Expert Advice And Information
As our older population increases so does the number of older people who own their own homes and consequently fail the means test for care and have to pay for it themselves. In fact the most recent research by the Liberal Democrats states that 70,000 homes are sold each year to pay for care. Despite this very few people seek professional advice on what is probably one of the largest financial commitments they have ever made - paying care home fees.
If you are paying privately for your care there is much to know to ensure you get what you are rightfully entitled to in the way of local authority or NHS or welfare benefits. There are also specially designed financial products that can undertake to meet the shortfall in income to cover the cost of care at the outset often requiring just a part of your capital to be utilised to meet care costs releasing the remainder for the eventual inheritance that so many older people wish to leave.
If you are privately paying for your care, you may find it helpful to speak to a specialist care funding adviser. They will be able to analyze your financial position and the funding options available to you to help ensure you receive the state support you are entitled to and that your care is affordable and help meet the fees for the rest of your life.
The basic principle for the provision of community care is set out in the Governments 'White Paper' Caring for People. It states that anyone who needs health or social care because of problems associated with old age; mental illness or learning, physical or sensory disabilities should be able to obtain care services and support, tailored to their individual needs whether at home or in residential accommodation.
Instead of people having to seek out services and fit in with what is available, the services should be delivered to them and match their specific needs. Both users of services and carers should expect to be informed about services, support and options and be involved in the decisions that affect them.
The National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990 (NHSCCA) provides the framework for the assessment of care needs and the arrangement of services by the local authorities.
Application for an assessment can be made directly to your local social services department or through your GP or health consultant.
You are entitled to an assessment whether your care is going to be State funded or paid for privately. As a private funder, it is particularly useful to have an assessment of your needs if there is a chance that your financial resources might reduce to the level where you would be seeking funding from the council in the future. It would also, in these circumstances, be unwise to choose a care home that does not match your assessed needs as you would need to find a third party to top up your care fees if they were higher than the local authority would be prepared to pay.
Once you have been assessed as needing a care home place you will need to undergo a financial assessment to ascertain whether or not you are entitled to financial assistance towards your care home fees from the local authority. The rules relating to this are contained within the 'Charging for Residential Accommodation Guide' (CRAG) the main points of which are covered in the section Who Pays for What?
If you are assessed as privately paying, it may be worth speaking to a specialist care funding adviser to ensure that the assessment outcome is correct and that you receive the full support available to you.