Care home fees – will you have to pay? And how to keep your home

4 min Read Published: 09 Aug 2012

Moving into a care home either yourself, or helping a loved one, can be a very stressful time. The last thing you want to do is worry about how the bills will be paid, so here is my guide to who pays what regarding care home fees.

Will the NHS pay for my care?

Care home fees are not funded by the NHS and will be either paid for by the patient or by their local authority. Prior to moving into a care home your financial situation will be assessed and the result of this will decide who pays the fees.

What is included in a financial assessment?

The assessment will look at both your income and capital to calculate if any personal contribution will be required.

Income includes:

  • interest on your savings
  • private and/or State Pension
  • some benefits like Pension Credit, Attendance Allowance or the care component of Disability Living Allowance

Your capital might include:

  • savings
  • investments
  • any property you might own

How much will care home fees cost me?

If you have capital of more than £23,250 (£22,750 in Scotland, £22,000 in Wales, £23,260 in Northern Ireland) then you will be asked to pay the full cost of your care.

If your total capital falls below the above threshold the income part of your assessment will decide if you have to pay a contribution.

  • If you have capital below £14,250 you will be entitled to maximum support although you will still contribute your income less £22.30 per week retained for personal expenses.
  • If your capital is between £14,250 and £23,250 you will also pay a capital tariff of £1 per week for each £250 or part thereof between these two figures.

Will I be forced to sell my home to pay care home fees?

If you own your own home then your assets will most certainly exceed the £23,250 threshold and once your liquid assets are exhausted then your home is under threat. However, there are number of caveats and provisions that can defer or prevent the sale of your home.

The value of your home is completely ignored:

  • for the first 12 weeks of a person entering a care home
  • if your spouse or partner still lives there
  • if any relative aged 60 or more and is disabled lives there
  • if a younger person or an older non-relative lives there (discretionary)

If there is no way to get the value of your home excluded then you can still defer your care home costs. Local authorities are obliged to a offer a deferred payment scheme where the payments roll up and are paid only when the home is sold - usually on the resident's death. A legal charge will be put on the property but no interest will be charged until 56 days after the resident dies.

Is there any further help available?

Some people may be eligible for benefits to help with the cost of care home fees, and some charities will help if you are genuinely in need.

Disabled people should enquire about grants which may be available for them to adapt their home so they can continue to live there. If you choose this option you will be expected to stay in your home for a minimum number of years thereafter.

For further information visit;

www.age.uk

www.nidirect.gov.uk