Paying for care. Should you be? Is it affordable and sustainable? What other help may be available?
Choosing care can be hard enough without discovering at a later date that the cost is not what it seemed, has increased or is not affordable in the longer term. So, where to start? The right care starts with the right advice. 'Care Navigators’ can help you to choose and arrange appropriate care, access support services and get the right assessments. They can make sure you have the right benefits and that you aren’t paying more than you should be or can afford to for your care and support.
People paying for their own care often make decisions with little time or previous knowledge of the 'system'. A few of the common questions are: Can I keep the house? Can I move or give my spouse or children my house or savings? What choices do I have? Should I be paying, is there any help? What if my money runs out?
Whether making plans to provide for a loved one or yourself, it is important for long term affordability, that you get the right advice before life changing decisions are made.
If you are not eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare funding and have over the Local Authority Charging upper funding level of £23’250 then you may be paying for your own care using one or any combination of these options:
Care Fee Plan/Annuity
Before choosing and self-funding your care or care for a loved one and possibly reducing your wealth for care and support that may not be appropriate we would advise a ‘Funding Care Check’ from one of our members as you may;
not be responsible for the cost of care
have other care and funding options to consider
have future, dependents, legal or legacy arrangements to consider.
Moving, Renting, Selling, Downsizing… While it is your main and only home or the home of those closest to you, your property will often not be taken into account during a means test and if the NHS is responsible for your care costs it will not be considered an asset either.
Before making potentially life changing decisions with what may be your main or only asset a Funding Care Check done by one of our members can ensure that the ways to pay have been fully considered and if you are using your own funds to pay for care, whether it is for you or a loved one, advice is really important to make sure you aren’t paying more than you can afford or should be for the support you receive to avoid a move later on.
If you are responsible for your own care costs or have chosen to pay for ‘Posh Care’, more care or luxury services with a ‘top up’ then you may be considering using the equity in your home to pay for it. While you are living at home and over a certain age there may be two main types of equity release product available to you;
Home Reversion - you sell part or all of your home in return for a lump sum or regular payments.
Lifetime Mortgage – a mortgage is secured on your property but you retain ownership.
Please take the time to consider all of the options available to you.
Selling your home
Often when people move into a care home they believe that they will have to sell their home or be ‘forced’ to sell. Selling your home may seem very final and it is your choice. Take your time and seek advice before making any hasty, ill informed decisions as there may be options for example a Deferred Payment Agreement with the Local Authority or renting your property.
If a move has been decided then it may be worth considering all of the options which may include moving in with family, a home share scheme or shared lives agreement, down-sizing or moving to a more appropriate type of property.
Renting may be your preferred option but often there are questions about how the rental income will be taken into account for a means test or how a shortfall between your income and cost of care could be met or what are the tax implications...
Care Fee Annuity
An immediate needs annuity, care fee annuity or care fee plan is an insurance product designed to cover the shortfall between your income and the cost of your care for the rest of your life. Paid to a care provider it can have tax benefits and can be arranged to begin with immediate effect or be deferred for an agreed period.
You may wish to contribute towards a loved one’s care, a ‘top up’ of a Local Authority agreed amount or ‘up front’ payments recovered later. A shortfall between an amount agreed by a Local Authority or NHS may not cover your preferred care cost but there are rules that a Local Authority and the NHS must follow and choice of accommodation is a legal requirement. Seek further advice before offering or agreeing to make a ‘top up’ of either your own care or care for a loved one.