How to pay for home care is a concern for many families, and trying to understand whether financial support is available can be difficult. When a member of your family’s health deteriorates it’s a stressful enough time, without added money worries.
With the help of SuperCarers we’ve gathered all the information you’ll need about how your local authority can help with care, and how they determine who is eligible for financial support.
What financial support can local authorities provide with home care costs?
There are some things that local authorities are obliged to provide to everyone in their area who needs them. Among some others, these include:
- A Care Needs and Support Assessment (see below for more details)
- Intermediate care, including reablement, for up to six weeks. This is also called continuing healthcare (“CHC”) funding
- Aids and minor adaptations to the home costing less than £1,000
- After-care/support provided under the Mental Health Act 1983 section 117
- NHS services
In addition, depending on your financial situation, you may be eligible for financial support for ongoing care.
How can I find out if my local authority will pay for some of my relative’s home care costs?
To find out if you or your family are eligible for local authority support for care, you need to go through a three-step process:
- Undergo a Care Needs and Support Assessment
- Get a Care and Support Plan
- Undergo financial assessment
What is a Care Needs and Support Assessment?
A Care Needs and Support Assessment will look at your relative’s needs and circumstances, to determine if they meet the national eligibility criteria for support to be coordinated by the local authority. But sadly, just because support is coordinated by the local authority, however, does not mean that it will also be paid for by the local authority.
Local Health Authorities’ Adult Social Services departments are required to provide these assessments free of charge to anyone who asks for one, either directly to the authority or via their GP. In addition, they can be requested by health or social professionals who think they may be beneficial, such as after a hospital visit.
What is a Care and Support Plan?
Once it has been determine that an individual has eligible needs, the next step will be what support is appropriate, which will be written up in a Care and Support Plan. This is normally written by an Occupational Therapist, who will consider how your loved one wants to live their life, as well as safety and health factors.
Financial Assessment for home care support
Once a plan has been put together, the local authority can determine how much it will cost. They will then assess your relative’s finances, to calculate how much they will need to contribute towards their care (if anything).
For more information, we recommend visiting the NHS Assessing your care and support needs page
How can I arrange a care needs and support assessment?
To arrange a care needs support assessment you can contact your GP to make a referral to the local authority. Alternatively, you can contact your local authority directly.
How much financial support can I get and how is it calculated in the UK?
As social care is means-tested, only those in greatest financial need receive state help towards the cost of care. It is estimated that more than half (57 per cent) of elderly people will need to contribute towards their care.
The thresholds for England are as follows:
- If you have assets over £23,250 you will pay for all of your own care
- If your capital is below £23,250 then you will partly contribute to the cost of care
- If your capital is below £14,000 the state will pay for your care
In Wales, you pay for everything except personal care if you have more than £24,000; less than that and the state pays everything.
What does home care for the elderly involve?
The type of care your relative receives will determine what assets are included in the threshold calculations. At the time of writing, if a person is being cared for in their own home, or if a spouse or dependent is living in that home, then its value will not be included in any asset calculations.
In addition, the Care Act (2014) says that contributions made by people to their own care must be ‘reasonable’ and leave them with a basic level of income. Unfortunately, the definition of ‘income’ varies between different local authorities; for example some will include the Disability Living Allowance and others will not.
The BBC’s Care Calculator is a great tool to tell you whether you qualify for local authority support, and if so, how much financial support you can expect.
If we are eligible for care financial support, what can we use it for?
Whether you or your relative pays for all care yourselves, your local authority gives you some support, or your local authority pays for your care in its entirety, it is completely up to you what type of support you want and who you arrange it with.
How do I find a care provider near me?
While local authorities can help you find options in your local area, many people prefer to look around themselves to choose a care provider who is best suited to their individual needs. Options range from care homes, to visiting daycare centres, to having a carer come to your home (either for a few hours, or living with you full time).
SuperCarers is a service which matches the needs of care seekers with highly experienced, compassionate carers in their local area, based on condition details, services, and interests. Families and individuals are able to select and contract directly with individual carers, ensuring that not only do they have a carer who perfectly fits their needs, but also that they have continuity of care.
If you have any questions about organising care at home for yourself or a loved one, the team at SuperCarers can help. You can contact one of our Care Advisors for free, quoting YOURSONLINE10 on 020 8629 1030, or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org quoting YOURSONLINE10