Long term care means testing – savings & capital thresholds
Means testing is relevant only if your care needs are predominantly social care needs. You should only be means tested if you are found to be not eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare.
If you do genuinely need to be means tested, the local authority will take into account the following capital and savings limits. These figures include the total value of things like your savings, investments and property.
The information applies to England and covers the financial year 2016-2017.
If your assets are greater than:
…you will be told you have to pay for care – but this applies ONLY if your needs are predominantly social care needs. You may not have been told that you could be eligible for free NHS Continuing Healthcare.
If your assets are between:
£14,250 – £23,250
… you will be told to pay for some of your care.
If your assets are below:
… your local authority will pay for your care, but may still take a proportion of your income. Read more about means testing on the AgeUK website.
You are entitled to keep:
…as your Personal Expense Allowance (PEA).
Should you be means tested?
If you have health needs and you need full time care:
…make sure you’re assessed for NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding. Contact the Continuing Care Department at your local NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – formerly the Primary Care Trust (PCT) – or ask a health or social care professional to arrange an assessment for you. (In Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland this will be at your local Health Board, Health Care Cooperative or Health and Social Care Group.)
NHS guidelines and the Standing Rules Regulations require local Clinical Commissioning Groups (formerly Primary Care Trusts) to assess anyone who appears potentially eligible for Continuing Healthcare.
It doesn’t matter how much or how little money you have, the first question anyone in ‘authority’ should ask you is about your health needs, not your money. However, many people find that they are assessed first by the local authority, to test their financial means. As a result, they end up paying for care, and yet families report there will often have been no assessment for Continuing Healthcare.
It is this mistake that has led to thousands of retrospective claims for Continuing Healthcare being made. The BBC’s File on 4 programme on 18/11/14: Continuing Healthcare – The Secret Fund, also mentioned the 40,000 retrospective cases currently awaiting review.
If your local authority does a means test before you’ve been assessed for NHS Continuing Care, this can put the local authority in a potential unlawful position. Why? Because your care needs could be beyond the local authority’s legal remit for providing care, and you could end up wrongly paying. A Continuing Healthcare assessment needs to be carried out to clarify who is actually responsible for paying.
Before you start paying for care…
The financial information on this site is a brief introduction and is not financial advice. Always take professional advice from a qualified independent financial adviser before making any decisions based on this information and before paying for care. Make sure the adviser not only understands elderly care and later life matters, but also understands the NHS’s duty to pay for care through NHS Continuing Healthcare funding.