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How to fund your care – self-funders v state funded

Nearly half a million people in the UK live in a care home and around half of these fund themselves (self-funders) and the other half receive local authority funding (with a quarter of these paying top-ups).

The amount you pay towards your care will depend on where you live in the UK. If you live in England and Northern Ireland and have assets of more than £23,250, you will have to pay the full cost of your care and are referred to as a self-funder.

In Scotland, it is £28,000 and in Wales, the threshold is £50,000

Anyone with capital below these amounts will qualify for some financial support. In England and Northern Ireland if you have capital below £14,250 you should get maximum support.

In Scotland, you need to have capital below £17,500 to be eligible for maximum support and in Wales, anyone with capital under £50,000 will receive fully funded care from the local authority.

If your savings or income fall below the threshold, the local authority should start paying for some or all your care. You can ask the local authority to carry out a review while you are in residential care if your savings drop below the threshold or are about to, so it can take overpaying the care costs.

The value of your assets is calculated by adding up your investments, savings, and the equity from your property. Your property won’t be included as an asset if a husband, wife, civil partner, a close relative over the age of 60 or a dependent child or disabled relative lives with you.

In the means test only 50% of any jointly held capital, such as a savings account, is counted. Some types of capital and income, such as certain disability benefits or pensions are not included, and personal possessions are ignored. The means test will assume that you are in receipt of all the benefits that you are entitled to, so you want to ensure that you are claiming them.

If your home is included in your means-test, it is disregarded for your first 12 weeks in a care home. Therefore, if other capital assets and income are low, you may only become a self-funder after 12 weeks.

If you deliberately transfer ownership of a property into someone else’s name or money into someone else’s bank account to avoid paying for your care, it may be seen as a deprivation of assets and the local authority could refuse to fund your care.

It is advisable to register a Lasting Power of Attorney to give someone you trust control over decisions regarding your health, welfare and finances in case you lose the capacity to make these yourself in the future.

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