Payment Of Nursing Homes Fees
Local authorities have a statutory duty to assist those in need to access care either at the patient's home or in a care home.
If you approach your local authority in England [there is now a separate regime in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland] seeking assistance with the cost of funding your care needs the local authority will:
- Assess what they consider to be your care needs
- Assess your financial means and
- Approve the care home to which you are admitted or services to which you are entitled.
The merits test
Each local authority has their own eligibility criteria - which are inevitably impacted by the availability of funding.
- Those with capital below £14,250.00 are entitled to have their capital entirely disregarded for assessment of their means.
- Those with capital above £23,250.00 are disentitled to benefit.
- Those with capital between £14,250.00 and £23,250.00 are required to make a contribution based on a sliding scale.
The definition of capital includes any interest in land, savings, investments etc. Some assets may be disregarded including your home if it is still required for occupation by specified relatives - for example parents, children, siblings, spouses, civil partners or co-habitees. Some other assets may be disregarded permanently or temporarily - we can advise further.
We are frequently asked to advise clients about the wisdom of gifting away or otherwise disposing of assets to ensure eligibility for state assistance with care costs. This is not a step to be taken without considerable care.
Gifts made with the intention of manufacturing eligibility for state support can be ignored by the authorities for the purposes of assessing eligibility and treated as "intentional deprivation". Deprivation can include gifts, vesting assets into a Trust, or purchase of an investment bond with life insurance. In order for these to be intentional deprivation it must be shown that the desire to achieve eligibility for state funded care to be the dominant or significant motive behind the disposal.