Can Everyone Afford A Care Home?
The need to move a loved one into a care home is an emotional one. And it’s a big decision. But it can sometimes be for the best, depending on the circumstances of the family’s situation. Some people may be reluctant to pursue the idea, even when it is in the best interests of the person in question, because they don’t think that they can afford it, or they think that the person’s house will have to be sold to fund it.
But are they right?
It depends. If you apply for state funding for a place in a care home, then you will need to be assessed. If your capital is under £23,250 then you will be able to gain financial support from your local authority. In order to gain the maximum support, your capital will need to be below £14,250. This means that you will only need to contribute £23.60 towards your personal expenses. For those with capital between £14,250 and £23,250 there will need to be an additional £1 per week paid for every £250 over £14,250 and under £23,250.
If your assets (including your property) are assessed to be worth more than £23,250, then you will be expected to pay for your own care.
State funded care does not mean that you have no choice as to where you go. You can choose anywhere, and it doesn’t even have to be in the county of which you are a resident. As long as the home you choose is suitable for your needs (which will also need to be assessed) then you are free to choose.
If the care home you choose costs more than your local authority will pay, then it is possible for a third party to top them up. This could be a family member, for example. You cannot, however, top up the fees yourself, as your capital has already been assessed.
If it is your partner who needs care, then it will only be their finances that need to be means tested. If you live in a property with your partner then it will not be factored into the calculation. As well as that, only half of any private pension will be used in the calculations. The same is true for joint savings – half will be assessed. To make assessment easier, it is better to have separate accounts.
If your capital is more than £23,250, then you will need to self fund. Whilst you are selling your home (which is often required in order to meet the care home fees), the local authority will pay the fees and then recoup the cost from the proceeds of the house sale.
You do not, however, have to sell your home in some cases. Social Services can actually lend the money that is needed, and charge it against the value of the property. Then, why you die and the property is sold, the money is given back to them from the proceeds. There could be a limit on how much they will pay, however, and it may mean that some benefits are stopped or capped.
Another option is to let your property out, and use the rental money to pay for care. When the property is sold after your death, your family will be able to keep all proceeds.