According to statistics analysed in  Later Life in the United Kingdom 2019 there are nearly 12 million people in the UK who are aged 65 years and above. Out of these, 5.4 million people are above the age of 75 years. It is expected that with rising life expectancies and a growing ageing population, there will be an additional 8.5 million people added to the above 65 years demographic.

To consider a more relative aspect of this data, the same report suggests that nearly 6.5 million (one-third of the total population) households in the UK are headed by someone who is above 65 years of age. This figure is estimated to increase by 54 per cent by 2041; bringing this to a total of 10 million households. For perspective, this would be the total population of London.

Can Council Take House To Pay For Care?

No, the council will not forcefully claim your house to pay for care especially if it is in use of your spouse/partner or any qualifying dependant(s); which include the following:

  • spouse/civil partner/unmarried partner
  • a close relative over 60 years of age
  • a close relative below 16 years of age (legal dependant)
  • former spouse or partner if they are a single parent

This is called property disregard.

If a homeowner moves into a care facility indefinitely and there is no claim on the residence of their house (this means that there is no family member or a qualifying dependant living in their house) the council may then seek sales of their property. However, this too doesn’t take place on an immediate basis. Yet, in such situations, the homeowner may not qualify for care costs to be taken care of by the council. 

Even if the council bears their expense in the short term, they will recover the expense from the proceeds of the sale of the house. This is called a deferred payment and may be considered when the applicant has a capital of around £23,250 (excluding the value of their house).

Since a financial assessment is carried out when someone applies for a stay in an elderly care home, if a homeowner has other means of income or savings to fund their stay in a care home, there will be no need for their house to be sold. Otherwise, homeowners with empty homes are required to bear their care expenses through the sale of their homes. However, this is only applicable if their stay is permanent.

Care costs are means-tested. This means if someone needs care but is unable to bear the expenses the council takes care of them. This is a decision taken after a detailed financial assessment of the eligible individual, their income, savings and property. To learn more about when the council might pay for your social care you may want to research on your own prior to making a decision.

With care costs in the vicinity of £30 k to £40 k per year, per person, in some cases, it proves to be more feasible for homeowners especially those with little savings to stay in their own property and have a carer to look after them. In such cases, they may be able to claim certain state benefits including attendance allowance.

To learn more about alternates to home care, we will discuss the following topics in this article:

  • Attendance Allowance: Eligibility criteria
  • Attendance Allowance: How much to claim
  • Attendance Allowance: How to claim
  • Other state benefits while on Attendance Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance

Can I Claim Attendance Allowance?

To confirm eligibility for Attendance Allowance, individuals are assessed on the below criteria:

  • State Pension Age: This is the earliest age at which state pension may be received. To check whether an individual has qualified and/or surpassed the bracket to attain Attendance Allowance, a simple click on this link may be helpful Check your State Pension age – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
  • Independence:  Individuals who may require help with washing themselves, getting dressed, or who need to be monitored to remain safe during day or night are considered eligible.
  • Health Needs: In case of any physical or mental illness, disability, or terminal illness that may increase the requirement of being supervised or being taken care of by someone else.
  • Location: Claimants must be in England at the time of making the claim. Additionally, they must have lived in England for at least 2 of the previous 3 years.

How Much Attendance Allowance Can I Claim?

Attendance Allowance is paid at two separate rates; depending upon the level of care that the recipient requires as per their disability. However, it does not cover mobility needs and aims to cover the extra costs of disability or old age.

Individuals who require help either during the day or night are entitled to £60 per week as Attendance Allowance; while those who require help during the day and night and/or are facing a terminal illness are eligible to receive £89.60 per week. 

There is no compulsion on the recipient to spend this amount on a carer; recipients may use it to meet their everyday needs to remain independent in their home. The claimant does not even need to have a carer to apply for an Attendance Allowance; they must simply provide evidence of the need to be taken care of due to illness/disability or old age. If the claimant has a carer, the carer becomes eligible for a Carer’s Allowance once their dependant’s claim for Attendance Allowance is approved.

How Can I Claim For Attendance Allowance?

Should a person meet the criteria for an application, they may contact the Attendance Allowance helpline by placing a call on 0800 731 0122. They may also download the online application form available at Attendance Allowance claim form – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Where applicable, it is advisable to attach the following support documents to the form:

  • doctors letters
  • prescriptions
  • sick notes
  • care plan details

The claimant doesn’t need to fill the form themselves. They may ask a friend or family member to submit details; as long as they are verified by the claimant. 

What Other Benefits Can I Claim On Attendance Allowance?

In addition to Council Tax Reduction, individuals receiving Attendance Allowance become eligible for certain additional benefits as well. However, this depends on each individual’s circumstances.

Receiving Attendance Allowance means that the recipient is eligible to earn an extra income without having to forego any benefits. This means that individuals who may have previously been refused Universal Credit or Pension Credit due to their earnings become eligible for these benefits as a consequence of qualifying for Attendance Allowance. 

Claimants will also not be affected by the “Benefit Cap”; a limit that restricts the number of benefits a household receives. 

Their tax credit increases as well once they receive Attendance Allowance. Additionally, they become eligible for a Disabled Person’s Railcard and a Blue Badge (a Blue Badge allows recipients to park closer due to a disability).

If the recipient of the Attendance Allowance has a carer looking after them, their carer becomes eligible for Carer’s Allowance. However, the following additional conditions must be met as well: 

  • the person under care is a recipient of Attendance Allowance
  • the carer spends at least 35 hours per week taking care of the recipient
  • the carer’s income after tax is less than £128

What Is Carer’s Allowance?

If an individual is responsible for taking care of someone (at least 35 hours per week) with disability or old age and is a recipient of Attendance Allowance, they may qualify for the Carer’s Allowance. This includes helping with basic household chores such as cooking or washing, assisting with doctor’s appointments for the person in care, managing their bills, and shopping. 

Additionally, the applicant must also be able to fulfil the below criteria:

  • 16 years or older
  • A resident of England, Scotland, or Wales
  • Lived in England, Scotland, or Wales for a minimum of 2 of the last 3 years or if they have been granted humanitarian protection
  • Not pursuing full-time education
  • Not studying for more than 21 hours a week
  • Earning £128 or less per week 

To learn more about this benefit and the process of application, click here Carer’s Allowance: Eligibility – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Conclusion:

While council authorities will not forcefully claim someone’s property to recover care costs, there are certain rules to abide by for claimants. They must declare their income, savings and assets so that a financial assessment can be carried out by councils and a fair decision is made with regards to their care costs. 

Even if a homeowner remains in a care facility permanently, as long as there is a spouse/partner or legal dependant living in their house, it will not be sold to cover care costs. However, this may not be the case when the house remains unoccupied and the homeowner has no other means to pay for their care.

FAQs: Can Council Take House To Pay For Care?

Can the council take my home to pay for care?

No, the council will not forcefully claim your house to pay for care especially if it is in use of your spouse/partner or any qualifying dependant(s) such as spouse/civil partner/unmarried partner, a close relative over 60 years of age. a close relative below 16 years of age (legal dependant) or former spouse pr partner if they are a single parent. This is called property disregard.

Are next of kin responsible for care home fees?

No, next of kin are not responsible for care home fees unless they share a joint property or assets with the claimant.

Do you have to sell your home to go into aged care?

No, you do not have to sell your home for aged care especially if you have other incomes or savings to pay for your care costs or your home is occupied by a partner or legal dependents.

Can I refuse to pay care home fees?

Since care homes are offered after financial assessment of the claimant, the council is well aware of their income and savings. If care home fees are refused despite the claimant being in possession of capital or assets, those may be claimed by the council authorities.

Can you be forced into a care home?

No, you cannot be forced into a care home in the UK. If you prefer to receive care at your own premises, you can ask for a carer to be appointed.

References:

Paying for permanent residential care | Paying for a care home.

Do I have to sell my home to pay for residential care?

When the council might pay for your social care

How to avoid selling your house to pay for care

Social care: Will people still have to sell their homes?

Attendance Allowance | Age UK

Attendance Allowance: What you’ll get

Extra benefits and help you can get while on Attendance Allowance

Benefits to help with your disability or care needs

Carer’s Allowance: Eligibility – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

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John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.