Faced with such a potentially large and open-ended cost, what does the State offer by way of financial assistance? Not a lot...
The NHS now only provides and/or pays for the Nursing Care Service Component of a person's long-term care service needs. All other costs and services associated with long term care are your responsibility unless you qualify for Local Authority assistance. In Scotland, Free Personal Care is now available.
The 1993 Health and Community Care Act forces those with savings to pay for their own care. England, Wales and Northern Ireland have one set of rules. We are referring to these. Scotland has differing rules, and the key differences are detailed later. The rules are constantly changing, but not for the good of individuals.
If your Local Authority agrees that you need a care home it will assess your means to work out what proportion of the costs is your responsibility, and what the Local Authority will pay. If you get a contribution from the Local Authority, the Authority will contract with the care home, pay the home direct but ask that you make your contribution towards the fees to them.
The size of your contribution depends on the assessment of your wealth by a means test. Means testing is based on net worth to determine the level of funding it will agree to. The qualification bar is set very low...at the breadline level.
Assets greater than upper means test limit
You will not be entitled to any financial assistance from the Local Authority for long term care costs in a care home - it will be up to you to make all your own arrangements for care.
Assets between the means test limits
Your Local Authority may give some assistance. The amount of assistance takes into account all of your actual income and the 'tariff income. This is all your income, less the Personal Expense Allowance.
Assets below lower means test limit
You will have to give up ALL your income to the Local Authority. They will top it up to meet care fees. Income includes all of your private pensions, plus most of the Social Security benefits to which you are entitled. You can keep a small amount for personal spending.
The monetary limits apply to the individual needing care, where the Local Authority are considering care in a care or nursing home. Similar limits may apply where care is to be provided in your own home, but will exclude the value of the house.
Although Local Authorities have to provide the care you need if you qualify for it, there are times when there are more demands on their budgets than they can meet, and they are unable to provide immediately all the care that is requested at any one time.
If you have assets exceeding £23250 in England or Northern Ireland, £22500 in
Wales or £ 23500 in Scotland, you get nothing and are liable for the full cost, until your money runs out and total assets fall below this figure.
The definition of "assets" will normally include the family home, unless a spouse or close family member remains in site. Strict measures exist to ensure that anyone seen to have "deprived themselves of assets" in order to claim State benefits can be fully investigated and forced to pay. So those who sell the home to a family member or seek to avoid paying, can be pursued in the courts.
If you have assets below £23250 in England or Northern Ireland, £22500
in Wales, or £ 23500 in Scotland, you get increasing help on a sliding scale down to the lower limit of £14,500 in Scotland, £14,250 in England and
Northern Ireland, £22,500 in Wales where no contribution is needed.
It is also likely that you will have to pay your
occupational and state pension to the council, plus any benefits you are
entitled to. The only income you can keep is £22.60 a week (£23.00 in
Wales) for personal expenses.
Top up fees
preference is for a care home which costs more than the local authority are
willing to pay, it is possible to still select this home so long as there is a
third-party, often family, who are willing to 'top-up' the difference.
Get a quote
For online quotes and costs on UK long term care plans, use our Get A Quote section, or for enquiries about long term care plans, complete our enquiry form.