Partner content: Government funding replaces charity funding for residential and nursing care home fees.
The work of charities such as Help The Aged, the Salvation Army and Age UK are a great help to vulnerable and low-income older people in many ways. They can assist with care at home (provided either by relatives or trained nurses), adapting and repairing a house to meet changing needs, going on holiday, financial planning and even teaching computer skills so elderly people can stay in contact with friends and relatives.
However, charities do not provide support in the form of financial assistance when paying care home fees because that is now the local authority’s responsibility. Unfortunately, the reality is that although going into a care home is an issue that affects thousands of people around the UK, the funding of both residential and nursing care for elderly people is far from a structured path.
There is a clear lack of definition about when people are entitled to financial help from the government and when they’re not, and this causes confusion that prevents vulnerable older people from getting the care and attention they need.
A new guide from Caring Homes, which can be downloaded here, cuts through the confusion, which was highlighted when it came to light that 96% of those over 65 have made no financial provision for potentially needing care in later life.
How much financial help am I entitled to?
For instance, one of the major sources of confusion that the guide is able to clarify involves the amount of financial assistance you might be entitled to – with benefit caps and funding amounts changing practically every year, it’s important that you have access to up-to-date information. The amount of financial assistance is determined by the amount of capital you have to your name.
- Total capital below £14,250 – you are entitled to the maximum assistance available.
- Total capital above £14,250 but not exceeding £23,250 – you are entitled to some assistance. After a financial assessment, the local authority will assess your specific needs and will determine how much financial support you qualify for. You may also pay a capital tariff of £1 per week on every £250 between the lower threshold of £14,250 and the upper threshold of £23,250. The local authority will also help with the first twelve weeks of care costs.
- Total capital in excess of £23,250 – you are not entitled to any assistance, and will be expected to self-fund the placement. Your home is considered an asset and is looked at by the local authority within the means test. This is an assessment of all income and assets, including property, by the local authority to determine eligibility for financial support.
Do I have to sell my house?
While it’s true that many who go into residential care do sell their homes (not only because they need the money to pay for care costs but also because they just don’t need them anymore), there is no obligation to do so if it isn’t necessary.
These are some of the main financial points to be aware of with regard to paying for elderly care, but there are further details that pertain to payment methods and government benefits that will need to be taken into account – download and peruse the “Funding the Cost of Care” guide for more information.
While there are undoubtedly a variety of charities that can help elderly people in certain ways, financial assistance for those going into care homes is a big issue, and the government needs to make the situation clearer if local authorities are going to be taking on that responsibility.
This is a featured article, but if you would like to find out more about local elderly charities that can help with care homes or moving into a hospice then you can search the Charity Choice directory here.