is £24.50 and will be deducted from the total pension before working out the resident’s contribution.

There may be times when the resident receives the majority of a couple’s income leaving the spouse at home with insufficient income to maintain his/her lifestyle. The Council may increase the resident’s personal allowance so they can continue to support the spouse living at home.

Who decides which Care Home?
The person moving into the Care Home has the right to choose which one, it does not matter whether they are getting help from the Council or whether they are paying the fees privately as long as the Home;

  • Has a place available
  • Can meet the care/nursing needs
  • Complies with the Councils set terms and conditions
  • Fees are not more than they would normally pay.

USEFUL CONTACTS

Age UK
Freephone information line – 0800 169 65 65
www.ageuk.org.uk

Counsel and Care
Advice Line – 0845 300 7585
www.counselandcare.org.uk

Department for Work and Pensions
Attendance Allowance – 0845 712 3456
www.thepensionservice.gov.uk
www.dwp.gov.uk

Reference
CHARGING for RESIDENTIAL ACCOMMODATION GUIDE (CRAG) April 2012 (Dept of Health)

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