How much will I have to contribute to my care costs?

Almost everyone who lives in a care home has to pay something towards the cost of it.

How much you pay depends on your assessed care needs and your income and assets (including any property you own).

If you have under £23,250 in savings and capital The Council can only make a contribution to the cost of your support if:
• you have been assessed as being eligible for support from the Council under the eligibility criteria; and
• you have had a full financial assessment from the Council and they have advised you that you do not have to pay for the full cost of your care.

You will need to ask the Council for a social care assessment.
This will identify your social care needs and how they will be best met. Any care home you consider must be able to meet those needs. The Council will also make an assessment of your financial situation. This determines how much they will pay and how much you will have to pay.

Your choice of care home will be limited to those that accept the Council’s funding level. If you want to choose a more expensive care home you would have to arrange for a third party – such as a family member of charity – to ‘top–up’ the difference. You are not allowed to ‘top up’ the difference yourself if you capital is below £23,250.

If you have capital between £14,250 and £23,250 you will pay £1 a week for every £250 you have above £14,250. This will be included in the financial assessment and will be in addition to any income you are receiving, eg State Benefits, occupational pensions etc.

If your capital is less than £14,250 and the care home you choose charges fees that are within the Council’s funding rate, your contribution will be assessed only on your income.

Third party payments for care home fees
Some care homes charge fees that are higher than the maximum amount the Council can contribute. If the Council is contributing towards your care home fees and you choose to move into a home which charges a higher fee, the difference between the two amounts must be paid for by a third party, usually a relative or a charity.

Third party payments are sometimes referred to as top-up payments. Please note: this amount will be in addition to your assessed contribution. As the name suggests, this payment must be made by someone other than you or Gloucestershire County Council, except in specific circumstances.

It can be a relative or friend, but it cannot be a liable relative, ie someone whose financial situation has been taken into account when your financial assessment was carried out by Gloucestershire County Council.

The circumstances under which you may make a third party payment from your own funds are:
• when you are eligible for the 12-week property disregard
(see next column); or
• where Gloucestershire County Council has agreed to a deferred payment until your home is sold.

The Council would recommend that the third party topping up your care fees seeks specialist information and advice and explores all the financial options available to them. See ‘Seeking specialist information and advice’ on the next column.

If you have over £23,250 in savings and capital
You will be responsible for paying the full cost of your care if:
• you have chosen not to approach Gloucestershire County Council for help;
• you have been assessed but are not currently eligible for adult social care services from Gloucestershire County Council; or
• you have been assessed and your needs show that you are eligible for social care support, however your savings and assets are above £23,250 and you are therefore not eligible for financial support from the Council to meet your care needs.

People in this situation are known as ‘self-funders’. 
Regardless of your financial circumstances, you can ask for an assessment of your needs under the NHS & Community Care Act 1990. Contact the Adult Social Care helpdesk on 01452 426868 to arrange an assessment.

If you have a property but your other capital is less than £23,250 and your income doesn’t cover your care home fees the Council can still support you.

12 week property disregard
If, apart from your property, your savings are less than £23,250 the Council can help you with your care costs for the first 12 weeks of permanent residential care providing that your assessment has shown that this is the kind of care you need.

Deferred Payment Agreement
To support people that are waiting for their property to be sold the Council can provide financial support. It will charge any financial help against the value of your property.
You will need to enter into a Deferred Payment Agreement with the Council who will put a legal charge on the property which means that it cannot be sold until the debt to the Council has been repaid. Until your property is sold, you will be expected to make a part-payment every four weeks based on your weekly income.

Once the property is sold a review will take place to determine whether or not it is appropriate for you to make private arrangements to pay the care home direct. If this is the case you will be advised of the date you should start to pay the care home from. The Council has the right to refuse a deferred payment request.

The Council recommends that you seek specialist information and advice before agreeing to the Deferred Payment Agreement as it may not be the best solution for your specific circumstances.

Seeking specialist information and advice
Paying for care can be an expensive and open-ended commitment. As a self-funder the Council strongly recommends that you seek specialist information and advice before entering into any commitments to prevent you from running out of money and allow you to protect an inheritance for your loved ones.

PayingForCare is a not-for-profit organisation that provides independent information and advice to self-funders on all aspects of long-term care to help you make informed choices about your care and how you pay for it.

Information includes:
• information on state benefits you may be entitled to;
• information on the different types of care available;
• access to information and specialist advice on the best way to fund your long-term care and avoid running out of money;
• access to specialist services on topics such as setting up Power of Attorneys, wills and Inheritance Tax Planning; and
• details of independent Specialist Care Fees Advisers close to you or your family.

For a free chat call PayingForCare on 0808 208 9994