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Care home fees – answers to frequently asked questions.
Q: When will the Local Authority pay for my care?
A: The Local Authority will start to help you with your fees when you assets get below £23,250. At this point, they will complete a financial assessment to work out how much you will be required to contribute towards your care.
Q: Do I have to sell my home to pay for care home fees if I am only there temporarily?
A: If you move into a care home on a temporary or short term basis then your home will not be included in your financial assessment.
Q: Do I have to sell my home for care home fees if my partner remains living there?
A: If you move into a care home on a permanent basis and your partner remains living there it will not be included in your financial assessment, there are also some other circumstances where the property may be disregarded.
Q: Do I have to sell my home for care home fees if it is empty?
A: For your first 12 weeks in a care home your property will be disregarded to give you time to consider your options and following this your property is likely to be included in your financial assessment. You could enter into a deferred payment arrangement with the council if you do not wish to sell your property.
Q: Can I give my property away so I don’t have to sell it for care home fees?
A: There is a high risk that if you do this it will count as a deliberate deprivation of assets and that you will have to pay the same level of care fees as if you still owned your home.
Q: What is a deprivation of assets?
A: This is when someone intentionally reduces their assets so that they cannot be used to pay for care home fees or included in a financial assessment for care home fees.
Q: What counts as a deprivation of assets?
A: There are two things that need to be satisfied. 1. You must have known at the time you got rid of your property or money that you needed or may need care. 2. Avoiding paying for your care must have been a reason for giving away your home/assets.
Q: What happens if I gave away my money or home a really long time ago?
A: Timing is important as the council will consider if at the time you gave away your assets you could have reasonably expected that you would need care and support. The council will make their decision on all of the facts available- this can always be challenged.
Q: What is a deferred payment arrangement/scheme?
A: This allows you to keep your home and usually a legal charge is put on your property which will then pay for your care at later date, either when you pass away and your property is sold or in the meantime while your property is being sold.
Q: How can a deferred payment arrangement be entered into if the person receiving care has lost capacity?
A: If the person receiving care has lost capacity and cannot agree to the deferred payment arrangement then someone who has authority to act on your behalf can do so. This can be your Attorney or Deputy.
Q: Can I be paid for looking after a family member who has lost capacity?
A: There are lots of factors that will need to be taken into consideration but if you are the Attorney or Deputy then you will not be able to pay yourself for caring for them and an application to the Court of Protection will need to be made for authority to do this. However, if a professional is acting at Attorney or Deputy, in most circumstances, they do not need authority to authorise payments to a family member for care.
Q: What is a third party top up?
A: If someone is funded by the Local Authority, it is likely that the Local Authority is paying the care home less that their standard rates. Therefore, the care home may ask family members or close friends to make the care fees up to their standard rate by paying the care home the difference between what the Local Authority are paying and what the care home would usually charge.
Q: Do I have to pay a third party top up?
A: No, there is no requirement for you to pay a third party top up. There is a chance that the care home will not accept the Local Authority rates alone and therefore your loved one may have to move to alternative care that will accept the Local Authority rates. If you are considering entering into a third party top up agreement, you should seek legal and financial advice first.
For answers to your specific questions, give us a call – our team are here to help.