Advice on Paying Care Home fees
One issue you can’t get away from when you have decided to send your elderly parent into a care home is payment. You may be wondering if your parent has enough money and assets to afford to live in a care home, or if you will have to help meet your parent’s regular payments.
Before all else, remember that your parent may be entitled to some government benefits that will help to pay for the cost of home care. These payment benefits will be determined by your local council. It is vital that your elderly parent receives all the benefits he or she is entitled to. As the adult child, you must know the basis of the local council’s computation of benefits to be given to your parent. You must know ALL the benefits that your parent is entitled to, and you should double check their computation personally. What follows below is the process of assessment of benefits:
1. Local council assessment. Your local council will assess whether your elderly parent can get financial assistance for home care fees, based on your parent’s assets (home, land, etc.) and income. If they decide that your parent qualifies for financial help, they will then determine how much financial help your parent will receive.
The national basis for determining your parent’s financial aid is CRAG 2013, (Charging for residential accommodation guide). For more information, look up CRAG at the Gov.uk website. If you live in Wales, look up CRAG in www.wales.gov.uk. For Scotland, refer to www.scotland.gov.uk.
2. Assessment of savings and assets.
The following is considered when the local council assesses your parent’s savings and assets:
a. Capital or threshold limits. The local government has threshold limits against which they will compare your parent’s savings and assets. The limits change in April every year. There is a lower and upper limit for Scotland and England; Wales has a single threshold limit.
b. Comparison of income to threshold limits. If your parent’s savings and assets exceed the threshold limit in Wales, then he or she must shoulder full payment for home care. In Scotland and England, if your savings and assets fall between the upper and lower limits, then you are entitled to some financial assistance (as determined by your local council). If your savings and assets fall below the lower limit, (or below the threshold limit in Wales), then you will receive full financial home care support.
c. Your Parent’s Income and assets. The local council only considers your elderly parent’s income and assets. It does not consider the income of the spouse, nor of any relative. Personal possessions are also not considered.
d. Deliberate deprivation of assets. If you have access to income and/or capital that you deliberately decide to deprive yourself of, (so that you will be free of paying any home care fees), the local council still has the authority to render its computation inclusive of the income and capital, even if you have not accepted or received it.
3. Income determination. The local council will consider the ff. as income:
a. Money received monthly. This includes money from savings, pension, (Whether occupational, personal, or State), Pension Credit and/or other state benefits.
b. Income not considered. The local council will not include some benefits such as the DLA (Disability Living Allowance), PIP (Personal Independence Payment), and AA (Attendance Allowance; which is only included if you live in Scotland). WDP (War Disablement Pension) is partly included. Half of your parent’s occupational or personal income will not be included if it is passed onto your spouse or civil partner.
4. How long will the payments be given? If you move into a care home that receives partial funding by the local council, then any beneficial payments that your parent gets from AA, PIP, DLA, Exceptionally Severe Disablement Allowance or Constant Attendance Allowance will only be provided for four weeks. In Scotland, the local council will provide a weekly fund if your parent is assessed to require nursing care.
The decision to place your parent in home care is bound to be a lifetime decision that you or your elderly parent is making. For this reason, it is important that you keep the long-term in mind. Knowing about all the possible benefits that your parent can avail of is part of this long-term, lifetime plan.
For further Care Funding advice follow these links:
http://www.careaware.co.uk/ (free advice on care fee funding for elderly) 0161707 1107
http://www.age-exchange.org.uk/ (free advice on care funding for elderly)
http://www.independentage.org/ (free and confidential advice) 0207 605 4200