Paying for your homecare may seem very confusing, especially if you’ve never dealt with it before. You may have questions about finances, such as will you have to sell your house to pay for care? Can the Local authority provide funding for care in your own home? What assistance can you get?
There are many ways to pay for private care, which can depend on your financial status. Many of these won’t require you to sell your home or personal possessions to access the care you need, so you don’t need to worry about moving house unless you really need to.
For more detailed guidance, please do get in touch and one of our team can talk you through your options.
Local authority funding for care at home
Your local council can help pay toward the cost of your care as part of a scheme, which gives you a personal budget depending on what level of care you need.
You may be eligible for this if you have less than £23,250 in savings. The first step to seeing if you can get financial assistance from your local authority is for your council to do a needs assessment. This will assess what care you need and how many visits will be required. You can get by contacting social services, at your local council.
The Needs Assesment
The needs assessment is a free assessment, arranged by the council can be done face to face or over the phone. It usually lasts around an hour. Someone from the council, like a social worker, will ask how you manage everyday tasks, like washing and dressing. They may also ask you how well you do certain things, like getting out of a chair or making drinks.
They then recommend things like walking frames, help from a carer or moving to a care home.
Once this has been completed, they will then do a means test. This will work out if:
- The council will pay for all of your care
- The council will pay for some of your care, and you will pay for some of it
- You will need to pay for all of your care
This is determined by your earnings, pensions and benefits. They don’t need to know the value of your possessions, or any life insurance you have.
If you qualify for assistance the council will offer you a personal budget or care and support plan.
Personal Budgets and Direct Payments
Your personal budget can either be paid directly into your bank account or is delivered directly by the council. A care a support plan will be delivered directly by the council, usually with the help of a local care agency.
If you get direct payments, you can use this money to choose and purchase your care as long as it’s legal, safe, and meets your needs. This could be assisting with visits, personal care, cooking, or activities like swimming.
One thing to remember is that you’ll need to submit monthly invoices and send a report every year to show the council who you’re paying your budget to and what care you have received.
If you choose to go through an agency for care, the council can either pick one for you or give you a list of the local agencies to call. The paperwork is all done by the agency and the council can either pay them directly or give you the money to pay them.
A care manager from the agency will visit you to discuss the care package they can offer based on the amount of money the council has said you are entitled to. If you want more care than your personal budget pays for, you may have to top the extra out of your own income. They will then let you know the times a carer can assist you.
Unfortunately, you cannot choose your carer – but you will be allocated someone based on their skills and rota. You will always have the right to discuss this with the care manager if you feel you need different care, and you can change agencies or switch to a private carer at any time.
Finding your own carer
If you’re thinking of using a private carer, you should try and find someone on a carer platform, like PrimeCarers, which can connect you with private carers. These let you see if they have been DBS checked and have the skills you need, and they’re often insured through the service. This means you’ll have access to affordable and reliable care from companies that understand the unique challenges you face.
By getting a private carer, the personal budget you receive from the council can be paid directly into your bank account so you can pay for your carer.
Paying for Care
Will I need to sell my home?
You shouldn’t have to sell your house if you need to pay for care in your home.
You may have to if you move into a care home unless your partner still lives there – although there may be other options to help you avoid selling your house. These include renting rooms in your home out and deferred payment schemes, where the council can pay for your care and you pay it back if you choose to sell your home, or after your death.
You could also look at an equity release. This is available for anyone over 55 and allows you to take money that’s tied up in your home. You will have to pay interest on this though, so make sure you do plenty of research through services like the Money Advice Service first.
What happens if I run out of savings?
If you have savings above £23,250 but this drops, you can apply for the council’s payment scheme. This ensures that you are able to continue paying your care.
If you think your savings might end up going below £23,250, then ring the council. We advise that you do this three months beforehand to arrange for coverage in good time.
Other forms of funding
Beyond Local Authority funding for care in your own home, there are other ways to pay for your care. This includes the Personal Independence Payment, Employment and Support Allowance or Attendance Allowance.
Free help with care
You can get NHS healthcare at any time, like NHS-funded nursing, regardless of how much you have in savings or if you’re paying for care.
You might also be able to get some small house alterations for free if they cost less than £1,000. This is gives you access to things like handrails for the stairs or grab rails in your bathroom.
To see if you could receive this, you can apply for equipment via the government website.
There are also other local voluntary organisations and some that run nationally. It is certainly worth calling or visiting your local AgeUK branch or calling CarersUK for advice.
There are plenty of ways that you can receive help paying for care in your own home, so you shouldn’t worry about money. These options make sure you can live a happy life with the help you need to get by, even if you don’t think you have the savings or income to support a full-time carer.
If you’re still unsure about how you can get funding for care, you can find more information on the Money Advice Service website.