This page should help you access funding and also give you an understanding of how the government gauge an individual’s responsibility to their care needs. Unfortunately Social Care in England and Wales is not covered by National Insurance so can come at a price however funding has, on the whole increased for the Service User over the last few years.
When looking for care for either yourself or a loved one it can be tricky figuring out how the Health and Social Care system works and also finding what funding could be available to you. We will try to address some of the more common questions and issues that arise when looking into social care for the first time however it is quite a large topic and we won’t be able to cover it all here but will put in links to other sites for a more complete view.
Who should I contact first?
The first thing to do when you have decided you or a loved one needs some help is to apply for a Needs Assessment which you can do through the government website or phone your local Social Services and ask them for a needs assessment, at which point you will be allocated a Social Worker to manage your case. If the person requiring care is in hospital you can ask the nurses to arrange this for you as there are Social Workers on site as well. Social Services will help even if you are not entitled to any funding through a means test, so always a good first port of call.
Types of funding
Before going too far into the details of state funded care it is worth mentioning the different ways of paying for social care. Before a local authority allocates any money to someone’s care they will carry out a Financial Assessment (Means Test) and depending on the outcome allocate funding, ranging from fully funded care to no funding at all.
- Privately Funded – This is where a client or a member of the client’s family pay a home care provider directly. Funding from government is not usually available in these situations due to either funding already being in place for a different package of care or the Financial Assessment has found the clients savings and assets to be above the threshold for funding. Some of the positives to Privately Funded care are the client will usually see an increased ability to handle their own care package on an ad-hock basis and also have more flexibility with when and what they would like to do with the care time they are paying for. (This can also be handled by a Power of Attorney, e.g. a relative or solicitor.)
- Direct Payments – Everyone in England and Wales that receives any amount of funding for their care is entitled to have the money transferred directly to their own bank account, a power of attorney’s bank account or a managed bank account. This offers a sort of best of both worlds scenario where you can still receive government funding but also maintain the flexibility of privately funded care. You can find out more about direct payments on the NHS website.
- Free Crisis Care – When a patient is discharged from hospital the social services team in that hospital will sometimes place the client on a 6 week Free Crisis Care contract. This is only a temporary source of funding however applies to everyone no matter what the individuals financial circumstances are.
- Local Authority Funding – This is when you enter directly into a contract with your county council, they have control over which care agency you go to and any money you pay will be paid to them and not the care provider. The down side to this is you have less control over your care and also more stringent rules around cancelling care calls usually requiring 7 days notice period. Any funding you are entitled to will be deducted from your bill. Again this can be arranged through your Social Worker or local adult services.
How much funding are you entitled to?
The funding that you or loved one can receive is greatly influenced by capital and income, while this are not the only factors your financial assessment is based on, it is a good indication of how much funding you may be entitled to.
- £23,250 or more if you have this amount of money in the bank you are liable to pay for all your care costs and no extra funding will be available.
- Between £14,250 – 23,250 At this point you will have to make a contribution to the cost of your care either by a discounted bill from your local authority or a reduced Direct Payment contribution, either way you will be paying the same so it doesn’t really matter which route you want to take. The amount of funding allocated to you will be directly related to how much money you have between these two figures.
- Below £14,250 your or the family member in question are eligible for full support and will not have to pay for care.
Be aware that the guidelines above are only related to Care at Home, Residential Care has its own set of rules that take into account the value of the client’s home as well. For more information on Care at Home funding please visit he government website, phone your local social services and of course phone Lillyfields Care who are always happy to help free of charge.