At The Good Care Group, we know through our experience in helping many families to plan long-term care for over 10 years, that the cost of care is a significant consideration. Whilst many families will be faced with having to finance their own care (known as self-funding care), some will be entitled to funding for care at home.
In England social care funding is accessed through your local authority and healthcare funding (NHS Continuing Healthcare) is accessed through Clinical Commissioning Groups’ (CCGs). A healthcare need relates to the treatment, control or prevention of a disease, illness, injury or disability and the after care of a person living with these conditions.
Social care funding in England is means tested and a person’s ability to access CCG funding depends on the severity of their health condition.
In Scotland however, both social care funding and nursing care funding is accessed through your local authority and is free to those who are assessed as needing it.
Here we explore what social care funding is in England and Scotland, factors that affect your eligibility for funding and how you can access funding.
WHAT IS SOCIAL CARE FUNDING?
Depending on your financial circumstances and your needs you may be entitled to social care funding UK from your local authority. This funding will be to meet the total cost of care or contribute to part of it. Social care is care provided to an individual that supports the tasks and activities of daily life. For example, washing and dressing, feeding and toileting (referred to as personal care). It can also include supporting people to maintain independence in daily life, social interaction and protection from vulnerable situations.
Social care funding can be used to receive care in a residential care home, or for those wishing to stay in the comfort and familiarity of their own home, with either live in care or domiciliary care.
SOCIAL CARE FUNDING IN ENGLAND
In England, adult social care funding is allocated by your local authority and is means tested. Means testing is the method by which your financial eligibility to receive funding for your care is assessed. It takes into consideration any regular income you may receive and any capital assets you own. This includes savings, investment and property.
Eligibility for social care funding in England will be impacted by your capital (savings and property), as described below:
What you will need to pay
You must pay the full cost of your care.
The local authority will fund part of your care, and you will be expected to pay the rest of the fees.
Less than £14,250
This will not be included in the means test and the local authority will provide full social care funding.
Your home will not be counted as an asset if it remains occupied by:
Your partner or spouse
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
An ex-partner if they are deemed a single parent.
HOW CAN I ACCESS SOCIAL CARE FUNDING IN ENGLAND?
There are a series of steps involved in securing social care funding.
You initially need to discuss your care needs with your local GP or health consultant. If the GP feels that you could be eligible for funding to meet your care needs, they will recommend you contact the adult social services department of your local authority.
The social services team will then arrange for an assessment of your care needs and will request a GP report to feed into this process.
They will produce a detailed report based upon your care and health needs.
A financial assessment (means test) will be undertaken to determine your ability to pay the cost of the care you need. Savings, income and assets are all considered in the process.
Depending upon your means test and how it aligns with national social funding thresholds, you will be deemed eligible either for full or part social care funding, or ineligible for any financial assistance from the local authority.
HOW CAN I ACCESS FUNDED HEALTHCARE IN ENGLAND?
If you have an identified healthcare need and are receiving care for this in your own home, you may be eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare funding. If you feel you are entitled to this funding, you need to visit your GP who will complete an initial assessment and refer your case to the CCG for consideration. They will then ask you to complete full assessment with a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals so they can understand the complexity of your needs.
Sadly, for many, specialist conditions like dementia are not in isolation considered a healthcare need so care for dementia is not necessarily funded by NHS Continuing Healthcare. It is always worth checking though, as funding can considerably contribute to the overall cost care and in many cases will fund the total cost.
If you are successful in securing funding it is worth noting that funding is reviewed by the CCG annually, so if your needs decrease because you are receiving good quality care your funding may be at risk and you may have to start funding the total cost of your care.
SOCIAL CARE FUNDING OPTIONS IN ENGLAND
Personal budgets and direct payments
If you are eligible for adult social care funding you can either ask the local authority to manage your budget and find suitable care you need, or you can opt to receive a personal budget with direct payment of funds to yourself for you to make your own care arrangements.
A personal budget is the overall cost of the care and support your local authority has means tested will be available to you. Direct payments are a funding choice in personal budgets, whereby you receive the payment to manage and organise your own care arrangements, whether that is in your own home or from moving into residential care. Direct payments can be used to pay for care services, equipment or activities that meet your social care needs either from an individual or an organisation.
Funding respite care in England
If you are a family carer looking after an elderly loved one and need respite care to afford yourself a needed break, you could be eligible for social care funding from your local authority. The local authority will conduct a community care assessment of your loved one to determine if they are eligible for full or part funding for respite care. The process and criteria by which funding respite care is awarded will differ between local authorities, depending upon available finance and policy priorities.
SOCIAL CARE FUNDING IN SCOTLAND
Social care funding in Scotland for personal care is free for adults aged 65 or over who are assessed as needing personal care services. It is accessed through your local authority as it is in England. Unlike in England, personal care is not means tested, so your financial situation is not considered as part of the assessment process. The local authority will not review your income and capital assets when awarding social care funding for personal care.
Free nusing care is similar and is available to all who are assessed as requiring nursing care services, regardless of age or financial circumstances. Nursing care is care that involves the knowledge or skills of a qualified nurse and includes activities such as administering injections and managing pressure sores. Unlike in England where healthcare funding and nursing funding is accessed through a CCG, in Scotland it can be accessed through the same social services team at your local authority. Your healthcare and social care needs will be assessed at the same time, by the same team.
The Community Care and Health (Scotland) Act 2002 sets out a list of personal care tasks that may not be charged for by a local authority. For example, this can be support with:
There are other social care related services that are not classed as personal care services and may be chargeable. This includes help with housework, laundry, shopping or support out the home, such as the cost of attending day care centres. These services can be arranged by your local authority but will be subject to a financial assessment.
HOW CAN I ACCESS SOCIAL CARE FUNDING IN SCOTLAND?
There are a series of steps involved in securing government funding for health and social care:
You initially need to discuss your care needs with your local GP or health consultant. If the GP feels that you could be eligible for funding to meet your care needs, they will recommend you contact the social services team at your local authority.
The social services team will then arrange for an assessment of your care needs to determine your personal care needs.
Individuals at home will have choice around how they receive their social care, giving them control over what they receive and how this is paid for. The local authority will ensure the individual has access to good quality information, advice and practical assistance in understanding creative support options and how they might work. The individual is fully involved in the decisions to determine what level of social care is required. The services an individual receives will be detailed in their individual care plan.
The personal care services an individual receives at home will be provided either by the local authority team, through a home care provider contracted by the local authority or by a personal assistant.
If a person needs nursing care this will be provided free of charge by local district nurses and specialist nurses if a person is receiving care at home. If a person decides however, they would like to have a more permanent arrangement with a private nurse this would be payable by the individual.
SOCIAL CARE FUNDING OPTIONS IN SCOTLAND
Those receiving social care support in Scotland have choice and control over how they receive services, so services can be personalised to better meet individual needs and preferences.
Self-directed support is a way of providing social care that empowers individuals to have informed choice about how support is provided to them. Funding allocated through self-directed support can be paid to the individual to allow them to decide who provides them with support and how it is delivered. This might be a mixture of community or natural support – that is, from your family, local council, carer or provider organisation, and funded support.
There are four options as to how you receive your self-directed support from the local authority:
A direct payment to the person needing care or a third party to purchase on their behalf
The person needing care chooses the support they want, and the local authority pays for the support directly
The local authority arranges the support and pays for it
In addition to social care funding, you may be entitled to other local authority support that contributes to funding care, including discounts on your council tax, attendance allowance and savings credit – all of which can reduce the cost of receiving care in your own home.
TALK TO US ABOUT YOUR LIVE IN CARE NEEDS
Call our friendly and approachable care advisors today. We are here to give you a better understanding of the cost of care and the funding care options available to you and your family.