If your mother has capital of over £23,250 (in England; £24,000 in Wales) she will not qualify for assistance from the Local Authority until such a time as her capital is below this amount. Any private care fees will therefore have to be met from existing capital and income. (If she has assets below £23,250, she would get increasing help on a sliding scale down to the lower limit of £14,250, where no contribution is needed).
Most savings and assets are included in a means test, but some confusion has surrounded the subject of whether or not a person’s home is included. To help clarify the situation, a person’s home is not included in the means test if:
- a child under 16 lives in the property;
- they’re in the first 12 weeks of needing permanent care;
- care is being provided on a temporary basis.
- another parent still resides in the home;
- a relative over 60 resides in the house;
- a disabled relative lives at the property;
The 12-week property disregard
As mentioned above, a persons’ property is excluded from the means test for the first 12 weeks following admission to a care home (once a permanent contract is established). This means that when an individual is assessed if any support will be given by the local authority, the value of the individual’s property will not be included. If the remaining capital falls inside the current threshold, then the local authority should assist you with the payment of your care fees. If additional money is needed to ‘top-up’ the money provided by the local authority, the individual is able to pay this themselves.
If the property is sold within these 12 weeks, the disregard ceases to apply from the date of sale.
The money paid out by the local authority during the first 12 weeks is not normally repayable.
Deferred Payment Agreement (Government Loan Scheme)
If, after the first 12 weeks, the property has not been sold, the local authority can continue to pay towards the care fees, under the “deferred payment agreement”, but this money is repayable once the property is sold.