Dorset Family Law

Funding Care

With an ever-increasing population, more of us are looking for help when preparing for old age and managing finances. Preparation is key and the importance of Lasting Powers of Attorney for both for Property and Finances and Health and Welfare cannot be underestimated. 

Social care is means tested and Social Services must charge for the care they provide if a person has over the threshold of capital assets. 

When shouldn’t you pay?

  1. If you have primarily healthcare needs and are therefore eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) Funding.  This is not for life.  It can be and is reviewed. Assets and income are not assessed and the entire care package is funded.
  1. If you are eligible for Section 117 Aftercare Funding. This is not for life and is available to very few. 
  1. If you are eligible for an Intermediate Health Care package.  This is generally for up to 6 weeks, allowing the patient time to recover, avoiding hospital and hopefully long-term care needs.
  1. If you are eligible for NHS Funded Nursing Care.  If you do not qualify for NHS CHC Funding you may qualify for a weekly payment towards nursing costs.  Beware of nursing homes increasing their fees to cover the extra nursing care, thus losing the benefit. 
  1. If you have social care needs and less than £23,250 in capital assets and do not qualify for funding under points 1 to 3. Unfortunately, your income will be taken into consideration.

Paying for care

A person’s ability to pay for care will be assessed on their income and capital assets.  If these assets exceed £23,250 self-funding is inevitable.  A partner’s savings and assets are not assessed, and it is important not to cash in Life Assurance bonds as they will no longer be disregarded.  Beware of buying bonds or making gifts if it’s reasonably foreseeable that care is likely. Social Services will argue that this is a deliberate deprivation and seek to reclaim the funds.

Sadly, Social Services are not willing to pay more than a set weekly contribution and people residing in expensive care homes who have depleted their capital assets may find that they must move, although a third party top up can be made. Legal advice should be sought if moving to another care home is likely to cause significant distress to someone who is settled.

All in all, care funding can be a minefield.  Professional advice is available and can be invaluable as care costs continue to increase.

EMERGENCY COVID 19 SOCIAL CARE SUPPORT PACKAGES.

Discharge from hospital and changes to NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) implemented by the COVID-19 (coronavirus)

During the emergency period, if you are in hospital for any reason and your health team decides you no longer need hospital care, you will be discharged. This will happen quickly, normally within three hours of the decision that you are clinically safe to be discharged. There will not be time to discuss your preferences for long-term care and once you are in your immediate placement after discharge, you should be given the opportunity to have these conversations with your care co-ordinator. This care and support will be paid for by the NHS for the duration of the emergency period, allowing you to move out of hospital quickly and reduce pressure on acute services. The government has agreed that the NHS will fully fund the cost of new or extended out-of-hospital health and social care support packages during the emergency COVID-19 period.  This applies to new care packages and enhancements to existing care packages agreed on or after 19 March 2020.

If you need further advice please contact Robyn Greenway on 01823 652114 or robyn.greenway@porterdodson.co.uk.

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