Most people have to pay an amount towards their care as care services in England have never been free.
Your local authority or council may pay some of the required fees and this is decided by ‘means-testing’, which simply means that who pays what depends on need, circumstances and level of care required.
The first step towards receiving care support is to ask your local authority for an assessment of social care needs. The authority will then also carry out an assessment of you/your family member’s circumstances or finances. These assessments will result in what proportion of the fees are paid by your local authority and what proportion will be required from you. Depending on these factors it may mean that you have to pay part or the full cost of care yourself.
At the moment local authorities will not fund your care if you have more than a certain amount in savings and property (sometimes referred to as your capital). They will inform you of the current capital threshold and any ‘care fee caps’ currently in place or planned for the future.
The NHS will fund certain healthcare equipment and is also responsible for care needs; however, this applies when the care needed is mainly healthcare, rather than social care related. The care may be given in a hospital and also be delivered at home. If medical needs are chronic and complex the NHS may fully fund an ongoing package of care.
As we live longer the cost of our care in later life is set to be a long-term commitment and it’s very important to understand your options and alternatives. Seek advice from a qualified, independent financial advisor regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority as they have to adhere to a code of conduct and take shared responsibility for any financial product they recommend.