Self-funding care at home
The majority of people beyond retirement age wish to live an independent and active life in the comfort of their own home for as long as they possibly can. For older people with ongoing care needs, including those with long-term conditions such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease, MS or cancer, professional live-in home care makes this possible and is a preferable alternative to obtaining residence in a nursing or care home.
Although the fees for residential care and high-quality live-in home care are comparable, whichever you or your loved one chooses you may have to cover some or all of the cost.
Whilst some may be eligible to receive help with meeting the cost of live-in care from their local authority, funding is based upon a financial assessment known as ‘means testing’.
Under current rules, and depending upon which area of the UK you live in, if a means test deems that you possess assets (e.g. savings, property or investments) greater in value than £23,250 (England and Northern Ireland, slightly higher in Wales and Scotland), you will be ineligible to receive local authority funding. From April 2016 this threshold will be increased to £27,000 for those who receive care in their own home.
Even if you do not qualify for care funding from your local authority all is not lost. A number of options are open to you or your loved one for self-funding care at home.
Ways in which you may self-fund long term live-in care at home
If you are ineligible to receive local authority funding yet your regular income cannot meet the full costs of obtaining quality live-in care, the following options are open to you in order to help you self-fund care at home:
Check and claim any benefits to which you may be entitled
Even if you are ineligible for healthcare needs or social care needs funding there are several other benefits available to those in need of care. These include:
Disability Living Allowance
(currently being replaced by the Personal Independence Payment, (PIP)).
This is available to people below the age of 65 and who have difficulties with mobility and activities associated with daily life due to a disability or long-term condition.
Non means-tested, the Attendance Allowance is available to people over the age of 65 who need help with personal care because of an illness or disability or who need constant supervision to protect against self-endangerment.
Council Tax reduction or exemption
A person with severe mental impairment, such as someone in the advanced stages of dementia, is exempt from paying council tax. If living with a partner, the partner is entitled to a 25% discount in their council tax.
NHS Continuing Care
Although the rules on eligibility are strict, and a health assessment is required, NHS Continuing Care may be available to people with, for example, complex medical conditions, long-term illnesses, cognitive disorders or mobility issues which require additional care and support. Decided on a case-by-case basis, those who qualify will receive 100% of their care fees from the NHS.
Invest in an immediate needs annuity
An immediate needs annuity is a type of insurance policy also known as a ‘care fees plan’. In return for the upfront payment of a one-off premium, the size of which is based upon an assessment of the care needs of you or your loved one, an immediate needs annuity is intended to provide an ongoing income to cover the costs of care, whether residential or provided by a live-in carer, for as long as they are needed.
A care fees plan can be purchased as soon as the need for care provision arises and, as the name suggests, benefits the recipient immediately. If the income from an immediate needs annuity is paid directly to you or your loved one’s registered care provider it is tax exempt under current HMRC policy. The annuity can also be index-linked in order to protect against the effects of fluctuating inflation.
The Good Care Group works closely in partnership with Symponia which is a professional body representing over 120 advisors (financial & legal) who are all specialists in the area of financing care fees.
Members of Symponia are hand-selected for their empathy, caring approach and knowledge. Working with a Symponia member, families of those needing to pay for their care are able to ensure that fees are paid indefinitely and without worry.
Consider releasing some or all of the equity in your home
Equity release schemes enable house owners aged 55 years or older to cash in on the accrued value of their property without the need for selling it or moving elsewhere.
This enables you to use the value of your house to pay for your care fees. This means that you therefore do not have to sell your house and can receive live-in care in your own home. How much you can release depends on a number of factors such as your age, health, lifestyle, the kind of equity release plan you choose and how much your home is worth.
Seek long-term care funding advice from a specialist financial adviser
Depending upon your individual circumstances there may be further options available to you to help self-fund care at home.
These can be explored with the help of an independent financial adviser or planner who specialises in the funding of long-term care. You can find your nearest long-term care funding adviser by contacting www.symponia.co.uk or using the search engine provided by the Society of Later Life Advisors.
The Good Care Group provides exceptional fully-managed live-in care services which are comparably priced yet superior to those offered by a typical residential nursing or care home. You can learn more about the significant benefits to health and wellbeing our quality one-to-one home care provides here. Alternatively, to speak to someone about your home care requirements please call us on 020 3728 7577.