5 Important Things To Know Before Choosing A Care Home
Aside from the need to arm yourself with a list of important questions to ask when choosing between care homes, there are other important things that you need to know if you are to find your way through the process with the minimum of fuss. Here are five key things that you need to know before picking a care home for your loved one.
1. Apply for Benefits
Anyone aged 65 or older who needs nursing or personal care is eligible for certain benefits that are neither taxed nor means-tested. Your relative may qualify for Attendance Allowance if they need help and assistance with normal day-to-day activities, which is paid at a rate of £83.10 per week. The NCC, or NHS Nursing Care Contribution, is worth £155.05 to residents in England, £148.01 to Welsh residents and £78 for people living in Scotland. Scottish residents may also qualify for £171 per week as a Personal Care Contribution allowance.
2. Put a Financial Power of Attorney in Place
It’s best to put a power of attorney in place as soon as possible, as once your loved one has lost the mental capacity to make sound financial judgements, it can be a complicated process to take over their financial affairs. Once you have started looking into suitable care homes, you will need to have the right to make financial decisions for your relative, and having the power of attorney in place from an early stage gives you the authority to make decisions on their behalf.
3. Know the Get-Out Clauses
Only your loved one’s assets and income can be included in calculations to assess their local authority’s contributions to care, so only half of joint savings can be included for assessment. Your loved one’s home cannot be included if their spouse continues to live there. The initial twelve weeks of care will be provided free of charge if your loved one’s home is to be sold, and any residential care required as a result of medical problems will be provided by the NHS free of charge.
4. Consider a Deferred Payment Agreement
If your loved one’s savings are below the £23,250 threshold, and they live alone in a home that they own, it’s possible to apply for a DPA, or deferred payment agreement. The local authority will pay the care home fees for the time being, and once the property is sold the debt can be repaid with a little interest, which is currently around 2%.
5. Get a Quote for an Annuity
One way of covering the fees for care homes is to take out an annuity, which pays out a monthly sum until your loved one’s death. It’s possible to arrange for the payments to be made directly to the care home, which means that no tax is payable. Look out for specialist financial advisers registered with SOLLA to take advantage of these types of payments.