Pay for your care
When approaching care funding for the first time, it can all feel a bit overwhelming. You may not know where’s best to start. Below are ways in which you can get the support you need to fund the care that you require.
Get the benefits you’re entitled to
These are the simplest ways to claim some extra money towards your care. There is usually very little friction in terms of application, and much more people are eligible than claim. This can help you to afford the care you want. Billions of pounds go unclaimed each year – make sure you’re not missing out. Key benefit for people over 65 to look at include Attendance Allowance, Pension Credit, Carer’s Allowance, Personal Independence Payment and Council Tax Rate Relief. While they may not seem like much one their own, each benefit really adds up, and can make everyday living much more affordable.
Check your eligibility for NHS funding
This is a funding stream that covers all your care costs, no matter which types of care you’re interested in. It’s paid by your local NHS and is available for those who need support with long-term health needs.
NHS funding is the most difficult type of funding to get. However, should you qualify, you’re able to get your full care costs covered – so it’s worth starting with.
To do this, speak with your GP – ask for an NHS Continuing Healthcare Checklist. This is a quick screening test to see whether you’re suitable for a full assessment into your primary health needs. If you’re facing exceptional circumstances, for example, are living with a rapidly deteriorating medical condition, this form of funding can be fast tracked.
This is the first stage in the assessment process to check eligibility for a full assessment, carried out by a doctor, nurse or social worker. Around 62% people pass it.
The full assessment
This is the main assessment. A multidisciplinary team of health and social care workers will look through 12 care ‘domains’ to assess your eligible care needs.
The decision support tool
The Decision Support Tool helps assessors come to consistent decisions about who is eligible for funding. You can try the tool yourself for free online beforehand.
After the assessment
If eligible, a team will work with you to plan your care. You’ll have a big say over this. For example, you can take control of your funding with a personal health budget or choose your own care provider.
Access local authority care funding
Most people fund their care with support from their local authority. But this is best to check after you’ve first ruled out NHS funding, as a referral from the NHS may increase your chances of getting care funding. This starts with a care needs assessment, and then a financial assessment. In England, you’ll be entitled to some care funding if you have less than £23,250 in liquid assets. You can request whatever funding you are entitled to as a direct payment, which puts you in control of how you want to spend it.
Understand the Care Act
The Care Act 2014 is the law that states how adult social care should be provided. It maps out eligibility for care and requires local authorities to provide services for people with care needs without delay that will impact their needs or make them worse.
Care needs assessment
This social care assessment will tell you exactly what care needs you have. If you’re entitled to funding, the care needs assessment determines the size of your budget.
This means test assessment is to decide who is responsible for paying for your care – you or your local council. To be eligible for support, you’ll need to have savings below the ‘upper limit’ (currently £23,250)
This is the amount of money you’ll get to pay for the cost of your care needs. The sum of your budget is based on the results of both assessments.
Direct payments are a way for you to take control of your personal budget and choose for yourself how you want to spend it.
Upgrade your home to make it suitable for care. You can get up to £1,500 from your local authority, regardless of your financial situation.
Funding care with savings or assets
If you’re not able to get your care fully funded by your local authority, all is not lost. You can use your liquid assets or use any of a range of financial products to help you pay for care. There is an ever-increasing range of ways to release equity from your home. These products allow you to stay in your own home but use its value to fund your care.
Using equity release to pay for care
Paying for care is a considerable long-term commitment, so if your loved one is considering long-term care in their own home, an equity release scheme could provide the necessary funds.
Immediate needs annuity
If you’re funding your care yourself, using an immediate needs annuity for long-term care can provide a minimum income guarantee towards care costs.
Care funding advice – things to remember
Paying for care can feel like a stressful and daunting process. It may feel like you’ve suddenly been launched into a world of box tickers and bureaucrats. But with the right mindset, there’s nothing stopping you from arranging the care you think is best.
It’s simpler to navigate than you think
The system is complex – and sometimes feels like it’s against you – but we can help break things down into manageable next steps. Why not begin by gathering together any relevant information you’ll need for a funding application? We recommend things like national insurance details, bank statements, annual income from any benefits or pensions, and details of any assessable savings (including joint savings).
There are always options
There are always options available. It may not feel like it sometimes. But don’t give up. Relax, and let us help you put together a plan and look at every possible care arrangement.
We’re always here to support you
When you feel alone – lost – in the system, we’re on your side, championing your right to funding, and giving you the confidence to make decisions. For expert money guidance and independent support, we’ll connect you to charities and advocates who can help you along the way.
Hold your nerve
Whether you’re applying for for NHS Continuing Healthcare, or funding from your county council, you’ll be entitled to an appeal process if you don’t agree with the outcome of your assessments. If you do your research and seek expert advice, you’ll be confident to challenge any decisions you don’t feel to be correct.