How else can I get my care funded?
People are understandably worried about how they are going to pay for the help they need in order to have full and interesting lives in to the future or indeed to manage the most basic of day to day activities.
You may, if your needs are considered serious enough, qualify for a personal budget or receive commissioned services from the Council. However, this may well not meet all your wishes or all of the costs that you incur, as Council help will be subject to a financial assessment.
In coming up with a plan as to how to cope with this you need to consider the following.
Firstly, not all help you can get needs to cost money. Members of your family, neighbours or friends may be able to help you achieve some of the things you want to do without any payment – things from collecting prescriptions or providing lifts, to helping you get up in the morning (see our advice on this). Local voluntary groups or churches may also provide relevant informal services like luncheon clubs or someone to accompany you to activities of your choice for free. Lastly some more formal services may still be free at the point of delivery.
All health care is supposed to be free, and if your need for help and assistance with daily living is due primarily to your ongoing health problems, then you may be entitled to what is called “Continuing Health Care”. Under such circumstances the NHS picks up the tab. Other services may also be free, including help coming home from hospital, or help with maintaining your home.
If you have difficulty getting around or need help with personal care then you may well qualify for social security benefits that could help meet the cost of care or any other costs directly deriving from any disability. Unlike social care funds from the Council disability-specific benefits will not be subject to means-testing, but most benefits are taken into account when the Council is considering whether to fund your care. The rules are such that you are still likely to be better off if you do claim the benefits to which you are entitled.
Fund your own Care
If you do not receive any care funded by the Council then you are obviously free to purchase your own care if you can afford to do so or if your family wishes to help you out with this. You may also be able to top up the care that the Council is paying for in your own home, by buying additional hours or additional services from your paid carer or other agency. If you have to move into Residential Care you will not just be constrained by the financial assessment rules but also by the fact that the Council will have limits on the fee levels that they will agree to pay. Your choice of home will increase if you have someone who is able and willing to top-up the fees paid. On the other hand because the Council would be ultimately responsible for paying the fees if you defaulted on your payments, or indeed may pay the full fees up front and collect the balance from your source of topping-up, they will need convincing of the reasonableness of the proposed arrangement before agreeing to it.
It may be possible to find charitable funds to help pay for some of the services that you need, particular if this is one-off expenditure such as adaptations to properties e.g. there may be charitable trusts related to a particular profession that you have been a member of in the past. You will almost certainly need advice or help with exploring this. One source of advice and information about this is Turn2Us , who provide a free charitable grant search service.
If you are concerned about how you are going to be able to afford the care that you need, particularly when you are older and frailer, it may be worth seeking the assistance of a financial adviser. A not-for-profit organisation that might be able to assist with this is the Society of Later Life Advisers.
Most sources of help available will be very locality-specific, and you are likely to need to make enquiries locally to follow up on any of these ideas. If you do want to find out more we suggest that you look at sources of advice and information first.
As with everything else the important thing is to carefully consider what the consequences of your situation are, what you want to do about it, what you want to achieve, and what resources you have available. Then with this information make a plan.