At B&M Care, we understand the importance of providing useful information to support you during your search for the perfect care home, for yourself or your loved ones. This blog aims to demystify means testing for care, including how and when to access financial assistance when funding your care. We understand that navigating care home fees and funding options can be overwhelming. That’s why this blog aims to take you through the means testing process and explore the options available.
Means testing, also known as a financial assessment, is a process where your local council evaluates your financial situation to determine the level of financial assistance they can offer for care home funding. This assessment considers factors such as income, savings, and property value.
Understanding the Impact of Means Testing for Care Funding
If your loved one requires support at home, the means test for care will focus on their income, savings, and assets, excluding the value of their property. This assessment helps calculate the amount they can contribute towards the care provided.
If the decision is made to move your loved one into a care home permanently, the means test will include the value of their property, alongside their income and savings. The means test will evaluate your capital, and place it in one of three categories to determine how much assistance you can receive:
- If your capital is over £23,250, you are not eligible for any assistance and you will be self-funding your care fees.
- If your capital falls between £14,250 and 23,250, the income assessed during the means test (for example, your pension) as well as a tariff income based on your capital assessment, will be used to pay the majority of your care, and the council will pay a remainder.
- Finally, if your capital is less than £14,250, you will pay towards your care home using just the income assessed in the means test, with no additional tariff, and the council will pay the rest of the fees.
Exemptions from Means Testing
Certain types of income, such as some disability benefits, are not considered during means testing. However, all other income is taken into account. We recommend ensuring that your loved one receives all the benefits they are entitled to, as the means test for care will assume they are receiving these benefits, even if they haven't claimed them yet. To find out what other benefits you may be entitled to, you can find out using the official government calculator.
How to Prepare for the Financial Assessment
To ensure a smooth financial assessment process, gather essential information about all earnings; pensions, benefits, savings, stocks, shares, and property. Don't forget to include any disability-related expenses they have, as these are crucial considerations during the assessment.
Keeping Your Property
The impact of means testing on property can be a significant concern. If a paid carer is required to come into the home, the value of the house won't be included in the financial assessment. However, if moving into a care home is necessary, the value of the property may be considered, except when a spouse or partner continues to live there.
Understanding the Results and Council Assistance
After the financial assessment, the council will provide a written record of their decision, including the amount your loved one needs to contribute and the assistance they will receive. If they qualify for council support, they'll receive a personal budget, which can be provided through direct payments or regular billing. We can help you understand these results and explore care funding options that align with your loved one's needs.
Regular Reassessment for Ongoing Care Support
The council regularly reassesses your loved one's financial situation, usually on an annual basis, to ensure their care funding remains appropriate and aligned with their needs.
Finding Out More
At B&M Care, we understand that exploring means testing for care can be daunting. We're here to support you in understanding the fees and funding options for your loved ones' care,providing unbiased factual information and guidance. Our commitment to providing exceptional care extends to helping you navigate care home fees and funding options.
We are happy to accept local authority funded care seekers at the majority of our care homes. To begin this process, the NHS offers an informative guide which you can read here.