Get clarity on paying for care
With our four-step plan, getting the funding you deserve is easier than you think. Start by using our funding calculator to get clarity on the funding options that are most suited to your situation. Take a few minutes, answer a few details about your care needs and financial situation, and it’ll give you a good idea of where to start. Before you start applying for funding, be sure to read through our four-step plan below.
Our four-step plan to pay for care
When approaching care funding for the first time, it can all feel a bit overwhelming. You may not know where’s best to start. After helping thousands of families with their care funding options, we’ve devised a simple, four-step strategy to getting the money you deserve.
Get the benefits you’re entitled to
These are the simplest ways to maximise income. There is usually very little friction in terms of application, and much more people are eligible than claim. This can help you to afford the care you want.
Billions of pounds go unclaimed each year – make sure you’re not missing out. Key benefits to look at include Attendance Allowance, Pension Credit and council tax rate relief.
Attendance Allowance is for those over State Pension age needing help with personal care because of physical or mental disability. You could receive £59.70-£89.15 per week.
Carer’s Allowance is a benefit for informal carers, to help them manage in their role as a carer. You could receive up to £67.25 per week, depending on other benefits.
Pension Credit is an income-related benefit for people over state pension age, to top-up their weekly income. There are two forms of it – with Guarantee and Savings credit.
Council Tax Reduction
Council Tax Reduction is a benefit to help those on lower incomes, including those over retirement age or those with a disability, to pay their council tax bills.
Winter Fuel Payments
The Winter Fuel Payment is an annual benefit to help those over retirement age, to pay their household heating costs during the colder months.
Cold Weather Payments
The Cold Weather Payment is a benefit to help those on lower incomes to pay their household heating costs, when the temperature drops over winter.
Check your eligibility for NHS funding
NHS funding is the most difficult type of funding to get. However, should you qualify, you’re able to get your full care costs covered – so it’s worth starting with.
To do this, speak with your GP – asking for an NHS Continuing Healthcare Checklist. This is a quick screening test to see whether you’re suitable for a full assessment. With a personal health budget, you’re able to decide how your money is spent.
Continuing Healthcare overview
Continuing Healthcare is a funding stream that covers all your care costs. It’s paid by your local NHS and is available for those who need support with long-term health needs.
This is the first stage in the assessment process to check eligibility for a full assessment, carried out by a doctor, nurse or social worker. Around 62% people pass it.
The full assessment
This is the main assessment for Continuing Healthcare. A multidisciplinary team of health and social care workers will look through 12 care ‘domains’ to assess your eligibility.
The Decision Support Tool
The Decision Support Tool helps assessors come to consistent decisions about who is eligible for funding. They complete it immediately after, or sometimes during, your assessment.
After the assessment
If you’re eligible, a team will work with you to plan your care and support. You’ll have a big say over what it is you receive. For example, you can take control of your funding with a personal health budget.
Access local authority care funding
Most people fund their care with support from their local authority. But this is best to check after you’ve first ruled-out NHS funding, as a referral from the NHS may increase your chances of getting care funding.
This starts with a care needs assessment, then a financial assessment. In England, you’ll be entitled to some care funding if you have less than £23,250 in liquid assets. You can request whatever funding you are entitled to as a direct payment, which puts you in control of how you want to spend it.
Understand the Care Act
The Care Act 2014 is the law that local authorities have to follow. It spells out the eligibility criteria for eligibility, as well as the assessment process all local authorities have to follow.
Care needs assessment
The care needs assessment will tell you exactly what care needs you have and what support is available to you. If you’re entitled to funding from the council, the care needs assessment determines the size of your budget.
Financial assessment (means test)
The financial assessment is to decide who is responsible for paying for your care – you or the council. The council begins to help pay for your care needs when you have less than £23,250.
Your personal budget is the amount of money you need to pay for the cost of your care needs. The sum of your budget is based on the results of both your care needs and financial assessments.
Direct payments are a way for you to take control of your personal budget and choose for yourself how you want to spend it. Anyone with a personal budget is entitled to apply for direct payments.
Home adaptation funding is there for you to upgrade your home to make it suitable for care. You can get up to £1,500 from your local authority, regardless of your financial situation.
Funding care with savings or assets
If you’re not able to get your care fully-funded from your local authority, all is not lost. You can use your liquid assets, or use any of a range of financial products to help you pay for care.
There is an ever-increasing range of ways to release equity from your home. These products allow you to stay in your own home but use its value to fund your care.
Privately funding care: How to cope without support
Depending on your loved one’s circumstances, they may not qualify for funding from either the NHS or their local authority, and even if they do, the amount they receive may not be sufficient to pay for the care they need.
Using equity release to pay for care
Paying for care is a considerable long-term commitment, so if your loved one is considering long-term care in their own home, an equity release scheme could provide the necessary funds.
Things to remember
Paying for care can feel like a stressful and daunting process. It may feel like you’ve suddenly been launched into a world of box-tickers and bureaucrats. But with the right mindset, there’s nothing stopping you arranging the care you think is best.
It’s simpler to navigate than you think
The system is complex – and sometimes feels like it’s against you – but we can help break things down into manageable next steps.
We’re always here to support you
When you feel alone – lost – in the system, we’re on your side, championing your right to funding, and giving you the confidence to make decisions.
There are always options
There are always options available. It may not feel like it sometimes. But don’t give up. Relax, and let us help you put together a plan.
Hold your nerve
If you do your research and seek expert advice, you’ll be confident to challenge any decisions or assessments you don’t feel to be correct.