How The Current Care System Works
If you require help with everyday tasks, the local authority has a legal duty to carry out an assessment to ascertain what help and assistance you need. The law states that anyone who needs health or social care because of problems associated with old age, mental illness, learning, physical or sensory difficulties should be able to attain care services and support tailored to their individual needs whether at home or in a residential home.
Care can be simplified into 3 areas:
- Obtain a Care Needs Assessment (to see what care you require)
Obtain a Care Fees Assessment (To see what your fees are going to be)
Calculate what you will pay having looked at your capital, income and entitlements.
Obtaining a Care Needs Assessment
The Care Act 2014 states that you are entitled to a care needs assessment and for services to be provided directly to you from the local authorities. They will discuss with you what needs or help you have with your day to day activities (such as dressing, cooking, cleaning etc…) what you require to help you live safely within your own home (equipment or adaptations) or whether you or your carer require day centres or activities to give you both a break.
If someone (even a family member) is helping you with some tasks (such as cleaning, shopping, cooking) this still qualifies as a need.
Should you qualify, the Local Authority will advise you as to what services it can provide to you directly or arrange for you and this is known as your Care Plan and can recommend either services to enable you to stay at home or that your needs require residential care.
Care Fee Assessment
Once the Local Authority has carried out a Care Needs Assessment and concluded that you require support, they will then carry out a Financial Assessment to work out how you will pay for your help and support.
The outcome of the financial assessment will be that the local authority will either:
Agree to meet the full cost of your care needs
Agree to meet some of the cost (and you’ll need to top up the rest)
Leave you meet the full cost of your care (Private Payer)
Calculate what you wil pay.
Residential Care is means tested.
Should you require care and have assets (including your property) above the “means test level” (£23,500 for the 2016/17 tax year) then you will be responsible for paying your own fees.
Should you have capital assets below £14,250 you will be entitled to maximum support (although you will still contribute your income).
Between the two figure of £14.250 and £23,250 you pay a percentage based on your capital.
The value of your home is not taken into account in the means test for home care and, if only one member of a couple requires care, the means test should only take into account the resources of that person. Any joint accounts are treated as divided equally between the partners.