An elderly female resident discussing a question over a cup of tea.

Frequently Asked Questions

It is sometimes difficult to remember all the things you need to observe or ask, so we have provided the following checklist to guide you.


A screen view of our Frequently Asked Questions Checklist.

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Below is a list of common questions.

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Are there any other benefits I can claim?

YES

  • Attendance Allowance/Disabled Living Allowance (AA/DLA) Attendance Allowance and Disabled Living Allowance are both tax-free, non means-tested weekly benefits. If you are paying for your own care in a care home then you are likely to be eligible. If you are in a care home and receiving funding from the Local Authority, whilst you may still be eligible for AA/DLA this will not be paid as it is effectively included within the Local Authority funding.
  • Pension Credit. This is a means tested benefit designed to ensure a minimum guaranteed income and where applicable to assist those with limited savings or additional private income.

You should contact your local Social Services department for further information on how to claim.


If the Local Authority is paying for my care do I have a choice of Care Home?

YES

The home you choose must be suitable for your needs and be registered with the countries registration authority.


What if the home I have chosen is more expensive than the Authority are willing to pay for?

If you want to a more expensive care home than the authority are willing to pay for, you are allowed to arrange a ‘third party contribution’ from another source to make up the shortfall. You are not allowed to top up the fees yourself from any capital under the upper capital limits stated above.


What happens if my savings run out?

When your savings fall below the upper limits set out above you are likely be able to get help with funding as above. You should contact your Local Authority Social Services department when you savings are approaching this limit so they know when their help will be needed.


My partner needs care but I don’t, how does this effect me?

Only the person going into a care home should be means tested. Generally speaking the property you are still living in will be ignored and savings are treated differently. Your social worker and the Benefits office will advise you further. You may also wish to seek further financial advise in these circumstances.


Will I have to sell my property?

NOT NECESSARILY

The rules relating to property are complicated and you are advised to seek financial advice if you or your partner needs permanent care and own a property. The general rules relating to property are as follows:

The Local Authority has to ‘disregard’ the value of a persons home (that is, not make a charge on it) in certain circumstances when assessing the level of contribution an individual needs to make towards their care home fees. This includes, for example, where the following people currently reside in the property:

  • Your husband, wife, civil partner
  • A close relative who is 60 or over
  • A close relative under 60 who is incapacitated
  • A close relative under the age of 16 who you’re legally liable to support
  • You are a lone parent

However, if none of the above exists, then the value of the property is likely to be taken into consideration by the Local Authority in their financial assessment. In other words you will probably need to sell your property in order to meet the care home fees.


12 Week Disregard

When assessing you for assistance with your fees, all Local Authorities are required to ignore the value of your home for up to the first 12 weeks of your moving into a care home. This is designed to give you a reasonable period of time to sell your property. If your remaining assets fall below the upper capital limits outlined previously, then the Local Authority will most likely pay an element of your fees until either you sell your property or the 12 week period expires. At that point the Local Authority will reassess you including taking into account the value of your property– whether you havecompleted the sale process or not.


What if I can’t sell my property within the first 12 weeks of going into a home?

Social Services can lend you money, charged against your property value. However they may limit the amount they will pay and it could adversely effect your benefit contributions. This is known as a Deferred Payment Scheme

If your property remains unsold after the initial 12 week period and you are unable to meet your care home fees from either your income or any other capital over the upper capital limit as stated previously, then you should request a deferred payment arrangement from your Local Authority. Whether they agree to enter such an agreement is entirely at the Local Authority’s discretion. You will be given the agreement in writing, and if refused you should obtain a written explanation.

This arrangement is an interest free loan specifically for the payment of your care home fees, secured against your property, and lasts until the property is sold, at which point you will be required to repay the loan in full. You will still be required to pay a contribution from your income during the time of the arrangement. Full details should be obtained from your Local Authority.

Should you believe that you may need to take advantage of this scheme, you must contact your Local Authority well in advance of the expiry of the initial 12 weeks, in order to allow sufficient time for your application to be processed. This will also avoid the risk of interest building up on any unpaid care home fees.

If the Local Authority refuses to accept deferred payments then you must contact the home immediately to discuss and arrange alternative methods of payment.

Please note this scheme can also be requested where you have previously paid fees from your capital for a period of time but those fees have now dropped below the upper capital threshold. In this case, the Local Authority can be contacted to request this scheme if the property has not been sold. We would suggest that you do this before the capital has reached the limit in order to avoid any delays.

In all cases you are strongly advised to seek expert advice where property issues are involved before entering the care home and before making any final decisions.


Are there other options if I do not wish to sell my property to pay for my care home fees?

YES

You may wish to consider alternative ways of paying for your care home fees including renting out of your property and using the rental income to pay for the care home fees, or a bridging loan whilst you sell your property.

There are also companies that can offer you immediate care insurance which may be suitable if considering a care home. This involves paying a single lump sum at the time you decide you need care.

In all cases you are strongly advised to seek expert advice where property issues are involved before entering the care home and before making any final decisions.