How to Avoid Care Fees

How to Avoid Care Fees

Moving into a care home is stressful enough, but worrying about how you’ll pay for your care can make it even worse. In general, if you live in the United Kingdom, you can receive free medical care through the NHS. If you need to move into a care home or nursing home, you must pay for your own care. Unfortunately, unless you meet the strict means test for assistance from your local authority, there is no real way to avoid paying care fees.

Method 1 Qualifying for Local Authority Funding

1. Check to see if you are eligible for NHS funding. If you are disabled or have a medical condition that necessitates long-term care, the NHS will provide you with ongoing care. This care can be provided in a hospice, a care home, or in the comfort of your own home. If you qualify, your care will be provided at no cost.

The NHS continuing care guidelines are extremely strict, and the vast majority of people do not qualify. For example, if you are elderly and have difficulty keeping up with things in general, you are unlikely to qualify.

You may be eligible if you have a physical or mental disability, a chronic medical condition, or a terminal illness. Request that your doctor schedule an evaluation for you. This is the only way to learn if you are eligible.

2. Add up all of your savings and assets. If your total savings and assets exceed a certain amount, you will be required to pay your own care fees. This is also known as the means test. The amount varies depending on where you live and is updated on a regular basis.

The maximum savings and asset threshold for 2018-19 is £23,250 if you live in England or Northern Ireland, and £27,250 if you live in Scotland. If you live in Wales, the maximum threshold for in-home care is £24,000, or £40,000 if you need to move to a care home or nursing home.

3. Contact your local government’s social services department. Even if your savings and assets exceed the limit, you may still be eligible for some services and assistance. This is determined by your medical needs as well as the resources available to your local government.

If you live in England or Wales, you can find your local authority’s social services department by entering your postal code at https://www.gov.uk/apply-needs-assessment-social-services.

Click on the name of your local area to find your local authority (council) in Scotland at http://www.careinfoscotland.scot/find-my-council/.

If you live in Northern Ireland, go to https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/contacts/health-and-social-care-trusts to find the Health and Social Care Trust that is closest to you.

4. Complete a needs analysis. Your needs assessment is a brief written description of the care you require in light of any disabilities or medical conditions you may have. You can do this yourself, have a family member who cares for you do it, or get a full needs assessment from your local authority’s social worker.

You will be asked a few questions to determine your basic situation if you have your local authority conduct the needs assessment. The person who performs the assessment could be a nurse, a social worker, or an occupational therapist – whichever is most appropriate for you.

Even if you believe you can complete a self-assessment, it may be worthwhile to have your local authority conduct a full needs assessment. The evaluation will be more thorough, and you may discover free assistance that you were unaware of.

5. Determine your contribution to care fees. Following the completion of your needs assessment, the local authority will review financial documents and information provided by you in order to conduct a financial assessment. The local authority will determine how much money you have to pay for your own care based on the results of this assessment.

If your savings and assets fall below the means test, the local government will pay for your care. The care you receive will be determined by the results of your needs assessment.

Even if your savings and assets exceed the threshold, you may be eligible for partial assistance from the local government. Depending on the resources available to your local authority, you may also be eligible for other programmes such as meal delivery or home assistance.

Method 2 Entering a Deferred Payment Scheme

1. Stay in the nursing home for a minimum of 12 weeks. After 12 weeks in a care home, you are eligible to apply to your local authority for a deferred payment scheme. Your local government provides you with a loan to pay for your care fees through a deferred payment scheme.

Deferred payment plans are available for both residential care homes and nursing homes. You cannot, however, use a deferred payment scheme to cover the cost of your care if you receive in-home care in your own home.

If you don’t need the scheme right away, you can have it start at a later date.

2. Apply for a deferred payment plan. For an application, contact your local government. If you are unable to travel, a social worker will come to you. If you own a home, contact the local authority where you live rather than the one where you are receiving care (if they are different).

If you live in England or Wales, go to https://www.gov.uk/apply-needs-assessment-social-services to find your local authority.

If you live in Scotland, go to http://www.careinfoscotland.scot/find-my-council/ to find your local authority (council).

The Health and Social Care Trusts are in charge of deferred payment schemes in Northern Ireland. For contact information, go to https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/contacts/health-and-social-care-trusts.

3. Give your local government financial information. The local government will assess your savings and assets to see if you qualify for a deferred payment scheme. Depending on your personal financial situation, you may be charged interest on the scheme.

A deferred payment plan can be combined with a plan to rent out your property. You must, however, notify the local authorities and obtain permission.

4. Examine the terms that have been presented to you. The local government will make you an offer after reviewing your finances. The local government has broad authority to charge interest or other fees for the privilege of participating in a deferred payment scheme.

If you don’t understand the scheme’s terms, ask for clarification. Don’t agree to the scheme unless you completely understand it.

5. Talk to your family about the deferred payment plan. Participating in a deferred payment plan may reduce the value of your property or any inheritance you intend to leave to family members. Your family should understand how much money is involved and when it must be paid to the local government.

If you die before repaying the loan, any remaining balance must be paid within 90 days of your death. Make certain that if this occurs, you will not be leaving your family in dire financial straits.

Entering into a deferred payment plan can help you reduce the size of your inheritance. If you want to leave your home or other assets to family members, a deferred payment plan may not be the best way for you to pay for your care fees.

6. To participate in the scheme, you must complete the necessary paperwork. You’ll have to fill out and sign forms, just like with any loan, before you’re officially enrolled in the scheme. After you enrol in the scheme, the local government will pay all or part of your care fees.

Unless you leave the care home or sell your home, you are not obligated to make any payments. If you sell your home before leaving the care home, or if you leave the care home and return home, you must repay all outstanding debts within 56 days.

Method 3 Dealing with Property if You Own Your Home

1. Make an estimate of the cost of your long-term care. If you do not qualify for local government assistance, you may be able to use your home to cover your expenses. You won’t have to sell your home to cover your care costs if you rent it out or get an equity release.

Consider how long you’re likely to require medical attention. This is something your doctor can assist you with. Examine your medical prognosis to see if you’ll likely recover and be able to care for yourself after some time.

Care costs vary greatly depending on where you live and the level of care you require.

The online calculator at https://www.payingforcare.org/calculators/residential-care-costs/ can help you estimate your care costs.

2. Check to see if renting is the best option for you. In general, renting out your home is a good idea if no other family members will be living there and you have trusted friends or family members to help manage the rental property. If you have well-kept property in a desirable location, you will be able to charge a higher rent.

You can hire a property management company if you don’t have a trusted friend or family member nearby to help you manage the property. You will, however, be required to pay a fee to the company as well as cover any costs incurred.

If you have a residential mortgage on your property, you will need to refinance it as a “buy to let” mortgage, which will most likely be more expensive. You should also consider getting landlord insurance.

Any income you earn from renting out your home is taxable, even if you use it entirely to pay for your care fees.

3. Determine how much equity you have in your home. You take out what amounts to a second mortgage on your home with an equity release. Your home’s equity serves as collateral for the mortgage. You won’t have to make any mortgage payments until you sell your home or die. You can use the mortgage proceeds to pay for your child’s care.

In general, you should avoid releasing more equity than is required to cover your care costs. If you have a mortgage on your home, the equity available is limited to the amount you still owe on the mortgage.

Find out how much equity you have in your home by contacting your mortgage company. If you don’t have a mortgage on your home, have it appraised to see how much it’s worth.

4. Consult with close family members about your property options. You can keep your home if you rent or use equity release. An equity release, on the other hand, may significantly reduce the amount of inheritance you leave for family. Make certain that anyone who may be impacted by your decisions understands the implications of using these methods to pay for your care.

If an equity release does not fully cover your estimated care costs, you can rent out your home for extra cash.

If the combination of rent and savings would cover your care costs, at least in the short term, you may want to postpone getting an equity release until later. The longer you wait to obtain an equity release, the better the rates and terms.

5. To find an equity release loan, speak with an equity release advisor. An equity release advisor (or specialist) will assist you in obtaining the equity release that is best suited to your needs. They fight for your rights and look out for your best interests. They can also assist you in determining how much an equity release scheme would cost you.

A list of reputable equity release specialists can be found at https://ukcareguide.co.uk/directorycategory/equity-release/. You may want to interview more than one specialist in order to find the one who you believe will be the best fit for you.

These loans are offered at various rates and terms by equity release companies. Your equity release advisor will go over the terms of each offer with you and assist you in evaluating them in order to select the best offer for you.

The process of releasing equity is similar to that of any other mortgage. A set-up fee, which can be several thousand pounds, is typically charged by equity release schemes. This fee is due when you sign the scheme’s paperwork.

6. Hire a local real estate agent to assist you with the rental process. A reputable property agent with local knowledge can properly assess the rental value of your home and assist you in obtaining the best rate. Begin your search for a real estate agent by asking your neighbours, friends, and family if they have any recommendations.

Go to http://www.arla.co.uk/ and click on “Find an Expert” at the top of the page to find reputable letting agents.

7. Before you rent a house, make a reservation at a nursing home. Many nursing homes have waiting lists for available spaces, so you may not be able to move in right away. Find a care home that offers the services you require using the NHS directory, and tour the facilities at least once before making your final decision.

To begin your search, go to https://www.nhs.uk/Service-Search/Care-Home-Without-Nursing/LocationSearch/1832. If you are looking for a nursing home, select the appropriate tab to begin your search.

You should also allow time for your belongings to be sorted before the renters arrive. You might need to rent a storage unit or leave valuables with a trusted friend or family member.

Creative Commons License