The prospect of high costs can sometimes put people off planning home care for their loved ones, which can lead to financial struggles at the time when things need to run most smoothly. There are actually are a range of funding options out there, though not all of them are common knowledge. At Adelfi we provide the same high quality of care for clients from all kinds of financial backgrounds, so we’d like to make things easier for you by demystifying the funding process. In many cases, the earlier you begin making arrangements, the more likely you are to have funding secured when the time for home care comes.
If you’ve come to this page wondering how much care you or a loved one may need and how much this will cost, it may be useful to ask the social services at your local council for a needs assessment. This is a free service that can help you to make decisions about your funding options, and will also determine how much financial support you could receive from local authorities.
Once you know what kind of home care you need, the next step is to work out how you will be paying for it. There are some excellent opportunities that you may not be aware of, and some schemes that should be entered into cautiously. This guide will cover the following options:
● Private funding
● Relevant welfare benefits
● Personal budget: Direct payments
● Personal budget: Controlled by social services
● Personal budget: Mix and match
● NHS continuing healthcare
● Immediate needs annuity
● Deferred needs annuity
● Charity grants
If you have a comfortable amount of savings you may choose to pay directly for care services, or you may be required to, as most avenues of funding support are means-tested. This means that you won’t be able to access them if you have savings above a certain threshold. Any schemes that are related to the UK government, including council and NHS funding, have the same threshold - £23,250.
It’s not only money in your bank account that counts as savings for this purpose. It also includes ongoing earnings, pensions, benefits, and property. If you are unsure how much this all adds up to, the council will arrange a free financial assessment to work out what funding support you may be entitled to. It’s important to be aware that there are rules preventing people from accessing funding if it’s proven that they’ve recently given away money or property in order to reduce their savings.
If you are privately funding your care and your savings are due to drop below the threshold amount, you can ask the council to reassess your finances. It’s recommended to contact them a few months before this happens so they have time to carry out an assessment and set up other arrangements.
You may have heard that you will need to pay for care privately if you own your own property. This is true for those moving into a care home, but not if you are receiving home care. This means that if you own your home and your savings are worth less than £23,250, you can still apply for funding support.
The cost of care will depend on the type of service you need and how frequently you’ll need to be supported. If you’re self-funding home care then you don’t need to stick to recommendations from the council’s need assessment. This means you could choose to have carers visit you more frequently to provide a little extra help and company.
Relevant Welfare Benefits
You can use money received from benefits to pay for your care, which can be particularly helpful if you need to self-fund all or part of it. There are specialised benefits available to support with healthcare, such as the Attendance Allowance and Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
The Attendance Allowance is specifically designed for people over state pension age who need support to stay independent at home, such as personal care. PIP is available for people under state pension age and can go towards any costs associated with disability or long-term illness.
Both of these benefits are needs-tested rather than means-tested, which means that your savings and other finances won’t be taken into account. Your needs and how much money you receive will be assessed through various forms and sometimes meetings with healthcare professionals will be required.
Personal Budget: Direct Payments
If you have a financial assessment from your local council which shows you are eligible for funding support, they will allocate a Personal Budget to you. The amount of this budget is based on the findings of your needs assessment, where the council determines the best care plan for you, how much it will cost, and what you will be able to pay towards it yourself.
The budget can be sent to you to manage yourself, which is known as the direct payments method. This could be wherever you usually keep your money such as a bank account, or you can receive a pre-paid card reserved for this purpose. You can also allocate a trusted person to receive your direct payments in your stead, such as a family member or an advocate. To make sure your money gets spent in the right way, you may be asked to complete a decision-making agreement for your allocated person to sign.
Direct payments are widely considered to be the best option as they give you control over the care you receive. This means you can choose your provider, ensuring consistent care from a trustworthy team like ours at Adelfi Care. You also have the flexibility to pay for extra care from your own savings or earnings, if you would like some additional support.
When your direct payments are set up, the council will let you know what information they need to make sure their money is going towards your care plan. This usually includes a check in every three months, where you will be asked for records such as receipts.
Personal Budget: Controlled by Social Services
This is an option for people who may have difficulties managing their own money, and don’t have a trusted person who can receive direct payments for them. The council will instead be in charge of the money and how it is spent.
This usually means that the council decides who your care provider will be and sets up arrangements for them to deliver the support agreed in your care plan. They still have a responsibility to ensure that you’re happy with the care, but ultimately they are in charge of where your personal budget is spent.
You can also ask the council to send payments directly to a care provider of your choice, though some companies charge a fee for arranging this due to the reduced rates paid by councils and extra administration needed.
Personal Budget: Mix and Match
It’s possible to receive some of your budget as direct payments, while the rest is managed by the local council. This can be useful if there are certain types of care that you would like to have control over, but others that you have less specific needs for. For example, you may want to choose a provider that can ensure the same team attends to your personal care needs, but not mind so much about less intimate tasks.
NHS Continuing Healthcare
This funding option is needs assessed, which means your financial status won’t affect whether you can receive it. However, there are specific requirements that must be met, and these can often be quite confusing. Essentially, the recipient must have “primary health needs” that exceed what social services can reasonably be expected to fund, and therefore the NHS is responsible for their care. This may be the case if you need home care help for a specific health condition, rather than more general social or personal care.
Applications for this financial support are made by healthcare professionals directly to local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). Patients can’t apply for themselves, but anyone can ask a professional to do so on their behalf. Though any registered doctor, nurse, or social worker is qualified to make this referral, not all of them are aware of the process or how to accurately fill out the application. Therefore, if you think you may be eligible for NHS continuing healthcare support, it’s a really good idea to get support from the charity Beacon. They provide clear advice on the whole process from getting an assessment to arranging care with the funds.
If you are approved for this funding, you will be offered a healthcare budget. This is like the personal budget you may receive from a local authority, as you can choose to receive it through direct payments or ask the NHS to pay your care provider directly. Even if you choose the latter, you should still be consulted about your personal preference for care, and this will be honoured as long as it is cost effective and meets your agreed care plan. If you are already receiving care funded privately or by the council, you will usually be able to keep your preferred arrangements or request a change to somewhere more suitable.
Immediate Needs Annuity
This is sometimes also referred to as an ‘immediate need care fee payment plan’. It is a type of policy taken out with an insurance company to provide you with ongoing income for care. It involves paying a lump sum upfront, which varies by company and is also decided by factors such as your age, the amount of regular income you’ll need, and the length of time you will need it for.
Once you have paid this sum, you will receive regular payments to put towards your care. In many cases, you can arrange for the insurance company to pay your care provider directly so you don’t need to personally manage the money.
This option is popular for those who would need to privately fund home care and have enough capital to pay the lump sum, as it often ensures care for the rest of your life. If you only need care for a short amount of time then it isn’t usually a worthwhile investment. Before purchasing an annuity plan it’s worth shopping around or getting advice from a relevant charity, as the costs can vary massively.
Deferred Needs Annuity
This works on the same principle as an immediate needs annuity, where you pay an upfront sum to receive a regular income towards your care. However, a deferred plan is for those who don’t need the support right now but would like to prepare for the care they will need in months or years to come.
For one-off situations, there are lots of charities that can offer support for people facing financial difficulties due to disability or medical conditions. You can find these by searching online or asking for help from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau. When allocating funds, charities tend to favour those who are in the greatest need, so it’s worth putting in early applications if you think you may need support further down the line.
Mostly the funding available is offered as short-term grants, so in terms of home care, this could act as a boost to your payment methods when needed. You may be able to preserve your money for care by accessing specialist grants in other areas such as heating bills or assistive technology.
For more information or to ask any further questions you may have, contact us here.