Paying for Care – Part 1
When someone has to go into care, they are finically assessed by the Local Authority, if you don’t agree to the assessment process, they won’t pay. People often just say “I’m self funding”, rather than disclose their financial information to the Local Authority.
So when will the Local Authority pay? Simple answer – when someone has less than £23,250 of assessable assets. So, what is an assessable asset, what counts and what doesn’t? The details can be complex and if in doubt, you would need to take specialist legal advice. However cash is assessable (money in banks & building societies), investments (shares, ISAs National Savings) is also assessable.
Investments with an insurance element are not assessable, so speak to an IFA about one of these. Personal possessions are not assessable, ie jewellery, clothes, furniture etc, but that also means antiques, paintings and cars would be considered a personal possession and some items can have significant value.
Some Trust assets are not assessable, which includes the capital of a Life Interest Trust and the assets of an appropriately managed Discretionary Trust. Whether or not a Trust asset is assessable can be a tricky issue, so it is worth taking specific advice if in doubt.
There are other assets that people can own that may or may not be assessable and it is worthwhile taking advice if in doubt.
Property is potentially assessable after the first 12 weeks of a permanent stay, when assessable assets (excluding the home) fall below £23,250, which may be on admission, or it may be 2 years later, but for the first 12 weeks when that threshold is reached, the property is excluded for everyone. If some key conditions are met, then the property is excluded indefinitely whilst those conditions remain. So if the spouse is living in the home, it is exempt, also: when a relative is living there and is over the age of 60 (the definition of relative is fairly wide), where the relative has a child under the age of 18 also living there with them (but this is only whilst they are under 18) or the relative is incapacitated.
So the next issue is about whether a stay is permanent, as the property is exempt whilst the stay is temporary. Permanent is usually considered less than 52 weeks, but in some circumstances it can be longer, but also with the intention that the individual will return home again. If there is no intention to return home, then the stay will be considered permanent from the date of admission.