How to fund your long-term care: a beginner’s guide

There are many options for funding long-term care and they can often be complicated. So if you or a loved one need to pay for care at home or in a care home, it’s important to know the facts.

How much will you need to pay for long-term care ?

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How much you’ll need to pay depends on:

  • your health and mobility
  • what level of help and support you need
  • the value of your savings, assets and income
  • what local council or NHS funding you might be entitled to.

You could end up paying for all of it, some of it or nothing at all.

NHS continuing healthcare

If you have a disability or complex medical problem, you might qualify for free NHS continuing healthcare (CHC) if you’re an adult, or free NHS continuing care (CC) if you’re under 18. In Scotland this is known as Hospital Based Complex Clinical Care.

Not many people know about it, so it’s important to find out if you qualify and get an assessment.

This is a package of healthcare that’s arranged and funded by the NHS in England, Northern Ireland and Wales  It’s provided for you at home, or in a care home, nursing home or hospice.In Scotland, Hospital Based Complex Clinical Care will fully fund but only in a hospital. 

You’re more likely to qualify if you have mostly healthcare needs rather than social care needs. In other words, you need a nurse or medical attention rather than a carer.

If you live in Northern Ireland, Continuing Health Care is provided by your local Health and Social Care Trust.

If you don’t qualify for NHS Continuing Health Care you may qualify for NHS Funded Nursing Care, but anly if you are in a care home.

Local authority funding for long-term care

Your local council (or Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland) might be able to help you with the costs of a care home.

Or, if you prefer and it’s appropriate, they can help you stay in your own home by providing carers, support for carers, equipment and specialist services.

Exactly how much funding you receive will depend on:

  • your individual needs – based on a care needs assessment, and
  • how much you can afford to pay towards the costs of care yourself – based on a financial assessment.

Your local council or trust can arrange care services for you or you can choose to receive direct payments and organise things yourself.

Self-funding your long-term care

The biggest fear about funding long-term care is that you’ll be forced to sell your home if you need to move into a care home.

Fortunately, if you need care in your own home its value isn’t counted. This is also the case if you move into a care home, but your partner or another dependent, elderly or frail relative continue to live in your own home.

Depending on your circumstances, you might not qualify for funding from the NHS or your local council. Even if you do, the amount you receive might not be enough to completely cover your care costs either at home or in a care home.

If this happens, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to top up any contributions, or if you have to pay for it all yourself.

Claim the benefits you’re entitled to

Even if you have to pay for care, you might still be entitled to claim some benefits.

These benefits aren’t means tested, so you could get them if your health needs are great enough, regardless of your income and savings:

  • Attendance Allowance, if you’ve reached State Pension age.
  • Personal Independence Payment (which is replacing Disability Living Allowance), if you’re aged 16 or over but under State Pension age.
  • Disability Living allowance, for a person aged under 16 (or you’re older but your claim started some time ago).

There are other benefits that you might also be able to claim, depending on your circumstances.

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Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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