There’s a lot of information available on the web and also from various professional advisers about care fees and who pays what when you need full time care.
However, much of this care fees advice is misleading
Why? Because it usually starts from the basis that, if you have savings or assets over £23,250 (in England), you have to pay for all of your care. End of story.
This is not true!
Whether or not you pay for care does NOT depend on your money or whether you have a house; it depends on your care needs only.
If you find yourself reading that you always have to pay for care if you have savings or a house – or if someone tells you that’s how it is – be aware that they are only giving you half the picture.
Here’s what you should actually be told right at the start:
- If you have health needs and you need full time care, health care and nursing care is free of charge – in law – no matter whether you’re in a care home or in your own home. (It can be any type of care home – residential, nursing or other.)
- Full NHS nursing care funding is called NHS Continuing Healthcare and it covers 100% of your care costs. In a care home this includes accommodation, food, heat, all care, everything – and you don’t have to pay anything, no matter how much money you have.
- The only way to know whether you’ll be eligible for this full NHS funding is to have an assessment for NHS Continuing Healthcare – first – before anyone starts talking about means testing or tries to take away your pension or your home.
However, what almost always happens at the start is that you’re simply told you have to pay for your care. It’s the wrong way round.
The Dept of Health defines NHS Continuing Healthcare as follows:
“NHS Continuing Healthcare means a package of ongoing care that is arranged and funded solely by the NHS where the individual has been found to have a ‘primary health need’… Such care is provided to an individual aged 18 or over, to meet needs that have arisen as a result of disability, accident or illness.”
If you’re told you ‘won’t be eligible’ for this free NHS care funding, question the source of that information. If you’re ‘not eligible’ for NHS funding, it means by default that you simply require ‘social’ care instead.
You can read pages and pages of information about care fees, and speak to a lot of different people, and still be unaware that the first thing that should happen when you need full time care is an assessment for full NHS funding.
The people who have absolutely no excuse for failing to inform you about this are, of course, health and social care employees themselves, and yet they may well tell you that you don’t need nursing care (when in fact you do!), or that you don’t need ‘enough’ nursing care to qualify for Continuing Care funding.
Any attempt to get you to pay for care under false pretences or without you having had the proper NHS assessments can be considered an attempt to defraud.
So, remember these key things at all times when you’re exploring the subject of care fees:
- Generally speaking, nursing care is free, in law, in the UK.
- The landmark Coughlan case (where Pamela Coughlan succeeded in securing full NHS funding through the Court of Appeal) clarified the law about NHS Continuing Care funding, and your own health needs should be measured against those of Pamela Coughlan.
- Be alert for people trying to put you off having an assessment: 7 most outrageous reasons for not receiving an NHS Continuing Care assessment
Be sure to learn as much as you can about nursing care funding and how to get assessed for NHS Continuing Healthcare – before you start paying any care fees.