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. You will need to explore whether you are eligible for any healthcare funding or social care funding as this can considerably contribute to the overall cost of care. Many however are faced with having to finance care at home costs themselves (known as self-funding care). It is worth considering other financial support available through your local authority. Here we explain what may be available to you and your family.
Anyone over 65 can claim Attendance Allowance (AA). These payments of either £57.30 or £85.50 per week (2018/19) are non-means tested, tax free and usually added to pension payments. They can only be accessed for help for anyone who has a personal care need. You can apply for Attendance Allowance online.
Savings Credit is a reward for those with a modest income who have saved for retirement, and who reached state pension age on or before 6 April 2016. If you stop being eligible for savings credit for any reason from 6 April 2016, you will not be able to qualify for it again. To qualify you should have a minimum income of £140.67 a week if you are single, and £223.82 a week if you are a couple.
The way Savings Credit is calculated works like this: for every £1 by which your income exceeds the savings credit threshold (£140.67 for a single person and £223.82 for a couple), you qualify for 60p of savings credit. The maximum you can get per week is £13.40 for a single person and £14.99 for couple. If you pay mortgage interest or have other housing costs, or if you have caring responsibilities, or are severely disabled, you may be entitled to even more pension credit. To check your full entitlement, it is advisable to call the Pension Credit claim line on 0800 99 1234.
Guarantee credit is a benefit that tops your income up to a minimum level of £163 per week if you are single £223.82 per week if you are a couple.
To check your full entitlement, call the Pension Credit claim line on 0800 99 1234. You will need to have ready your national insurance number, your bank account details and information about your income, savings and investments.
Council tax discount
If your savings are less than £16,000 you can potentially reduce council tax payments (subject to an assessment). With a formal diagnosis of dementia you may be exempt from council tax payments, or will be offered a discount depending on the severity of your condition. If a council tax single occupancy reduction is being claimed, you will not lose this entitlement if you have a live-in carer.
Funding respite care
If you are a family carer looking after an elderly loved one and need respite care to afford you a 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.
Charity funding for respite care If you are unable to secure social care funding for respite from your local authority you may be able to receive help and support from a local or national charity which provide much-needed funds to enable respite breaks for carers. These include The Respite Association, The Ogilvie Charities, The Victoria Convalescent Trust and The League of the Helping Hand (LHH).
Before you consider social care funding you should explore whether you are entitled to health care funding. Healthcare in the UK is free at the point of delivery. Therefore, 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, which is arranged and funded by your local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). 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.
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 of care in many cases will fund the total cost. Find out what healthcare funding might be available to you here.
Social care funding
If you have been unable to secure NHS Continuing Healthcare funding, you may be entitled to some level of funding towards the cost of care from your local authority. The level of funding available is means tested based on your personal financial circumstances – your savings, investments and property. If your capital is assessed at over £23,250 you will not be entitled to local authority funding and will be faced with having to self-fund the care you need. Find out what social care funding might be available to you here.