Helping you to understand how
to finance long-term care
At Oxford Aunts we have been helping thousands of families better understand how they can finance care of a loved one, whilst providing guidance on any funding they may be entitled to. It is prudent for families to plan the financing of care for an elderly loved one as soon as is practically possible. Whilst many families need to finance care themselves, it is worth finding out if you are entitled to any healthcare funding in the first instance as depending on your health care needs, it could significantly contribute to your live-in care costs.
You may also be entitled to some support from your local authority. Here we explain what social care funding is and how you can access it.
SOCIAL CARE FUNDING EXPLAINED
Funding long-term care through your local authority is called social care funding. It is provided to people who require support to complete daily tasks and activities, as well as for personal care. The focus of social care funding is to enable a person to continue to have independence, socialisation and ensure they are protected from any vulnerable situation.
Whether you are receiving live-in care at home or you have chosen to move into a care home, social care funding can be applied to fund some or part of your care fees.
SOCIAL CARE FUNDING MEANS TESTING
Social care funding is means tested. This is the method your local authority will use to understand your financial circumstances and therefore your eligibility to claim funding. They consider your capital assets, for example savings and property and any income you regularly receive and then calculate what might be available to you as below:
Amount you need to pay
The total cost of care must be met by you.
Part of your care fees will be paid by the local authority and you will need to ‘top up’ the rest.
Less than £14,250
The local authority will fund the total cost of your care.
It is worth noting that if your home will continue to be occupied by your spouse or partner, then it cannot be considered in the means testing process. This is also the case if you live with a relative with whom you have a legal responsibility to support, or a relative who is over 60 or is incapacitated who lives in your home.
How social funding is applied through means testing is also impacted by other factors:
Age of the person requiring care
Where you will receive care – care home or in your own home
The judgement of the local authority awarding social care funding
Where you live in the UK
ACCESSING SOCIAL CARE FUNDING
There are a few steps in the process to receive social care funding and the time it takes will depend on the local authority:
Contact your GP in the first instance to discuss your health and care needs. They will then advise whether they feel you might be entitled to social care funding and will recommend at that point for you to contact your social services department at your local authority.
The local authority will then organise for an assessment of your needs. They will contact your GP at this point to get a full report about your medical history.
They will then conduct their means test to understand your financial situation.
They will consider your means test on the context of national social funding thresholds to see at what level social care funding should be available to you – whether full funding can be applied or part funding.
Direct payments and personal budgets
Once your local authority has advised that you are entitled to social care funding you have the option to either manage the budget yourself and pay your chosen provider, or alternatively they can source the care your need and manage your care arrangement on your behalf. However it is worth noting that if the local authority manages it for you, you will not get the option to choose who provides care in the same way you would if you were responsible for your care.
If you choose to manage the arrangement yourself, you will be assigned a personal budget based on the outcome your means test. You will then receive direct payment into your nominated bank account so that you are able to manage and pay for your chosen care arrangement. The direct payment can be used to not only pay for care services provided by either a home care provider or residential care home, but they can be used for equipment or activities that support your overall care needs.
OTHER LOCAL AUTHORITY SUPPORT
It is also worth checking with your local authority to see if there is any additional support they can give you that will contribute to cost of care. There are discounts offered for council tax, disability allowances and attendance allowance that families can access to receive care at home.