Council Funding for Care Homes
If you or a loved one are moving into a care home, we know you’ll be thinking about the cost. It’s a major worry for many people, and the different funding options can be confusing. We’re here to demystify the process for you, and make it as easy as possible for you to understand care home costs at a time when you already have so much on your mind.
There is funding available from local authorities for nursing home care, but the amount you’re entitled to varies from person to person, depending on the amount of capital you have, and where in the country you’re based.
Does the council pay for care homes?
In Scotland, there are standard rates which your local council will contribute towards the cost of care in a home. The standard rate varies depending on how much the person receiving care has in the way of savings, investments and capital.
When thinking about moving to a care home, the local council will look at how much capital the person has. They’ll be entitled to support from the local council if their capital is below the lower limit.
How is capital assessed?
The capital that’s assessed includes:
- Property (although there are some circumstances in which property won’t be included)
- Money held in bank accounts or building society accounts
- Stocks and shares
- National Savings Certificates
- Premium Bonds
- Land owned
Property may not be included in the financial assessment if there will still be someone living in the house, for example a partner or spouse, a disabled relative, or a relative over the age of 60.
Income is also assessed, looking at:
- State pension, pension credit and any other benefits received
- Occupational pensions, personal pension and widow/widower pension
- Attendance allowance and personal independent payment
It’s important to consider any outgoings as well, as the local council will assume that almost all of a person’s income is to go towards the cost of their care home, other than a small personal allowance for things like cigarettes, daily newspapers, and clothing. The current personal allowance as set by the Scottish Government is £27.50 per week.
That means you’ll have to think about whether there are any outstanding debts to be paid, like credit cards, or any ongoing commitments such as a TV licence which need to be cancelled.
In 2020, the lower capital limit in Scotland is £18,000, and the upper capital limit is £28,500.
To be entitled to funding from the council, you must not have capital exceeding the upper limit - if that’s the case, then your nursing home costs will have to be self-funded (other than any entitlement to free personal and nursing care).
However, if this is the case, you may still be entitled to 12-week funding to support you in the short-term whilst you, for example, sell your home, but this is subject to a financial assessment.
If you have capital below the lower limit, you’ll be entitled to help with care home costs from the council, up to the standard rates set.
For the year 2020/21 (from April 6th 2020), the standard rates for those who are entitled to publicly-funded care are:
- £714.90 per week for nursing care
- £614.07 per week for residential care
If you, or the person receiving care, would like to stay in a care home or nursing home that costs more than this, then they may do so - but you’ll have to pay the difference between the cost of the care home and the council’s standard rate. This is known as third-party top ups.
It gets more complicated if your capital is assessed as being between the lower and upper rates. If this is the case, you’ll be subject to something called tariff income. That is, if your capital is between £18,000 and £28,500, you’ll be assessed as though you have an extra £1 a week income for every £250, or part of £250, between the lower and upper limits.
An example of this, as detailed by Care Information Scotland, is as follows:
- If you have a total capital of £24,000, your weekly tariff income figure per week is £24
- This is because you have £6,000 over the lower limit of £18,000
- Divided by £250, this gives 24
- 24 is then multiplied by £1 to give £24
This is then added to any other income, affecting the benefits you’re entitled to by £24 per week.
Depriving yourself of capital
If the person receiving care is assessed as having capital that exceeds the upper limit, it may be tempting to pass on some of the capital, for example, a property, in order to benefit from public funding.
However, this needs to be carefully considered as this could be deemed as ‘deliberate deprivation’, as the financial assessment may look at assets that have been recently transferred to others and it could still be included in the total capital valuation.
Get in touch
If you want to know more about the cost of nursing care, or the cost of dementia care, just get in touchwith us here at Randolph Hill.
We know that care home fees in Scotland can reach up to £2,000 per week. The weekly cost however for one of our standard rooms here at Randolph Hill is between £1,271 and £1,415*, rising to between £1,664 and £1,722 for our range of deluxe rooms. These prices vary depending on the choice of room, but no matter which room you choose, the level of care is consistently high. Other providers charge different fees, both higher and lower.
(*Figure correct as of April 2020 - please contact us and we’ll be able to discuss fees based on individual needs.)
We’re happy to discuss costs for your individual situation and help you to understand what options are available to you and your loved one.