One of the most difficult areas for families to understand is who pays for care and what support is available from the NHS and Local Authority.
We wanted to share a few quick pointers. The government has delayed the introduction of a cap on care fees and a higher means test, scheduled for 2016 to 2020. Therefore, it is important to understand where you stand.
1. Who pays for care?
Social care is means-tested, meaning only the poorest get state help towards their costs.
At the moment, if you have assets over £23,250 you will pay for your own care. If you need residential care, the value of your house may be included in calculations.
The BBC’s Care Calculator is a great tool to tell you whether you qualify for local authority support, and if so, how much financial support you can expect.
2. If I qualify for support, what can I expect from the local authority?
If you qualify, the local authority will pay towards your care. For example, my mother lives in Harrow. The council will pay £612 toward residential care (a care home) and £159 toward care at home.
However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to access care funding. Many councils are increasingly restricting funding to those with critical or substantial needs.
3. If I don’t qualify, do I get any support?
Yes. The local authority is obligated to provide care assessments for anyone who requests one. This includes a needs assessment and what support might be best for you. However, if the assessment recommends that care is required, you will have to pay for it yourself.
To put this in context, about 4m older people have care needs but only 850,000 qualify for state help.
4. Does my family get any support from the local authority?
Family carers have rights too – if you’re a carer you have a legal right to a care assessment. It doesn’t matter how much care you provide, if you need support you can request a free assessment and the support is not means tested.
5. Where can I get further support and advice?
Councils must give information and advice. Contact your local council to find out the types of care services available. You may also find the BBC Care Calculator, Society of Later Life Advisers and Independent Age’s Fact Sheets useful.
We started SuperCarers after our family’s difficult experiences of care. If you want to talk with one of our Care Advisors for free please call us on 020 8629 1030. Alternatively, please email firstname.lastname@example.org