Paying for Care Home Fees: A Guide for Families

Choosing the right care home for a loved one involves several critical decisions, one of the most significant being how to fund the care home fees. 

This guide aims to provide a clear, step-by-step overview of the various ways to pay for care home fees, helping you make informed choices to ensure your loved one receives the best possible care.

Understanding Care Home Fees

Care home fees can vary widely depending on factors such as location, the type of care required, and the standard of the facilities and services provided. Generally, care home fees cover accommodation, meals, personal care, and activities.

However, additional costs may arise for services like hairdressing, private treatments, and social outings.

Funding Options for Care Home Fees

There are several ways to fund care home fees, including personal savings, government support, and financial products. Here’s a detailed look at each option:


1. Self-Funding

Many families use personal savings, pensions, and investments to pay for care home fees. This option gives you more control over the choice of care home and the level of care provided.

Pros:

  • Greater choice of care homes
  • Flexibility in care arrangements
  • Direct control over funds

Cons:

  • Can deplete savings quickly
  • May impact inheritance plans


2. Local Authority Funding

If your loved one has limited financial resources, they may be eligible for funding from the local authority. This support is means-tested and based on an assessment of both care needs and financial situation.

Financial Assessment

  • Capital Threshold: As of 2024, individuals with assets below £23,250 may qualify for local authority funding. 

Those with assets between £14,250 and £23,250 will contribute some of their assets toward care costs, while those below £14,250 will not have to use their assets but may still need to contribute from their income.

How it Works

  • Care Needs Assessment: The local authority will assess your loved one’s care needs to determine the level of support required.
  • Financial Assessment: The local authority will then evaluate your loved one’s financial situation, including savings, property, and income.
  • Contribution Calculation: Based on the financial assessment, the local authority will calculate how much your loved one must contribute toward their care.


3. NHS Funding

For individuals with complex medical needs, the NHS provides two types of funding: NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) and NHS Funded Nursing Care (FNC).

NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC)

  • Eligibility: CHC covers the entire cost of care for individuals with significant ongoing healthcare needs.
  • Assessment: Eligibility is determined through a detailed assessment by a multidisciplinary team.
  • Coverage: Includes accommodation, personal care, and medical care.

NHS Funded Nursing Care (FNC)

  • Eligibility: For individuals who need nursing care but do not qualify for CHC.
  • Assessment: Conducted by the NHS Continuing Healthcare team.
  • Coverage: A set weekly payment is made to the care home to cover nursing care costs only.

4. Attendance Allowance

Attendance Allowance is a tax-free benefit for individuals over 65 who need help with personal care due to a physical or mental disability.

How to Apply

  • Eligibility: Based on an assessment of care needs.
  • Application: Apply through the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
  • Payment: The allowance is paid at two rates, depending on the level of care required.


5. Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA)

A Deferred Payment Agreement allows your loved one to use the value of their home to pay for care home fees, deferring the payment until the property is sold.

How it Works

  • Eligibility: Available for homeowners with limited savings but significant home equity.
  • Agreement: The local authority places a legal charge on the property, similar to a mortgage.
  • Repayment: The care home fees are repaid from the sale of the property or other estate funds after the individual passes away.


6. Equity Release

Equity release allows homeowners to access the equity in their property without having to sell it. This can provide a lump sum or regular income to help pay for care home fees.

Types of Equity Release

  • Lifetime Mortgage: Borrow money against the value of the home, with interest rolled up over time.
  • Home Reversion Plan: Sell a portion of the home in exchange for a lump sum or regular payments while retaining the right to live in the property.


7. Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance policies are designed to cover the cost of care in later life. These policies can be purchased in advance and may cover care home fees, home care, and other long-term care expenses.

Considerations

  • Premiums: Regular payments to maintain the policy.
  • Coverage: Varies by policy; ensure the policy covers the types of care needed.
  • Eligibility: May require medical underwriting.

Making an Informed Decision

Choosing the right method to fund care home fees involves careful consideration of your loved one’s financial situation, care needs, and personal preferences. Here are some final tips to help you make an informed decision:

  • Consult Financial Advisors: Professional financial advisors can help you understand the implications of different funding options and choose the best one for your situation.
  • Explore All Funding Sources: Consider all available funding sources, including government support, personal savings, and financial products.
  • Review Care Home Options: Look for care homes that provide the best value for money while meeting your loved one’s needs.
  • Plan for the Future: Consider the long-term financial impact of care home fees and plan accordingly.

By understanding the various funding options and seeking professional advice, you can ensure your loved one receives the care they need without undue financial stress.

If you have any questions or need further assistance with care home funding, our team here at Ashberry Care Homes is here to help. Contact us today for more information and support in navigating care home financial arrangements.