We get asked this question a lot by families - what benefits can you claim if you have dementia?
If you have just received a diagnosis of dementia, we understand it’s a challenging time.
As well as planning how to manage your health moving forward, there are also financial considerations too.
The good news is that there are benefits available to help manage the cost of care and living.
In this piece, we’ll answer the question: ‘What benefits can you claim if you have dementia?’
Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:
- The next step to take after a dementia diagnosis to get funding for your medical and personal care
- How you apply for Local Authority funding and NHS Continuing Health Care
- The importance of asking for regular assessments in case your health needs or financial circumstances change
- A rundown of benefits you could be eligible for and what financial assistance they provide
- What’s the first step when applying for benefits?
- Are all benefits for people living with dementia means-tested?
- How the financial assessment works
- How Local Authority support is calculated
- Make sure to apply for NHS Continuing Health Care
- What benefits can you claim if you have dementia?
- Making plans for the future
What’s the first step when applying for benefits?
So, you have a diagnosis of dementia, and now you are asking ‘what benefits can I claim if I have dementia?’
The next step is to request a needs assessment from social services.
As the dementia care journey is complex and different for everybody, this assessment can help determine what you need to live well now.
Many people want to remain living in their home, the place they feel safe and happy, for as long as possible.
By assessing your needs, Local Authority funding for care in your own home will become clear.
This help may involve carers visiting to assist with personal or household tasks, modifications to the home space, or specialist equipment.
Are all benefits for people living with dementia means-tested?
Not every benefit available to people living with dementia is means-tested.
The eligibility for the NHS Continuing Health Care package, for example, is focused on your primary health needs not on your financial circumstances.
When applying for that funding, it doesn’t matter what money you have in savings or assets.
However, Local Authority funding is means-tested, and we’ll explain how the assessor will determine whether you are eligible.
How the financial assessment works
After completing the needs assessment, you will have a full report of recommendations for your ongoing care.
Now it’s time to determine what level of financial support the Local Authority will give you for paying for home care.
Their financial assessment will look at your assets and income, but they will not take the value of your primary residence into account.
That’s because you will be living in your home, not moving into a residential setting where there are care home costs.
How Local Authority support is calculated
- If you have over £23,250, you will usually have to pay for your care yourself
- For those with between £14,250 and £23,250, you and the local authority will split the cost.
- Under £14,250, the local authority will agree to provide you with a care budget.
Remember, if your circumstances change, you can request another financial assessment at any point.
Make sure to apply for NHS Continuing Health Care
NHS Continuing Health Care funding is not classed as a benefit, but it is a vital financial lifeline for many people with complex health needs.
The funding given is determined by the primary health need of the individual and what they need to live safely.
Usually, the primary health need must be complex for you to get this funding, and it is used for providing health support, not personal care.
As with Local Authority funding, the eligibility for NHS Continuing Health Care may change during your dementia journey.
What benefits can you claim if you have dementia?
There are no benefits that are automatically given to people who’ve received a dementia diagnosis.
However, there are benefits that you might be eligible for during the developing situation.
It’s worth remembering that the assessment criteria for various benefits can differ from those for care benefits.
Even if you aren’t eligible for free care from your local authority, ask your local benefits team for a benefits assessment.
You might be surprised at what you are eligible for.
Find out if you are eligible for these benefits:
If you have a condition that means you need help at home, you might be eligible for Attendance Allowance.
This weekly payment, for people over the state pension age, is distributed in two bands – a lower and higher band.
The lower band is a payment of £68.10 for help with personal care during the day or night.
To qualify for the higher band payment of £101.75, you will need help during the day and night.
If you are living with a terminal illness, you should be eligible for the higher rate.
Claiming attendance allowance may mean some of your other benefits are raised, and it is not a means-tested benefit.
It’s worth noting that you do not have to spend this money on care. You can decide what to use the money on for yourself.
There’s more here on how to claim attendance allowance.
If you are over the state pension age and are living on a low income, you might be able to claim pension credit.
It comes in two parts, guarantee credit and savings credit.
If your income is low, pension credit will top it up to £201.05 if you are single.
For couples, it will top up to £306.85.
Those with a disability may also get pension credit, even if their income is higher.
Income, in this case, means pensions and other income, regular money you have coming in, but does not include all benefits.
For instance, claiming PIP or Attendance Allowance might mean you can also claim an additional pension credit payment.
If you have modest savings, you may be eligible for a top-up of £15.94 a week for a single person.
Couples can apply for a £17.84 savings credit rate.
If you are over 75, you are entitled to a free TV licence.
You may also be entitled to a discount if you are registered blind.
You can also apply for a free licence if you receive pension credit.
Council tax reduction
People living with dementia may be able to get a council tax reduction or exemption.
This might be because they are claiming Attendance Allowance, allowing them to claim a reduction.
People in an advanced stage of their dementia journey may be completely exempt from paying council tax. This can be applied even when living as part of a couple.
If one person is exempt, the other half of the couple will be considered as living alone for council tax billing.
This will entitle them to a 25% discount from the full council tax rate.
If the other half of the couple is the recognised carer for the person with dementia, you may both be exempt from paying council tax.
Making plans for the future
We hope you’ve found this look at ‘what benefits can you claim if you have dementia’ helpful.
Many people don’t realise the support that’s out there and therefore don’t get the funding they are entitled to.
In our finance guide section, we aim to inform and empower people about the funding available.
Head over and look around; hopefully, you’ll find useful guides to help you live well at home.
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