Funding elderly care and later life can be complex, expensive and unpredictable, particularly as needs change. This Guide includes a brief introduction to all the care funding options available. It also includes information on local authority assessments which are critical to determine the care and support needed and how it may or may not be funded.
Funding for care at home or in a care home
Access to funding for later life and care whether at home or in a care home is essentially means tested – and in England if your parents or relatives have more than £23,500 (excluding the value of the home), then they will likely be funding their own care. With assets between £14,000 – £23,500 and the state/local authority will contribute to care costs.
Sources of funding
There is funding available through various sources: the state – through the benefits system; through the local authority – which is responsible for the delivery of social care in it’s area: and the NHS which does provide nursing/medical funding at home or in a care home. But, its complicated!
There is some care funding available which is not means tested, but based on health/social need – such as Attendance Allowance, Personal Independent Payments, through the benefits system, and NHS Continuing and Intermediate care from the NHS. Even if your family are “self funders” – ie paying for their own care – these are well worth pursuing. Beware the paperwork.
Please take advice whichever route you are taking. There are lots of organisations that can help. You might want to choose a financial adviser with expertise in this area, so we would suggest that you look for an accredited Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA) practitioner from their website.
Below we outline the main sources of local authority/state funding available.
Attendance Allowance – This is for people over 65 who need help with social (personal) care – washing, dressing or eating- due to an illness or disability. It is available for those who need to be looked after by day, and/or overnight in case help is needed.
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) – for anyone aged over 68 in 2015, re-named as Personal Independent Payments (PIPs) for anyone under 68, these can help with some of the extra costs of personal care or mobility due to a long-term illness or disability
NHS Continuing Care – NHS Continuing Care is care that is arranged and funded by the NHS free of charge outside of hospital. It is available for people who need ongoing healthcare and meet certain criteria; all care costs will be met by The NHS, but it is incredibly difficult to be eligible for;
NHS Intermediate Care – NHS intermediate care is free temporary care at home for 6 weeks following a stay in hospital, or to enable the person being cared for to stay at home following an emergency breakdown in care services.
Local authority grants – Can be given if you need assistance at home with daily living and your individual financial assets fall under a set amount.
Carer’s Allowance – If you care for someone and meet some strict criteria then you may be eligible for a carer’s allowance.
Carer’s Credit – You can also earn Carer’s credits to help with the financial issues that may come with being a carer.
Constant Attendant Allowance – available for those with a war pension or suffering as a result of an industrial accident
Local authority payment – This can be used to also help for funding a residential care home, it is a means tested payment service, and dependent upon a financial assessment of individual assets.
Attendance allowance – If there is no Local Authority or NHS funding contribution then you may be eligible for attendance allowance funding.
NHS funded nursing care – As the title suggests, you can receive nursing care which is funded based upon what your care needs are.
If you and your parents are funding your own care, then using assets and investments are options; there are many different schemes, the main options outlined below. Please take independent advice.
The all important first step to receive care, funded or otherwise is Getting your parents needs and finances assessed – our guide outlines why assessments are a good idea, how to get one, and what happens once you’ve got one. Even if your parents are self-funding, it is so important for them to have an assessment: if they have social care/health needs they will be assigned a social worker, and given support with their needs, which may of course change over time.