Does your spouse or partner have to pay for your care?
If you’re wondering whether one partner in a couple is liable for the other’s care costs, generally speaking the answer is no.
Age UK have produced an excellent factsheet to help answer questions about paying for care if you have a partner, and it’s worth reading: Paying for care in a care home if you have a partner.
Keep in mind at all times, though, that:
The only time anyone should be asked to pay for care is once it has been clearly shown that they are not eligible for NHS funding. So, if a person with health needs requires full time care, no one should carry out a financial assessment or ask about their money until an assessment for NHS Continuing Healthcare has been carried out – and a proper decsion has been reached about who is actually responsible for care costs.
Paying for care if you have a partner
If you do have to undergo a means test, always remember that:
- this should only look at the assets/savings of the person needing care – not the partner
- the partner who does not require care should not be left in fiancial hardship after their spouse’s/partner’s assets have been means tested
- if the partner who does not need care is still living in the house, and this is jointly owned, it must be disregarded while the remaining partner is living there
- generally speaking you should each be treated as separate individuals as far as your money is concerned, even if you both need care at the same time
- it’s important to consider ongoing house maintenance costs (insurance, heating, etc) when being means tested, so that there are enough funds to maintain the property, especially if the stay in care is temporary
But remember, this only applies if you’re not eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare funding – and that should be assessed first.
Regardless of your current health, and regardless of who actually has to pay for care, be sure also to have a Power of Attorney in place, so that someone you trust can act on your behalf if needed. This is such an important point. Trying to deal with health and social care authorities without one can be extremely difficult.
Also, always take independent financial advice before you make decisions about your money, especially when it comes to care fees. There are many potential pitfalls. Be sure that any adviser you speak to understands the CRAG rules inside out (Charging for Residential Accommodation Guide).
Read the AgeUK report here: Paying for care in a care home if you have a partner.