Do I have to sell my home to pay for care home fees?
By law, you are required to pay in full for your own care home fees if your available capital exceeds £23,250.
The average cost of a residential care home in 2009 was £33,852 a year, rising to over £47,320 a year for nursing care. The government’s most recent data taken from 2017/2018 indicates that the average annual income for pensioners is £15,080.
Faced with such a big shortfall on income vs the cost of care, it isn’t surprising that many people choose to sell their homes to fund it, but is this something you have to do and what are the alternatives?
Selling your home to pay for your care can be a big concern and it is likely to be your most important and sizeable asset. So, it is crucial to check whether any other support might be available. Here are some of the main things to consider:
Sometimes, the value of your home should be disregarded for the purposes of paying for your care. In other words, you are treated as though you don’t have it. An example is where your spouse is still living there even though you’ve moved out and into a care home. There are other circumstances where the value of the home should be disregarded and the Local Authority can even disregard your home on a discretionary basis, it all depends on your circumstances.
Alternative means of funding
Perhaps renting out your home could bridge the gap between your available income and the cost of your care? Maybe it is worth considering shelling out for a “care home fee annuity” which will produce an income to pay for your care home fees? It is worthwhile speaking to a specialist independent financial advisor to discuss how best to pay for your care.
100% Free NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding
NHS Continuing Healthcare refers to a little-known pot of cash which is set aside to fund 100% of the care fees for those people who are assessed as having a “Primary Health Need”.
Following a detailed assessment of all of your needs, the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will make a recommendation on your eligibility and if your needs are intense, complex or unpredictable, you should qualify.
NHS Continuing Healthcare has been called a “postcode lottery” because the eligibility criteria is not always applied consistently, resulting in different results for different people.
There is a two stage appeal process to deal with disagreements over eligibility and if you are unsure you can seek support and advice, whether from a charity or from an independent firm of solicitors like Ridley & Hall.
Deferred payment agreement
A deferred payment agreement should be offered by Local Authorities to facilitate payment for care home fees, whilst allowing the care home resident to keep their home, for at least a time.
It isn’t an alternative to selling your home as such, but it can delay the need to do so, or support you to pay for your care home fees whilst you are waiting for the sale to go through.
At the Grandparents Legal Centre, we are able to help you with problems with Local Authority and NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding. We can advise you whether you might be eligible for additional support to pay for your care. If you would like to talk things through, don’t hesitate to get in touch now with our specialist care home fees solicitor James Urquhart-Burton on our freephone 0843 289 7130.