Means testing for elderly care – make sure your local authority has assessed you properly
At Care To Be Different, we focus primarily on nursing care, full-time care and NHS Continuing Care.
However, if you’re still living at home and need care, we can also point you in the right direction.
Many people find the whole subject of assessments and means testing for elderly care confusing – and the prospect of approaching the various care authorities can feel daunting. Today’s post will get you started:
- If you need local authority care at home, you should be assessed by Social Services to see what your needs are. You’ll probably be given a ‘banding’ of needs:
- Low needs
- Moderate needs
- Substantial needs
- Critical needs
- If you haven’t been assessed in this way, contact your local council or Social Services office and ask for an assessment. Make sure your local authority also provides you with their eligibility criteria for the different ‘bandings’.
- Unlike nursing care from the NHS, different local authorities have different ‘rules’ about care provision and care funding. Many councils, for example, say they’ll pay for care for ‘substantial’ and ‘critical’ needs, but anything lower than that must be paid by the person needing care (through means-testing).
- Unfortunately, because of the current budget cuts, many councils are now saying they won’t pay for anything less than ‘critical’ care. However, some councils are now being taken to court over this. On 25th and 26th October 2011 the High Court will be ruling whether their actions are legal.
- If the Court rules in favour of the people needing care, it could change the way your own local council allocates funding.
- If you believe your needs are ‘critical’, you may in fact be eligible for NHS Continuing Care funding instead, which is free at the point of use.
- Always remember the golden rule: Social care is means-tested, BUT healthcare and nursing care for health needs is free.
- If you have health needs and you believe your local authority is wrongly describing your needs as ‘social’ needs, you can challenge the decision.
- At this point it may be worth approaching your GP and asking for something in writing to outline your various symptoms and make your health needs clear. This can strengthen your case when you’re pressing for more care.
- Be prepared, however, for the GP not to know much about local authority assessments. He/she may say that it’s a Social Services matter and that you’ll just have to take it up with them. You may have to educate the GP a little in that respect and help them understand why their role in this is vital.