Care funding from Health and Social Care
Most people requiring ongoing healthcare will be expected to contribute either partially or fully toward the cost.
Means testing is the method by which your financial eligibility to receive funding for care is assessed. Means testing takes into consideration any regular income you may receive and any capital assets you own, which may include any savings, investments or property.
Your home will not be counted as an asset by means testing if it remains occupied by your partner; a close relative who is either over the age of sixty or incapacitated; a relative younger than sixteen whom you are legally obliged to support, or an ex-partner if they are deemed a single parent.
Factors which affect means testing for care funding
The outcome of means testing for care funding can be dependent upon a person’s age, their location within the United Kingdom, the type of care provision sought (e.g. residence in a care or nursing home or the engagement of a live-in home carer) and the discretion of the awarding authority.
Current capital and assets thresholds used in means testing for care funding
The outcome of means testing dictates whether you or your loved one will have to pay for long-term care in its entirety or whether you or your local authority will make the larger contribution to its cost.
Each local authority decides the threshold which determines whether or not an individual is eligible for subsidised care. Currently, anyone living in England or Northern Ireland who possesses assets with a value of £23,250 (the threshold is slightly higher in Wales and Scotland) will be expected to bear the full cost of their care provision, whether they choose residential care in a nursing or care home or a full time live-in carer at home.
Deprivation of assets
In order to try and ensure that the outcome of means testing for care funding is in their favour, an applicant might be tempted to reduce the overall value of their possessions by temporarily transferring money or investments into an account held by a relative.
This practice is known as ‘deprivation of assets’ or ‘deprivation of capital’ and can often be detected during a means testing process.
If it is discovered at a later date that an applicant has received funding for care on the basis of a means test that has been subject to deprivation of assets or capital, a local authority may seek to recover costs from the claimant. Prior to making any decision which you or your loved one may later regret, it is far better to seek guidance from an independent financial advisor prior to making an application for funding for care provision.
Obtain an NHS Continuing Care assessment before a local authority means test
Means-tested care funding from local authority health and social care provision or paying in full for your own care are not necessarily the only options available for covering the cost of ongoing care.
If you or your loved one is assessed by the NHS as having ongoing and complex medical needs you may be eligible to apply for NHS Continuing Care – a scheme which will meet the costs of care provision irrespective of whether that’s in a residential care home or provided by a live-in carer.
NHS Continuing Care is entirely free and non-means-tested but the rules regarding eligibility are strict and following a care needs assessment the final decision as to whether or not an individual may receive funding rests with a GP-led Clinical Commissioning Group.
Having a disability or having been diagnosed with a long-term illness may not, on their own, qualify you or your loved one for NHS Continuing Care funding; the assessment must conclude that they “have a ‘Primary Health Need’, i.e. their primary need in terms of care is a health need”. However, those who are deemed eligible following assessment should have the entire costs of their care provision covered by the NHS.
“Care To Be Different” , an organisation set up by Angela Sherman following her own frustrating attempts to secure care funding for her parents, provides practical information about NHS Continuing Healthcare and support for eligible families who seek this funding.
Since its establishment in 2009 The Good Care Group has won more awards for the quality of its fully-managed live-in care services than any other UK home care provider. You can find out more about how our one-to-one home care services can help you or a loved one to lead an independent and fulfilled life here. Alternatively, to speak to someone about your home care requirements please call 0203 728 7577.