Do I have to sell my home to pay for care?

    Do I have to sell my home to pay for care?

    Before answering any questions Social Services ask you about your ability to fund your own care, it is important that you are correctly assessed for your care needs.

    The starting point should always be the care assessment. For Continuing Healthcare (CHC), this begins with the initial Checklist. Once it is established that your needs are not primarily healthcare needs and that your care is social care, your ability to pay for care will be worked out through a means test.

    Read more: Care home fees: How can you afford it?

    Your home will not be included if you're arranging care and support at home and may not be included if you live with a partner, child, or a relative who is disabled or over the age of 60.

    At present, the capital threshold is £23,250 and above this will mean that you are likely to have to pay your own care fees. If your capital is under £23,250 you might get some help from the Local Authority but you may still need to contribute towards the fees.

    How is my ability to fund my care assessed?

    The local authority will carry out a financial assessment of your income and capital. Savings, property and income, such as pension and the benefits you are entitled to, will be taken into consideration. If you are claiming the motability component of Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment this should not be counted.

    Disability Living Allowance (DLA) - this is gradually being replaced by Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and is the equivalent of Attendance Allowance for people with care and attention needs who are under 65.

    Personal Independence Payment (PIP) - If you’re aged 16 to 64 you could get between £22.65 and £145.35 a week by claiming PIP. This replaces DLA but you will continue getting DLA until the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) invites you to apply for PIP. You do not need to do anything until DWP writes to you about your DLA unless your circumstances change.

    If you are found eligible for Local Authority assistance you will no longer be entitled to the care component of these benefits and if in receipt of Attendance Allowance, this will cease.

    Attendance Allowance - payable to a person funding their own care at home or in a care home. You must be 65 or over and have care and attention needs. There is a lower and a higher rate depending on your assessed needs.

    Will the Local Authority take my home into consideration?

    If you only require temporary or intermediate care, your home won’t be included in any financial assessment. If you do require full time care but are remaining in your own home then, again, the value of your home will not be included.

    Where you need to move permanently to a care home there are certain conditions where your home will not be included in any financial assessment and will be disregarded.

    Where the property has been continuously occupied since before the person went into a care home by:

    • your partner or former partner, unless they are estranged from you
    • your estranged or divorced partner if they are also a lone parent
    • a relative who is aged 60 or over
    • a child of yours aged under 18
    • a relative who is disabled

    your home should not be taken into account and should be formally disregarded.

    In any case, in the first 12 weeks of any admission to permanent care the value of the home must be ignored. This disregard can apply long after the original admission date if the initial admission was temporary and should be applied for 12 weeks when the resident has used up other ‘liquid’ assets but before the value of their home is taken into account.

    What do I do if I do not meet the criteria for my home to be disregarded and I do not wish to sell my home?

    It may be appropriate to enter a Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA) where the Local Authority cannot disregard your home and you lack sufficient income and savings to pay for your own care.

    The Care Act 2014 introduced a mandatory universal DPA scheme from April 2015 and allows the Local Authority to place a Legal Charge against the property to release funds to pay for care. This may be a way forward to prevent the immediate sale of the family home, however it is important to bear in mind that this is a loan agreement and care fees would need to be reimbursed from your estate on death.

    This may work when the property is empty and can be rented out to generate an income but it is important to remember that a loan funding arrangement can create an added burden upon the family when dealing with the estate.

    Do you need help and advice with funding issues?

    To find out whether you may be eligible for funding, please do not hesitate to contact our team who will be happy to help.

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