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Avoiding Care Fees: The Cost of Care

Part One – The cost of care – Who pays?

Part Two – Deprivation of Assets – The Law

Part Three – Challenging a Local Authority decision

Most of us don’t make plans for long term care and are faced with choosing care at a time of crisis. With little time and no previous experience of the care and benefit system it can be over whelming and it may not seem fair that some people are financially supported and other aren’t.

Care from the NHS is free, but if you need Social Care this is usually means tested and roughly 50% will be paying for care – ‘self-funders’.

Cost of Care – Residential care costs, on average, more than £30,000 a year. A nursing home can cost £40,000 a year or more if you live in the South East, when it can be £10,000 a year more and for ’self-funders’ who can pay more for a place in the same home as someone who is supported by a Local Authority or funded by NHS Continuing Healthcare.

Is anything FREE? Yes! There are services that a Local Authority must provide FREE of charge and some care and support that can be paid for by either the NHS and/or the Local Authority. There are also non-means tested Welfare Benefits for someone living with an illness or disability with care and supervision needs. 

What is a ‘Self -Funder’? Should you be paying for your care? You will be considered able to pay for the cost of care if you have assets (that are not disregarded) of over £23’250 (England 2019/20). Often a property is not included during the Social Care financial assessment and there are some income and capital disregards that people also assume will be included. Expert advice can save you time and money.

Can I avoid paying for care? Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I give my house or money away?
  2. What can I spend my money on?
  3. Can I put my house in Trust to avoid paying for care?
  4. Do I have to sell my house to pay for care?
  5. What is ‘Deliberate Deprivation’ or Deprivation of Assets?
  6. What if I don’t agree with a NHS/Local Authority decision?

Adverts claiming to help you to avoid paying for care may seem attractive but if you are considering reducing your assets to access Social Care then think about WHEN and WHY you are doing it. 

Most of the questions have the same answer – If avoiding paying for care is a substantial motive for putting assets into a trust or gifting money or a property, then a local authority may assess this as “deliberate deprivation”.

The timing is important. The council will consider when you reduced your assets and see if, at the time, you could reasonably expect that you would need care and support. If you were fit and healthy and could not have imagined needing care and support at the time, then it may not count as deprivation of assets.

Having ‘Mental Capacity’ to make a gift, create a Trust or arrange to pay for care must be considered. The My Care Planner explains ‘Mental Capacity’ and ‘Making Decisions’ for someone else, Lasting Power of Attorney, Enduring Power of Attorney and Court of Protection Deputy. 

Avoiding paying for care may not be the reason for reducing your assets or making a gift. Expert advice can help you to consider ALL your funding options and provide access to specialist care fees Financial and Legal advisers who are members of the Care Adviser Network.

Nicola Taylor

Nicola Taylor

Nik is an experienced Care Funding and Benefit adviser, trainer and consultant. Working with Citizen’s Advice began her passion for Welfare Rights which led to her working with local and central Government. She is the author of several books/guides and is dedicated to helping people make informed care choices and care funding decisions.

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