Funding Your Care

Funding

Paying for care can be both a confusing and costly business with many people unaware that financial assistance and funding is sometimes available. At Louange Support Services, we aim to make the process as simple and straightforward as possible. The guides below will talk you through just some of the options.

We understand just how hard it is to even know where to start, and many people can end up losing their lifetime savings on paying for care when they didn’t need to. So, although it’s difficult to think about before you need it, planning ahead makes sense. We are here to understand your position and give guidance because we know exactly where to start and who to call. For an initial, no obligation chat, please get in touch – we’d be happy to help.

Self Funding Your Care
The austerity measures of recent years have had a significant impact on adult social care budgets and the reality is that a high proportion of people are now having to self-fund their own care. As a result, many local authorities have had to raise the criteria for when someone qualifies for funding via social services. Simply put, if your capital, savings and or income puts you outside the upper means-test thresholds for local authority funding, you will generally be responsible for paying your own care.

However, there are some scenarios where the NHS may be responsible for funding and there are some occasions when your property, as well as certain types of investments, cannot be included in the means test. With careful planning, it may be possible to structure things in such a way that care fees can be paid for the rest of your life without the worry that the money might run out, while also leaving other investments untouched.

The first step is to think about what your ideal care would be, and then talk to a specialist financial advisor who will discuss all the conceivable options, exploring both the health and financial implications of each and often creating a previously unthought solution. Expert financial planning helps ease the burden of worrying about your finances at a time that might be both highly confusing and emotionally draining. As everyone approaches the funding of care fees differently and everyone will have different financial circumstances, personal, tailored planning with a professional adviser is vital. It is important not to dismiss any care options until such advice has been taken.

There are often ways of affording care that searching the internet or talking to friends and even health professionals wouldn’t necessarily reveal. Such expert planners should be authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and should have obtained a dedicated long-term care qualification. For added reassurance, they should also be Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checked (previously CRB), and therefore cleared to guide vulnerable people. The advisor will hold a face-to-face meeting to assess the situation thoroughly from both a care and a financial perspective. After thorough research, they will present the person in care and/or their legal representatives with a comprehensive report detailing each and every available option, together with their recommendations.

This allows the client, legal representatives and/or the family members to weigh up all the facts and make an informed decision. Depending on individual circumstances, the report could include the opportunity to purchase an ‘immediate care plan’: a dedicated and potentially tax-free product designed to cover all or part of the care fees. This type of specialist financing can be funded from existing savings and/or ‘equity release’, where capital is unlocked from a property, or other alternatives. There are of course pros and cons to all these options, so they do need discussion with suitably qualified advisors. Once established, immediate care plans can pay towards care fees indefinitely.

As a matter of routine, the specialist advisor will also give guidance on practicalities such as first checking whether there are state benefits that can be claimed. Not all of these are means tested or taxed, such as the Attendance Allowance, which is available to anyone aged over 65, who has needed care with essential daily tasks for longer than six months. The equivalent for younger adults is Personal Independence Payments (formerly known as Disability Living Allowance).

For more information on self-funding your care to live at home, give us a call, we’d be happy to help.

Local Authority Funding of You Care
If your capital, savings and or income puts you below the lower means-test thresholds then you may qualify for your local authority to fund your care. Those with savings or income within the means-test thresholds may qualify for partial funding. Although this sounds simple, the process can sometimes be a little more complex. For example, there are often occasions when someone’s property can’t be included in the means test (the most obvious one being if you are still living in it), and there are also certain types of investment that can’t be included either.

The level of funding will depend upon an assessment of needs which is broadly based on the level of assistance you required with daily living activities, such as washing, dressing, preparing meals and taking medication.

If your local authority does pay for some or all of your care, you will be given a personal budget, and it could:

  • provide the care directly to you, either through their own staff or through a contract organisation.
  • give you direct payments that enable you to buy the services directly with money given to you by the local authority.

There are some items the local authority must provide for free if you are assessed as needing them. These include “community equipment” which means items specifically designed to make daily life easier for you. For example:

  • equipment that helps with zips or buttons
  • telephones with large buttons or flashing lights
  • communication aids

The need for this type of equipment will come out of an assessment of your needs. A local authority may have set rules about the type of equipment it will consider supplying, or the level of costs it will meet. If this is the case, you could argue they shouldn’t have blanket policies about the equipment they will provide and should make decisions depending on individual circumstances.

In some case, a local authority may also pay for minor adaptations (costing less than £1,000) to your home. Things like grab rails on the bath or blocks to make the bed higher may be paid for. For more information on local authority funding of your care, you can check out NHS Choices.

For more information on paying for care to live at home, give us a call, we’d be happy to help.

The NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding (CHC Funding)

Could the NHS pay for your home care? Many people wrongly pay out for their care fees because they do not know about a little-known funding stream called NHS Continuing Healthcare.

If full time care is required, and your primary need is health, all of your care fees could be paid for by the government. It can be a complex process to apply for the funding and as might be imagined, there’s a fair amount of red tape but there are specialist advisors who can help you through the process and work out whether or not you are eligible. Appointing a specialist advisor and expert financial planner can help ease the burden of worrying about your finances at a time where you might be feeling confused and emotionally drained.

However, if you decide to appoint such an expert, make sure they’re authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and have obtained a dedicated long-term care qualification. For added reassurance, they should also be Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checked (previously CRB), and therefore cleared to guide vulnerable people through a potentially challenging process. The advisor will hold a face-to-face meeting to assess the situation thoroughly from both a care and a financial perspective and then make a call as to whether you could be eligible for the funding. If not they could also offer other alternatives to funding that you didn’t know about. For example, you may be eligible for the Attendance Allowance which is neither taxed nor means tested and is available to anyone aged over 65 who has needed care with essential daily tasks for longer than six months. Its equivalent for younger adults is Personal Independence Payments (formerly known as Disability Living Allowance) which is awarded to those under 65.

For more information and guidance about stay at home care, give us a call, we’d be happy to help.

Cost of a Care Home vs Live-In Care

“People treasure the past,” says TrinityCarer, John Mackay. “Being surrounded by your memories as you age, means you can still have a connection to the life you have had, and that is really important.”

Staying close to family, friends, and communities that have been built up over a lifetime not only means staying connected but also allows more autonomy over our life. It means we can keep our beloved pets and avoid the stress and upheaval of packing up and moving into what can be a more institutional and regimented way of life in a care home.

And yet many people believe there is no choice but to move out of home and into residential care and there seems to be a lot of confusion around the options. Clearly, staying in your own home with all the support you need is not only preferable from an emotional point of view but it can also be the preferable option financially too. This is because stay at home care needs can be worked out on an hourly basis, making them completely flexible and designed to fit both your needs – and your budget.

This is very different to a care home, where the costs are set and inflexible and of course where you can often feel lost in the care home routine. So, when you’re faced with weighing up your care needs, it’s important to look at all the options. You can stay at home with someone popping in to check you’ve taken your medication, run you to an appointment or help you out of bed in the mornings and equally if you need someone to live-in, providing one-on-one round the clock care, stay at home care is as much a viable option as moving into a home.

Carefully looking into how you pay for your care will also highlight all your options. The common understanding is that you will definitely need to pay for your care by the sale of your house but in some cases, your home may not be included in the means test to decide whether or not you are eligible for local council funding. This is especially true if you are a couple living at home, or you have another dependent family member living with you. In these cases, your home cannot be included as an asset.

If your care needs are more health care based, you could also be eligible for a little known NHS funding scheme, called, Continuing Healthcare Funding or CHC, as it is known, and you could decide to use this to stay at home. You could also be eligible for the government’s Attendance Allowance, available to anyone aged over 65 years, who has needed care with essential daily tasks for longer than six months.

Whatever your circumstances, it’s vital to realize that packing up your life-long home and moving into a residential care does not always have to be the answer. It’s important to explore all the options and by appointing an expert financial planner, who can help you both navigate the system and your finances might be a good idea. Just make sure they’re regulated by the Financial Services Authority and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checked.

At Louange Support Services, we’re passionate about supporting your at-home independence and we firmly believe there is always a genuine alternative to rest home care. So, if you’re weighing up your care options, and you’re thinking you might like to stay at home, then give one of our team a call. We’d love to hear from you.

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