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Do I have to sell my home to pay for care? And how does the local authority work out the care home fees I should pay?

Do I have to sell my home to pay for care?

Your ability to pay for care will be worked out through a means test. Your home will not be included if you receive care and support at home or if you go into a care home on a short-term or temporary basis. If you move into a care home permanently, your home will not be included if, for example, your partner still lives there or, in certain circumstances, a relative.

Currently, if your capital is above £23,250 you’re likely to have to pay your care fees in full. If your capital is under £23,250 you might get some help from the local council, but you may still need to contribute towards the fees.

How does the local authority work out the care home fees I should pay?

If the local council is arranging your care home, they’ll do a means test to decide how much you should pay towards it, and they may take into account the value of your home. A means test is a financial assessment where the local council calculates how much you need to pay towards the cost of your care.

The means test will look at your capital and income, such as your savings, property, investments, pensions and any benefits you’re eligible for (even if you’re not claiming them). Certain types of income and capital are ignored in the means test. For example, certain types of benefits, such as the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment, cannot be counted.

If your capital is above £23,250 you’re likely to have to pay your care fees in full. If your capital is under £23,250 you might get some help from the local authority, but you may still need to pay a contribution to the fees.

Will my home have to be included in the means test?

In some situations, your home won’t be taken into account in the means test. There are a few circumstances where this applies:

If you need short-term or temporary care in a care home, your home won’t be in the means test.

If your care home is permanent, it won’t be counted if it’s still occupied by:

  • your partner or former partner, unless they are estranged from you
  • your estranged or divorced partner IF they are also a lone parent
  • a relative who is aged 60 or over
  • a relative who is disabled
  • a child of yours aged under 18

If your property is going to be included in the permanent care home means test, the council must ignore it for the first 12 weeks of your care. This is to give you space to decide what to do with your property and paying fees, for example whether to enter into a deferred payment agreement with the council. You will likely qualify for help with fees from the council for the 12 week period if your other capital assets are under £23,250.

If you would like a chat to discuss further, please feel free to contact me for a free 30-minute consultation.

Sophie Campbell

01637 800 306

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