When you reach the time of needing care and support, how you pay for that care can be an added stress and the way forward can seem daunting. However, it is definitely worth taking the time to find the best way to finance your care once you have decided the best type of support for your own specific circumstances.
We have put together some guidance to help you along the way.
- Contact your Local Authority to have a care assessment.
Social services at your local council will be obliged to offer a care needs assessment to anyone who requests one. They will carry out a financial assessment to decide if you are eligible for funding support.
If you are eligible to receive support, you can receive this as a Direct Payment to cover some or all of your care needs, whether it be in your own home or a residential care home. If you live alone, your home will be included in the care assessment if you have opted to move into a care home. However, if you have care at home your house is not included in a financial assessment.
You can use the Direct Payment to pay your chosen care provider yourself or the local authority can organise the payment for you.
- NHS Continuing Health Care Funding
If you have a long-term complex health need, you may be eligible for free social care arranged and funded solely by the NHS. NHS continuing healthcare can be provided in your own home, as well as in a care home. To apply for this funding, you would be assessed by a team of healthcare professionals who would look at the type of help you need, how complex and intense your needs are and how unpredictable they may be.
Your eligibility is based on your assessed needs, and not your condition, and your views about your care and support needs would also be considered. If you were not eligible for NHS continuing healthcare, you would be referred to your local council to see if you are eligible for support from them. Sometimes, the NHS may pay for part or all of a package of support.
From April, if you qualify for CHC funding it can be in the form of a ‘Personal Health budget’. This gives you more choice and flexibility of what support you need, and who you can obtain it from.
3. Attendance Allowance
Attendance Allowance is a tax-free benefit for those who have an illness or disability, and who require extra help at home. It is not based on income level, is available to anyone over the age of 65 who has a long-term illness or disability, meeting the eligibility criteria, and will not affect any other income you already receive.
You can claim Attendance Allowance if:
- You have a disability or illness, including mental health issues such as dementia
- You need help with personal care or supervision to keep you safe
- You have required help for at least six months, unless you are terminally ill in which case you could claim immediately.
You can find out more about Attendance Allowance in our recent blog.
4. Care fees advice from SOLLA Advisers
Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA) is a standard that aims to help families find trusted advisers who understand financial needs in later life. Established in 2008, they are a not for profit organisation dedicated to higher standards and accessibility to regulated financial advice for older people and their families.
According to SOLLA, ‘By choosing an accredited member of the Society you can be best assured of someone with the expertise to best understand your needs to provide advice that is right for you and your family.’
Accredited advisers can provide advice on:
- Retirement planning – pensions and annuities
- Funding for Care Home fees
- Funding for care in your own home
- Equity release and other property options
- Savings and investment planning
- Tax matters and estate and wealth planning
Advisers will discuss the cost of any advice they provide once they understand your requirements. You can choose the service you require, and the charges for this, before any advice works starts.
Promedica24 is an affiliated member of SOLLA and is working with accredited independent SOLLA advisors who can assist and advise you in your local area. Please contact us for more information.
5. Equity release schemes
If you own your own home, and have care and support needs, your financial assessment will establish your capital and income. If this is over £23,250, you will generally have to pay for your care fees. However, if you are arranging care and support at home, your home will not be included in this financial assessment.
If you do need to fund your long-term care, and are struggling with this financially, equity release is an option to consider. Although not used exclusively to fund long-term care, it is a way to generate a lump sum or additional income if you have paid off, or nearly paid off, your mortgage.
As demand for care increases more equity release products will be available including lifetime mortgages and home reversion plans, but we would always recommend you seek financial advice before considering and committing to an equity release scheme.
Promedica24 is working with verified local Equity Release partners who can assist and advise in your location. You can contact us if you require more information.