What is local authority funding? How do you access funding for care? From experience, the Grace Care Advice Team know that this is an area that is often misunderstood. Here’s some handy pointers to help guide you should you or a relative need care.
Care home facts and figures
Nearly 400,000¹ individuals in the United Kingdom reside in care homes. Roughly 37% of these individuals are self-funders, meaning they pay for their care out of their own pockets, with 63% of residents considered state-funded residents receiving funding from their local authority.
Local authority funding – what are the rules?
The decision on whether the local authority might be involved in the funding of someone’s care in England is based on whether their savings are over or under £23,250². At Grace, we often find that people are under the misconception that when their savings reach this figure the local authority will fully fund their care, but this is not the case.
In most cases, people are expected to contribute towards their care even if their savings are under this figure and in fact although the decision on whether the local authority might help out is based on savings, when the council is working out how much a person should contribute him or herself they also take into account the individual’s income.
This can still lead to a person not receiving a contribution from the local authority if the personal budget set by the council for the person’s level of care need is less than the amount the individual is assessed as needing to contribute, particularly if the package of care required is minimal, because the individual’s contribution usually remains the same no matter how much care they require.
What funds are protected?
The Care Act does ensure that a person can keep £14,250 of their savings and where they are living at home an individual must continue to receive an income no lower than a government set guaranteed amount.
What about my partner or spouse?
To ensure that a person’s contribution is not more than it should be, only his or her own savings and income should be included in the assessment and where the individual has a joint account with their partner or spouse only 50% should be included in the assessment.
Disability benefits and disability related expenses
It is of course sensible for a person to ensure that they are receiving any disability benefits that they are eligible for and that they deduct reasonable disability related expenses when completing the financial assessment.
Reasonable disability related expenses are expenses resulting from increased frailty or disability, which could include the weekly pendant alarm fee, increased laundry costs, a need to introduce a cleaner, gardener or someone to do the shopping or take the dog for a walk, a need to take taxis for essential journeys, as well as costs of equipment or adaptations such as a stairlift or wheelchair.
Local authority decision making – the care needs assessment and financial assessment
Following completion of a care needs assessment and financial assessment the local authority should confirm in writing their decision regarding how much the individual’s contribution will be, how much the personal budget is and how much they will contribute. The council can of course only do their calculations based on the information they have been given, so if you disagree with the result do go back to them.
It’s important to get this right, so if you do need to find out more you can call your local adult social care team or make an appointment with a Grace Care Adviser who will make sure you have all the necessary information.
² A small number of local authorities set a higher limit
Grace Consulting are the UK’s founding providers of expert independent advice on elderly care advice, special needs advice and neurodiversity advice. Independence and client wellbeing are at the heart of everything we do. We listen, reassure and advise you on how to move forwards and find the best possible solutions for your unique life challenges.