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Explaining the care conundrum

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Paying for your care into old age is going to become a bigger issue for many of us as we are all living longer.

Here at Birkett Long we are chasing £1.5m from the NHS on behalf of families who are owed this money because of eligibility for NHS Continuing Healthcare funding

But if you have some confusion over the recent news that the government is to postpone the capping of care fees until 2020 let me explain: this is Local Authority funded care – not nursing needs funded by the NHS.

This is the way it works: should you or a relative need to go into care you can access financial assistance from your local authority but this is means tested. .

Based on current rules, if your assets are above £23,250 you will not receive any funding from the Local Authority for a residential care home. If your assets are between £23,250 and £14,250 the Local Authority will make some contribution towards your care fees.

But if your assets are below £14,250 the Local Authority will pay for your care, although you may still be required to contribute a percentage of your income. 

So what has changed and why is it news? Under the Care Act, the asset limits set out above were to rise, which meant Local Authorities having to fund residential care much sooner for a lot of people. But this has been postponed until 2020.

Also, the amount of care fees a person would pay were to be limited to £72,000 from April 2016.  This was proving a problem for Local Authorities who were becoming swamped with setting up the new systems required to monitor this so this too has been postponed to 2020

Whilst Local Authority funding is means tested, NHS funding is not and eligibility is based on a person’s health needs.  Therefore,  you or your loved one could be found eligible for full NHS Continuing Healthcare funding or for Funded Nursing Care contribution even if you have enough assets to be paying for care.

If your relative moves into a care home or is being discharged from hospital and has care needs on leaving, it is imperative that they are assessed for NHS funding as soon as possible. 

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