A Lady Explains What Financial Assistance Is Available To Help With The Cost Of Home Care In The UK

Paying For Home Care

By David Armstrong MBA - Owner, Day to Day Care Ltd

Each funding option has its own eligibility criteria, application processes, and limitations. It’s crucial to research and understand these requirements to maximise the support you receive.

What Help Is Available?

Whilst home care costs can be daunting, there are numerous funding options and benefits available to help you manage these expenses. By understanding the cost of care and exploring all available options, you can ensure you’re utilising the support systems in place, making home care a viable and accessible choice.

Local Authority Funded Care

According to preliminary estimates published by the ONS at least one in four service users self-fund their home care. When it comes to paying for home care in the UK, most is funded by local authorities but an individual’s eligibility for funded care depends on factors like income, savings, and care needs. 

To determine whether you are eligible for part or fully-funded care you’ll need both a care needs assessment and a financial assessment from your local authority. Once approved, they’ll either arrange care services or give you a personal budget to manage your care. More information can be found on the UK government’s website: https://www.gov.uk/apply-needs-assessment-social-services but as a general rule in England:

  1. If your savings and assets are below £14,250, the local authority will cover the full cost of your care, but you may still be required to contribute from your income.
  2. If your savings and assets are between £14,250 and £23,250, you will be expected to contribute to your care costs on a sliding scale, with the local authority covering the remaining costs.
  3. If your savings and assets are above £23,250, you will generally be considered a self-funder and would be responsible for covering your care costs.

The New Social Care Cap

In September 2021 the UK government outlined reforms to cap an individual’s care costs to ensure that nobody pays more than £86,000 for social care in their lifetime. These reforms were due to come into effect in October 2023 but in November 2022 it was announced that they would be delayed until at least 2025.

Direct Payments

If you’re eligible for local authority funding, you may receive direct payments. These allow individuals eligible for local authority-funded care services to manage their own care budget. Instead of the local authority arranging care services, the funds are given directly to the individual, enabling them to choose and pay for their own care providers. Direct Payments offer flexibility, control, and choice in meeting care needs. To access Direct Payments, individuals must undergo a care needs assessment and a financial assessment from their local authority. The scheme is available for those with disabilities, older people needing care, and carers who require support. More information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/apply-direct-payments

 

NHS Continuing Healthcare

In some cases, the NHS may cover the full cost of home care for individuals with complex medical needs that require ongoing care. Eligibility is determined through a two-step assessment process: an initial checklist, followed by a full assessment conducted by a multidisciplinary team. The decision is based on the nature, complexity, intensity, and unpredictability of the individual’s healthcare needs, rather than specific diagnoses. NHS CHC is not means-tested and is separate from local authority funding.

Personal Health Budgets (PHBs)

Most individuals in receipt of NHS continuing healthcare will be eligible for a Personal Health Budget, which grants them more control over their healthcare and support. With a PHB, you can choose the care services and providers that best suit your needs, offering greater flexibility and personalization. More information can be found here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-care-and-support-guide/money-work-and-benefits/nhs-continuing-healthcare/

 

Other Available Support

Attendance Allowance:

This is a non-means-tested benefit for people aged 65 and over who require help with personal care due to a physical or mental disability. The amount you can get depends on the amount of help you need. Current rates (March 2023) are £61.85 and £92.40 per week. More information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/attendance-allowance

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

This is a UK benefit designed to support individuals aged 16-64 who have long-term health conditions or disabilities affecting their daily living or mobility. PIP is not means-tested, so it doesn’t depend on income or savings. The payment consists of two components: daily living and mobility, each with a standard and enhanced rate. Eligibility is based on a points system, determined through an assessment of how one’s condition impacts their ability to perform daily tasks and move around. PIP has replaced the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for most claimants, except children under 16. More information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/pip

Carer’s Allowance

If you’re providing care for someone with substantial care needs, you may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance. The Carer’s Allowance is a benefit provided to individuals who care for someone with substantial care needs. To qualify, the carer must spend at least 35 hours per week providing care, and the person they care for must receive certain disability benefits like Attendance Allowance, Personal Independence Payment (daily living component), or Disability Living Allowance (middle or highest care rate). The Carer’s Allowance is not means-tested but has an earnings limit, which means the carer can work part-time while claiming. Claiming this allowance may impact other benefits the carer or the person they care for receives. More information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/carers-allowance

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB)

IIDB is a UK benefit for individuals who have suffered from an illness or disability due to an accident or disease caused by their workplace. The benefit is not means-tested and is available to employees and apprentices but not individuals that were self-employed at the time. The amount received depends on the severity of the disability, assessed on a percentage scale, and claimants must have a disability level of at least 14% to qualify. IIDB can be claimed alongside other benefits like Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Attendance Allowance but may affect the amount received from these benefits.

Constant Attendance Allowance (CAA)

CAA is a UK benefit for individuals who require daily care and support due to a disability or illness resulting from an industrial accident or work-related disease. To qualify, claimants must already be receiving Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) with a disability assessment of 100%. The CAA is intended to help cover the cost of constant care, either from a professional or a family member. It is available at four different rates, depending on the level of assistance required. The allowance is tax-free and can be received in addition to other benefits, but may affect their amounts.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

ESA is a UK benefit for individuals who have limited capability to work due to illness or disability. It provides financial support and personalised help to find suitable employment. There are two types: contributory/new-style ESA (based on National Insurance contributions) and income-related ESA (based on income and savings). To claim ESA, claimants typically undergo a Work Capability Assessment to determine eligibility and whether they fall into the “work-related activity group” (WRAG) or the “support group.” Each group receives different levels of financial assistance, with the support group receiving a higher amount.

Disability Premiums

These are additional amounts added to certain means-tested benefits in the UK to provide extra financial support for individuals with disabilities or long-term health conditions. These premiums come in three types:

  • Disability Premium
  • Severe Disability Premium
  • Enhanced Disability Premium

Eligibility depends on factors such as the claimant’s age, living arrangements, and receipt of specific disability benefits like Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Disability Living Allowance (DLA). Disability premiums can be added to benefits like Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, and Housing Benefit. The exact amount depends on the type of premium and individual circumstances.

Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs)

DFGs are UK government grants provided by local authorities to help individuals with disabilities make necessary home adaptations. These grants are means-tested, considering the applicant’s income and savings. DFGs can fund various modifications, such as installing ramps, widening doorways, or adapting bathrooms for better accessibility and safety. To qualify for a DFG, applicants must undergo an assessment by an occupational therapist to determine their specific needs. The maximum grant amount and eligibility criteria may vary across England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, so it is essential to consult the local council for accurate information.

Please note that this information may not be comprehensive or up-to-date. It is crucial to check the official UK government websites and consult with your local authority to determine the available financial support and eligibility criteria for home care services.

 

Next Steps

It’s essential to explore these funding options and benefits thoroughly, as the right support can significantly alleviate the financial burden of home care. By staying informed and proactive, you can work with care providers, local authorities, and healthcare professionals to create a care plan that suits your needs while making the most of available financial support.

Each funding option has its own eligibility criteria, application processes, and limitations. It’s crucial to research and understand these requirements to maximise the support you receive. You may also want to consult with a financial advisor or social worker to help you navigate the complexities of funding home care.

Additionally, it’s important to review your care needs and financial support regularly. Your circumstances may change over time, and you might become eligible for different funding options or benefits. Keeping up-to-date with your care needs and financial situation ensures you continue to receive the most suitable support when paying for your home care.

Article Last Reviewed: 31 March 2023

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