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.
- What sort of care do I need?
- What if I have both health and social care needs?
- The needs assessment for local authority funding for care in your own home
- The financial assessment for local authority funding for care in your own home
- Can I give away my money to qualify for local authority funding?
- Is there a savings threshold for getting local authority funding for care in your own home?
- What else can the council do for me?
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.
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.
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.
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!