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How much will your local authority pay for a care home?

How much will your local authority pay for a care home?
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If you or someone close to you is struggling to live independently, a care home may be the answer. If you are wondering how much the local authority will pay for a care home, read on.

Where can I find a suitable care home?

Looking for a suitable care home is just like looking for any type of home. So it’s very important that you take your time to find the right one.

There are many different types, run by private companies, charitable organisations or local councils.

Think about what the person moving into the home will need in the short term and long term. For example, if they have a degenerative illness, they will probably need more intensive care later on.

Extensive research will be important. There are a number of different directories available depending on where you live. In the first instance, Age UK has information on what to consider when looking for a care home.

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How much do care homes cost?

This will depend on the type of home. There are three basic types.

Residential home

This type of home provides accommodation and help with washing, dressing, taking medicines and going to the toilet. Some residential homes also offer extracurricular activities such as day trips.

On average, residential homes cost around £600 per week.

Nursing home

These homes provide the same type of care as residential homes, but in addition, there will be one or more qualified nurses on duty at all times.

Some nursing homes offer extra care and support. This type of home may be suitable for someone with severe learning or physical disabilities, or a complex medical condition.

On average, nursing homes cost around £800 per week.

Both types in one home

These are care homes that offer both residential and nursing care. This is worth considering if the person’s short term and long term needs are likely to change.

What if I can’t afford to pay?

If you have a low income and you want to know how much the local authority will pay for a care home, you will need to contact social services.

You will need to apply for a needs assessment so that social services can determine the type of help and support needed. The assessment is free and it will help the local authority determine whether you will need additional equipment in the care home, for example.

Once this is done, social services will undertake a financial assessment. This will determine what you will need to pay towards the care cost.

As part of the financial assessment, the following will be taken into consideration:

  • income
  • pensions
  • benefits
  • savings
  • property (including property overseas)

As a general rule of thumb, the council will help with care costs if you have less than £23,250 in savings.

The more money you have, the more you will be expected to contribute and the less the local authority will pay.

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Will I have to sell my home?

As part of the financial assessment, the value of the main residence of the person going into a care home will be taken into consideration. However, if their spouse or partner is still living in the home, it will not be considered.

An alternative arrangement would be to arrange for in-home care. This would involve a carer making regular visits to the home to help with everyday tasks.

If you need financial assistance for in-home care, your home will not be taken into consideration in the financial assessment. Further information is available in our article on how much in-home care costs.

What happens after the assessment?

The local authority will write to you outlining the cost of care. They will also let you know how much the local authority will pay for the cost of the care home.

They will assign a personal budget and you’ll have to select from one of two options for payment:

  • Monthly direct payments into your bank account
  • Payment direct to the care home organised by the local authorities. In this case, you will also receive a bill from the care home if you are expected to pay a portion of the fee.

The local authority will assess your financial situation on a regular basis. This will normally happen once a year.

Take home

Take your time when making a decision. There is a lot to think about. If you want to talk to someone about the financial assessment, contact the Money Advice Service or the Society of Later Life Advisers.

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