6th July 2017Category: Working Carers
Entering the world of social care can be confusing especially if you are unsure about what the costs could be. It is important to have an understanding of the costs before you, or the person you care for, needs support. If not it could be an unpleasant surprise.
If the person you care for requires social care and support they are entitled to have an Adult Social Care needs assessment. To meet the eligibility criteria for services, not being able to achieve certain outcomes in your daily life must be deemed to be having a significant impact on your wellbeing. In the assessment your needs are identified. As well as this assessment there is a financial assessment. This looks at their personal finances including income (such as benefits, wages) capital (savings and property), and any allowances that can be made. The financial assessment looks at how much they can afford to contribute towards the costs of care.
Even if the person you care for chooses not to apply for financial support, it can be beneficial to get a needs assessment because it will help you to become aware of their needs. It could also be important in the future if your relative’s needs should change. The assessment is free and will give them a good idea of what type of help is needed, together with what is available in the local area. The cost of care will depend on the level of support they need and where they live. There are certain services such as reablement which are free for everyone.
There are two circumstances when the person you care for has to pay and arrange for their care:
* These figures are set by the Department of Health and can change annually. With social care needs and costs it is important to be refer to Adults Social Care for the most up-to-date facts and figures.
If you are assessed as having eligible needs but are deemed to be a self-funder because you have a high income or more than £23,250 in available capital following your means test, you can still request to have your needs met. Adult Social Care must agree to your request, but can charge an arrangement fee. The statutory guidance requires the fee to cover only the costs that Adult Social Care actually incur when arranging your care. They can take account of the cost of negotiating and/or managing your contract with a service provider and cover any administration costs incurred. Statutory guidance advises creating written agreements to avoid disputes about future funding liabilities. If you are deemed to be a self-funder with eligible needs and do not make this request, you are expected to meet your own needs if you can, or if you have support to do this. If you have excessive difficulty, lack mental capacity and do not have support, Adult Social Care has a duty to assist you.
With the capital limit of £23,250 this does not count the value of the house of the person you care for whilst they are living in it. However, if they own the property and are not living in it (e.g. moved into a residential home permanently) then they will count the value of this as savings. The house does not count if a member of the family, spouse or dependent is still living in the house or it is a temporary respite at a residential care home.
If the person you care for is a self-funder it is important to check that they are receiving all the benefits and allowances that they are entitled to. They can help them with living expenses. They are not means-tested, they are based on their ability to carry out daily tasks. People who are funding they own residential care may still be able to claim these.
Funding can get more complication if the person you care for has significant health needs (different to social care needs). If they have an illness or a condition where health is the primary need such as specialist medical equipment, nursing staff to attend regularly and so on. It might mean that the NHS will contribute to the funding. Details of this can be found via this link: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/social-care-and-support-guide/Pages/nhs-continuing-care.aspx