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This fact sheet is intended to help you if you are about to move into a care home on a self funding basis, or you are already in a care home and want to know about financial help from Wiltshire Council:
- Self funding
- Costs of care
- Other benefits you may qualify for
- Attendance allowance
- Disability living allowance
- Pensions credit
- Income support
- NHS funded nursing care
- NHS continuing health care
- Can I reduce my savings and investments to lower the contributions I make towards my care?
- What happens if I am in a care home and my savings fall below £23,250?
- What happens if I own my own house?
- Deferred payment scheme
- Making the most of your savings and assets
Self funding will apply to you if you:
- have decided to move to a care home without an assessment from Wiltshire Council
- would prefer to pay for the full cost of your care yourself without any financial help from Wiltshire Council
- do not qualify for financial help from Wiltshire Council because your capital (savings and assets) is above the current 2011/12 national maximum capital limit of £23,250.
How much will I have to pay?
Costs of care
The costs of care can vary from home to home. Any home should be able to explain in writing what you are paying for. It is important that you choose a home that you can continue to afford and that you check out exactly what the fees cover – for example additional activities provided by the home and what ‘extras’ you may be charged for separately.
The level set by government for getting help with care fees is £23,250. This is called the threshold amount and usually increases in April each year. If you have more than this amount in savings and assets, you cannot get any help with care fees from Wiltshire Council. This means that you will have to pay the full amount of fees yourself until your savings fall to £23,250. For details on the national guidelines for charging, see our Charges and Benefits page.
Other benefits you may qualify for
If you are not getting any help with your care fees from Wiltshire Council, you may qualify for other benefits. Our Customer Advisors can refer you to organisations in the voluntary and community sector that can help with this and can give direct advice about benefits.
A tax free benefit for people aged 65 or over who need help with personal care because they are physically or mentally disabled. There are two rates of attendance allowance – lower and higher. To qualify for the higher rate you will need to explain that you have night-time care/supervision needs.
Disability living allowance
A tax free benefit for people aged under 65 who need help with personal care or have walking difficulties because they are physically or mentally disabled. There are three rates for the care component of disability living allowance – low, middle and high. To meet the requirements of the middle rate you must need frequent attention or continual supervision in the day. To meet the requirements for the high rate you must have care/supervision needs as well. You can claim attendance allowance or disability allowance by ringing the free benefits telephone number 0800 88 22 00. Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is being replaced with Personal Independence Payments (PIP) as from 1 April 2013. There will be two rates of the PIP ‘Daily Living Component’, namely ‘Standard’ which will be the same financial rate as ‘middle’ DLA and ‘Enhanced’ which will be the same financial rate as ‘higher’ DLA. This new benefit will be regarded in the same way as DLA. There is no equivalent rate of PIP ‘Daily Living Component’ to DLA ‘lower’.
If you are over 61 years of age, you may be entitled to receive pension credit on top of your retirement pension and other income. If you do not already receive pension credit, you can make a claim by ringing the pension service on the free telephone number 0800 023 4888.
Income support can be paid if you are under 61 and have savings under £16,000 and your weekly income is less than the levels set by government. You can claim income support by ringing Job Centre Plus on 0800 055 6688. Income Support is being replaced by Universal Credit on a phased basis commencing October 2013.
NHS funded nursing care
If you are in a nursing home and have nursing needs, you may be able to get help with part of your nursing care costs. You can request an assessment from a nurse assessor attached to your doctor’s surgery. They will make a determination of your nursing needs and decide whether you are entitled to receive a free nursing care payment. This is currently £109.79 a week.
Payments are made directly to the nursing home and it may mean that you have to pay less from your own money. Homes will either refund or deduct payment, and so if you are eligible for NHS funded nursing care, you should discuss this with the nursing home direct to confirm how they deal with reimbursement.
NHS continuing health care
You may also qualify for the full costs of your care to be paid for by the NHS if you meet the NHS continuing health care criteria. Continuing health care means care provided to meet health needs for a period of time to a person aged 18 or over to meet physical or mental health needs.
To receive NHS continuing health care you will need to have an assessment undertaken by a nurse assessor. If you are eligible, the NHS will fund your care needs. NHS continuing health care is not means tested and is reviewed on a regular basis and may not be given indefinitely. For more information about NHS funded care, contact NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) on 01380 733865 or find out more information about continuing care on the NHS choices website.
Can I reduce my savings and investments to lower the contributions I make towards my care?
No. If you reduce your savings and investments on purpose, for example by buying a new car for your relatives, or by giving them money or your house, the council must take account of the value of these things in their financial assessment. If you cannot pay towards the cost of your care and you have reduced your savings and investments on purpose, the person you gave the money to or bought something for will have to pay the council.
What happens if I am in a care home and my savings fall below £23,250?
It is very important that you contact one of the council’s customer advisors as soon as possible when your savings have gone down. You may be entitled to financial help from Wiltshire Council, but funding will commence only from the date you, or your representative, first let us know. You should explain that your capital or savings is/are reaching the maximum capital limit and ask for an assessment of your care needs. We suggest you contact us two months before your savings reach £23,250 to allow you time to consider what happens next.
If your care home fees are more than we usually pay for the level of care you need, and your needs can be met elsewhere at a lower rate, you can agree for a ‘top-up’ to be paid by a third party. A third party can be a relative or friend, but by law you are not normally allowed to pay your own top-up fees. If there is nobody to pay a top-up fee and your needs can be met elsewhere, the council will help you to move to other suitable accommodation that would not require a third party top-up and the council will support the costs of this care.
What happens if I own my own house?
If you own, or have an interest in, more than one property it is very likely that your capital assets are more than £23,250 and you would, therefore, be expected to pay the full cost of your care. If you own your own home, it is normally regarded as an asset, but can be disregarded if it is occupied by a:
- spouse or civil partner
- relative over 60
- disabled relative
- dependent child under 16
The council also has discretion to disregard the value of your home if it is occupied by a carer who does not fall into one of the above categories. If your former home is regarded as an asset, but your other capital is less than £23,250, and your income is not enough to meet your care home fees, the council will help with the cost during the first twelve weeks of permanent care, provided they agree that care in a care home is needed.
Deferred payment scheme
After the twelve week period of help from the council, if you do not wish to sell your house, or are unable to sell it immediately, you may apply for the deferred payment scheme. This enables you and the council to agree to defer payment of the part of your accommodation charge that relates to the value of your house. The deferred amount would become payable by you or your estate when you sell the property or leave the care home. Deferred payments are not agreed in all cases and there are rules to be met. For more information speak to our principal financial advisor on 01225 713904.
Making the most of your savings and assets
Wiltshire Council is working with two independent Care Fees Specialists who can provide people who are responsible for funding their own care with specialist information and advice and help you understand the funding solutions available to fund your care for the rest of your life and protect your wealth and inheritance legacy. The benefits of specialist advice:
- Access to solutions which can help guarantee care funding for life
- To be in the home of your choice for as long as care is required
- Protection of assets, savings and inheritance legacies
- Peace of mind so that you can enjoy your later life
37 Gay Street
Telephone - 01225 469424
Local Specialist based in Bath
Eldercare Solutions Ltd
Eldercare Solutions Ltd
Suite 4, Titmore
Branch Office: Dursley, Glos
Local Specialist based in Dursley, Gloucestershire
The above Care Fees Specialists are directly authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Wiltshire Council is not responsible for any advice provided by the Care Fees Specialist. The Financial Services Authority does not regulate will writing, taxation or trust advice. The value of investments and any income derived from them may go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. The Moneymadeclear service, from the Consumer Financial Education Body (CFEB) offers impartial information and guidance about your money to help you work out what’s right for you.
Long-term care made clear explains what options may be available and what you should think about before making a decision. There are several other sources of information on paying for care, including a leaflet produced jointly by a number of care organisations:
- Later life - National Savings & Investments (NS&I)
- Paying for Long Term Care in England
For more information, talk to the advice and contact team. This fact sheet can be produced, on request, in other formats and languages. Please phone 0300 456 0111, by textphone 01225 712500, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information about the range of care services available in Wiltshire, please see the Wiltshire Care Services Directory available online at the Care Choices website.
To be reviewed August 2018