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AM I ENTITLED TO HELP WITH THE COST OF CARE AT HOME?
One of the first questions families and seniors ask is “am I entitled to help with the cost of care”?
What’s important to understand is that typically there are two ‘gates’ a senior has to pass through in order to access funding. The first is to pass a needs assessment, the second is a passing a financial assessment.
The Needs Assessment
On assessing an individual’s needs, local authorities categorise needs in one of four bands:
Although all local authorities use this banding system, they have discretion to set their threshold for funding care individually within these bands, taking account of their local resources, expectations and costs.
The Financial Assessment
The second ‘gate’ or threshold that needs to be passed is a financial one. The local authority will assess your income - which includes your pension and any benefits you receive – and they will also look at your savings and assets, but not the value of your home.
If your savings and assets are:
- less than £14,250 – you won’t have to use any of your savings to pay for your care
- between £14,250 and £23,250 – you’ll have to pay £1 per week toward your care for every £250 in savings you have over £14,250
- more than £23,250 – you may have to pay for all the care you receive.
If I Pass Both Assessments, Am I Guaranteed Funding?
If I pass both a needs and financial assessment, am I guaranteed to be offered local authority funding support? The answer is not straightforward an may be determined by the local authority area in which you live. You may pass a financial assessment but be denied access on the grounds of not meeting the local threshold for needs (a local authority may only fund ‘critical’ or ‘substantial’ needs, for example).
The local authority must tell you how much they think your care will cost and if they are contributing towards your costs, this amount is called your personal budget and you have the right to decide how it should be spent. For example, you do not have to have your care delivered by one of the local authority’s contracted care providers. You can arrange your own provider and receive direct payments from the local authority to be spent with the care provider of your choosing.