Q: My Mother is quite wealthy. Is her local authority under any obligation to help her find the right Care Home?
A: Yes. The Local Authority has a duty to assess her care needs and ensure she has access to suitable care, even if she funds it.
Q: Can income from an annuity based Care Fees Plan be used to fund care at home?
A: Yes. Income can be used at any stage to fund either residential or home-based care. Note that if income is paid direct to the registered care provider it is tax-free, so discuss the best arrangements with whoever is providing care and the annuity company. If care is required, be sure to claim Attendance Allowance which is tax-free and not means tested.
Q: We have paid for my mother to be in a nursing home for three years. Her condition has now deteriorated and she requires continuous care. Are we entitled to more support?
A: You can ask that your mother is reassessed by the NHS. If she is in need of round the clock nursing, the NHS should pay for all of this as ‘continuing care’. If this was the situation for some time, then some of your fees may be refunded.
Q: My sister and I like the idea of buying a Care Fees Plan to pay for our mother’s care bills, but are concerned that it is money wasted if she dies soon afterwards.
A: Some care plans will automatically return some capital if the person dies in the first six months. After that if you want protection, you can insure for return of capital on death by buying capital protection.
Q: I have special dietary requirements, but the only care home that can meet these costs more than my local authority is willing to pay.
A: If you argue successfully that the home is the only one available locally that meets your assessed needs, the council should meet the full cost, as long as you fall below the £14,250 means-test lower threshold. If the authority still refuses but you have settled on this home, a top up will be required to meed the shortfall.
Q: My mother is soon to go into a care home and has a number of paintings worth in excess of £2,000 each, will these be included in her means test?
A: Paintings fall into the category of 'Personal Possessions' which are disregarded by Local Authorities when assessing how much you will be required to pay towards your care. However, it depends on the timing of the painting purchases, for example if your mother used money from her savings to buy them soon before or after developing care needs, then the Local Authority would probably view this as a form of 'deliberate deprivation of assets' which means the value of the paintings would be included in her financial assessment as a form 'notional capital'.
Q: What is the Checklist and Checklist Screening?
A: The NHS continuing healthcare checklist (revised November 2012) is a ‘light touch assessment’ document that is used to help identify people who may qualify for NHS continuing healthcare assessment and who should then receive a full assessment (a process known as ‘screening’).
Q: What is The Decision Support Tool (DST)?
A: The Decision support tool for NHS continuing healthcare (revised November 2012) helps to bring together and record evidence of an individual’s care needs in one document. It is used by the assessor during a full assessment, and helps to inform their decision about whether an individual is eligible for NHS continuing healthcare.