Paying For Care Home Fees
According to advice on who pays what for care home half a million people live in care homes in the UK. The average cost of living in a care home comes to £600 per week and for a care home with nursing facilities, it is £800 per week.
Who Pays Care Home Fees?
Care home fees can be borne by the state, partially or wholly, depending upon the circumstances of the claimant or they may be self-funded, partially or wholly by those in care. According to estimates, 50 per cent of care home residents are self-funded while the rest of them are state-funded.
Care costs are means-tested. This means that this is a decision taken after a detailed financial assessment of the eligible individual. If someone needs care but is unable to bear the expenses the council takes care of them. The amount that one pays towards their care costs depends on whether they live in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales as well as the following financial aspects of the claimant:
Individuals living in care homes have the option of selling or renting out their unoccupied house to pay for their care home costs. However, if they have a partner or legal dependents living on the premises, the house will not be considered for care home costs.
If someone is not willing to sell their house, there is an option of Deferred Payment Agreement according to which the homeowner signs a formal agreement with their local council. The local council agrees to bear the entire care home expense of the claimant until they are ready to sell their house or the property is sold after the death of the claimant.
If you want to check your eligibility for the DPA scheme, below is a list of key criteria to be met:
- your savings and capital are less than £23,250
- you have no other funds to pay for care home expense
- you are a homeowner or are able to offer any other asset as security
- in case of your home serving as security, it must be unoccupied
In addition to the care home facility, if the claimant needs medicines or general health care, the NHS will be willing to fund both for them under the NHS Continuing Healthcare. To qualify for this scheme, the claimant should have ongoing physical or mental health needs. In certain cases, the NHS may also pay a flat amount for the nursing care of the claimant.
Through this article, we will try to learn more about the following topics
- How Are Care Home Fees Paid For?
- Can Council Take House To Pay For Care?
- Can I Claim Attendance Allowance Instead Of Care Home?
- How Much Attendance Allowance Can I Claim?
- How Can I Claim For Attendance Allowance?
How Are Care Home Fees Paid For?
Care home fees may be funded by either of the following means:
In case of self-funded care home costs, the claimant either has income, savings or capital that contribute towards the expense or they may sell or rent out their house to pay for care home bills. Individuals on a low income, low savings or those claimants who do not own a property or those who may not be able to generate sufficient funds from the sale of their house may consider staying in their house and claim Attendance Allowance.
If the state is funding your care home fees, it will be routed through your local council and your benefits such as state pension and pension credit will be used to cover the costs. If you have capital below £23, 850, the state will bear most or in some cases all of your care home expenses.
For more funding options click here how to avoid selling your house for care home fees
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 pr 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 does not 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 f their stay is permanent.
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.
Can I Claim Attendance Allowance Instead Of Care Home?
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 available on www.gov.uk
Where applicable, it is advisable to attach the following support documents to the form:
- doctors letters
- 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.
Care home fees are long term expenses that cost around £600 to £800 per week. Claimants may choose to fund their expenses on their own or request the state to fund their care home expenses; partially or wholly. However, the decision of who will pay for care home fees and how much comes into place after council authorities have conducted a financial assessment of the claimant to have an idea of their incomes (if any), savings and capital.
If claimants are able to pay for their care home fees either through savings or sale of property they may be able to do so. However, if they are short on capital or their property is occupied, the state may fund partial payments for care home expenses.
FAQs: Who Pays Care Home Fees?
Are next of kin responsible for care home fees?
No, next of kin are not responsible for care home fees. Once an individual claims the need for care home, their finances are assessed by the council authorities. If claimants have the means to bear the expense of care homes partially or wholly, they may fund their expenses on their own. Otherwise, the state can fund their care or ask them to sell any property that they may have and cover the expense.
Can I refuse to pay care home fees?
While you may refuse to pay a care home fee, this being a means-tested benefit, gives access to your financial details to council authorities. Should you have sufficient funds or property, they will demand payment, either immediate or on a deferred basis. Should you be on low income, you may get help through councils or other government-funded schemes.
Am I liable for my parents care costs?
No, you, as a child are not personally liable for the care home costs of your parents; unless you hold a joint account or joint property with you.
What happens to your savings when you go into a nursing home?
Your savings are used to pay for the nursing home expense and are transferred through Medicaid to local council authorities.
Can a nursing home take everything you own?
Nursing homes cant take everything you own immediately and forcefully. They will inform you of your monthly expense as well as conduct a financial assessment of your income, savings and capital. Based on your financial situation they will advise you whether you will be required to enter a self-funded scheme or the state will be able to fund your care partially or wholly.