local authority funding
Finance

Local authority funding for care in your own home: Do you qualify?

5 min read |

As care needs increase you or your loved one may be eligible for local authority funding for care in your own home.

It is important not to guess if you qualify or not.

Instead, your local authority will be able to assess what your care needs are, and who is responsible for paying for them.

This article looks at the eligibility criteria for local authority funding for care in your own home.

Here’s a summary of what we’ll cover:

  • You’ll be offered two assessments by the council. 
  • How much money you are awarded to pay for care at home depends on the degree of your care needs.
  • People with over £23,250 in savings or capital will be responsible for paying for their own care. 
  • The value of your home and possessions is not taken into account during the financial means test for at-home care.
do i qualify for funding for Local authority funding for care in your own home.

What sort of care do I need?

It is important to first note the different types of care needs to understand what you might be entitled to, in terms of local authority funding for care in your own home.

NHS Continuing Healthcare

This is a type of funding that will pay for any primary healthcare needs you may have.

This healthcare funding services any medical needs you have.

It could be because you need constant medication or help to use breathing support apparatus.

NHS Continuing Healthcare can also be referred to as ‘nursing’ care. 

Social care needs

These will usually be self-funded, or paid for by the local authority. 

These are care needs that mean your daily life is improved or maintained, but are not medically urgent.

Tasks like getting washed and dressed, cooking, help with feeding and so forth come under this heading.

Confused about care funding?

Free Care Funding Guide Download

What if I have both health and social care needs?

If you have approximately the same amount of primary healthcare AND social care needs, what do you do? 

It’s a good idea to start with NHS Continuing Healthcare.

Your GP will be able to help you to begin the assessment process. 

Sometimes the local authority and the NHS will share the cost of paying for care if you need both medical and social care.

Applying for NHS Continuing Healthcare first helps to get your medical needs covered most quickly if approved. 

But what if I’m not approved for NHS Continuing Healthcare?

You should pass the care needs assessment the NHS did for you to the local authority. 

They cover the same criteria, so will save time for both you and the council.

carers allowance

I only have social care needs, what do I do?

To see if you qualify for local authority funding for care in your own home, you will have two tests.

  • A needs assessment

This is the same as the NHS continuing care assessment. It looks at 10 key areas of your life to find where you need help, and how much you need.

  • A financial assessment

This will look at your entire financial life (apart from the value of your home and possessions). If you have savings, these are taken into account.

The needs assessment is used to understand where you need additional support. It must be carried out by a social worker or occupational therapist, or someone else trained to do so.

Every council in the UK uses the same criteria for all of the 10 areas.

They will look at how capable you are in each area.

There are some criteria to fulfil in order to be described as ‘unable to achieve’ a task:

  • If you need help with the task
  • If you find an activity painful or distressing
  • Do you put yourself or others in danger by doing it yourself
  • When it takes significantly longer than expected

You will be marked as having an ‘eligible need’ for every item on the list you can’t ‘achieve’. 

This will add up to a clear picture of what care needs you have and if you qualify for local authority funding for care in your own home.

inheritance planning for Local authority funding for care in your own home.

The financial assessment for local authority funding for care in your own home

If your needs assessment has decided that you need care at home, then the financial assessment decides who is paying for home care.

This process looks at your income and savings, such as pensions and capital.

It will look at your bank accounts, Isas, Premium Bonds, stocks and shares, and any additional properties you own. 

Your state pension will be included in this assessment, as will some benefits you might be currently claiming. Rental income will also be included

Your main residence – that you live in all the time – will not be included in the assessment. 

This only applies for at-home care.

Should you decide to move to a residential home, your main home will be included in your financial assessment.

In England and Wales, income from a job or self-employment is not included. Any mobility supplement benefit is also not included.

Worried about your loved one?

Early signs of dementia free guide

who gets diabetes

Can I give away my money to qualify for local authority funding?

There are some financial arrangements that are excluded from a financial assessment.

Some assets that are placed in trust, and some types of investment bonds for example. 

However, moving your money into a trust simply to get your savings below the threshold is not permitted.

Likewise, giving it away to children or family members to avoid paying for care fees is also not permitted.

‘Giving it away’ is not restricted to cash gifts. For example, buying expensive items such as jewellery to ‘gift’ to family members comes under this heading. 

Selling a second property for a notional amount (far less than it is worth) is another example.

Deliberate deprivation of assets

These actions could be considered a deliberate deprivation of assets.

The local authority is unlikely to look upon this favourably.

It is possible for the council to claim back the cost of care from whomever the ‘gifts’ were given to. 

During your financial assessment, your previous assets will be investigated.

The assessor will look at the gap between when you realised you needed care, and the time of the assessment. 

It is likely they will investigate some time prior to that as well.

Something you gave away a few years ago before you needed care is unlikely to be of interest. 

should i give away my assets to my grandchildren

Does my partner’s capital count in my financial assessment?

Generally speaking, no, you will be assessed as an individual. 

Only your assets and income should be taken into account when being assessed for at-home care funding. 

However, sharing a savings account can muddy the waters a little.

You might consider splitting up your savings account to make it clearer to see what money belongs to who. 

Do exercise caution here – as we have seen above ‘deliberate deprivation of assets’ is a serious issue.

how much do people live off in retirement

Is there a savings threshold for getting local authority funding for care in your own home?

Upper threshold for local authority funding for care in your own home

Holding more than £23,250 in capital means you will be ineligible for full funding for care at home. 

However, there are a good deal of supplementary benefits you can apply for if you have over this savings threshold.

There are benefits for people with disabilities and illnesses, those who need constant care, and others. 

Don’t be put off inquiring about these benefits just because you have savings. Not all of them are means-tested, so it’s worth investigating. 

Remember also that you could be eligible for NHS Continuing Care funding if you have a medical care need. This is not means-tested, but is part of the ‘free at the point of use’ system the NHS operates on.

Lower capital limit for local authority funding for care in your own home

There is also a lower capital limit to be aware of. This is £14,250. 

If you have between £14,250 to £23,250, you get local authority funding for care in your own home. However,  you will also need to contribute a little toward the cost of care. 

This cost is £1 per week on every £250 you have between £14,250 and £23,250. It is called ‘tariff income’.

Under the lower capital limit

Those with capital under £14,250 will need to contribute from your income – not your savings. 

This means that any income you get over £189 per week will be paid towards your care. In practice, this means that your state pension is likely to be untouched by care costs. 

Any private pensions, share dividends or income from jobs or self-employment will be taken into account. 

 

Confused about care funding?

Free Care Funding Guide Download

What else can the council do for me?

If the cost of care will reduce your income below a set level, don’t panic. 

The council will sometimes contribute towards costs for people who are self-funding. There are other financial benefits for the elderly.

If your income is too low to reasonably pay to live after care costs, the council will partially fund it. Read more here about the personal health budget.

This will need to be arranged with your local authority. Do not suffer in silence – if you can’t pay your bills because of your care costs, speak to the council.

You will not be expected to go without necessary care if your income is too low to cover the costs. 

What about organising the care?

Even if you are self-funding your home care, the council is able to help arrange carers for you. 

This relieves the burden of organisation for those who don’t want to arrange it all themselves. 

In addition, it can provide peace of mind around getting the right people to provide care. 

There may be a cost for this help or arrangement. The needs and financial assessments are always free of charge, as is the preparation of a care plan. 

They are also able to help with necessary adaptations and equipment around your home, up to a cost of £1000.

Find a carer today

It’s easy to find a carer who can help you or your loved one stay independent at home for longer.

Just use the Sweet Pea care matching service. All you have to do is enter your care needs and we’ll do all the hard work for you!