If you need care at home or in a residential care home, the Local Authority can help with your care costs if you satisfy strict criteria about your financial situation and health. Social care funding by a Local Authority is subject to eligibility criteria based on the level of care need required, as well as being a means tested State Benefit.
How much the Local Authority will pay towards the costs of your care will depend on the care assessment and the means test.
If your financial assets (based on the current rules) including property have a total value of:
*The amount you are expected to pay is £1 a week for every £250 in assets over £14,250 you have (for example, if you have assets of £18,250, you would be expected to pay £16 a week [£4,000 = £250 x 16] towards care)
Depending upon your financial circumstances, you may have to contribute towards care home fees. Your local council will work out how much you may have to pay by doing a financial assessment.
Many people are motivated to transfer assets because they fear that they will have to sell a home to pay for care and wish to protect their family's inheritance. There is no foolproof way of avoiding the value of assets being taken into account for means testing. In most cases, the intention behind making gifts of assets is the most important factor. If a local authority believes that an asset has been given away with the intention of creating or increasing entitlement to means tested benefits, it may decide that the donor has notional capital of equivalent value to that of the asset given away.
For those who cannot afford the standard charge for care, local authorities will make an assessment of your ability to pay. This is reviewed annually, though a reassessment can be requested at any time.