The Care Act 2014 stipulates that a person who may be in need of care must have access to good quality information and advice from the first time they contact the local authority. They are entitled to an assessment. The purpose of this is to see if they meet certain eligibility criteria. This is called a ‘Needs Assessment’. The criteria for eligibility tends to be restricted those with high levels of need and therefore it can be difficult to get funding.
Start with the social care system, which means contacting the person’s local authority (council) and asking for an assessment of their needs to see if your loved one is eligible for local authority funding.
If they qualify for funding, the care is means-tested, which means that the person’s assets, including their savings and the value of their home, will be considered. They might qualify for care but may be expected to fully fund it. If you arrange care privately, the local authority would not oversee it and so your rights against that provider are entirely in the terms of the contract that you have with the agency. If the local authority provides that care, they have a statutory duty to ensure the care is meeting the person’s needs. If it isn’t, the person could use the local authority’s complaints system and they would look into what has been going wrong.
If the person is not considered eligible for financial support from the local authority, the authority should still give them information and advice about what care they need and how they can go about finding it. To find your local social services department, visit https://www.gov.uk/help-care-support
Here’s an overview of care available:
Attendance Allowance – This provided by the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) to those aged 65 and over who require help with personal care. It is not means-tested and is tax-free. There are two levels of financial assistance. A lower rate may apply if the person requires frequent or constant supervision during the day or at night, while a higher rate will apply if they require help and supervision throughout the day and night, or if they are terminally ill. For more information, visit the DWP website at https://www.gov.uk/attendance-allowance
To download an Attendance Allowance claim form from the website, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/attendance-allowance-claim-form
If your loved one receives Attendance Allowance, they could also obtain extra pension credit, housing benefit or council tax reduction. Speak to the DWP helpline. The amounts will be paid into their bank account directly each month if they obtain financial help.
If they are under the age of 65, they may be entitled to help from the Personal Independence Payment & Disability Living Allowance (PIP). This is gradually replacing the Disability Living Allowance and is also tax-free, payable every month. There are two rates, Daily Living Component and Mobility Component. Daily living is for those who need help with washing and dressing, preparing or eating food and managing medication. Mobility is for those who have trouble moving around and getting out. To qualify, the person must have had problems for at least three months and expect their needs to last for at least nine months. For information, visit https://www.gov.uk/pip/overview
NHS Continuing Healthcare – This is a package of care arranged and funded by the NHS that can be in any setting – in the person’s home, or in a care home. It is available in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, though the details below may be different in Northern Ireland.
If the person is eligible, it is free and is not means tested. The NHS will pay for services from a community nurse or a specialist therapist and associated social care needs such as personal care and domestic tasks.
Anyone over 18 years of age who is assessed as having a certain level of care needs may be entitled to NHS Continuing Healthcare. The assessment must show that the person has a ‘primary health need’. There are four elements that are assessed, as follows:
- Nature – the characteristics and type of the person’s needs and the effect those needs have on the person
- Complexity – the level of skills required to manage the person’s needs
- Intensity – the extent and severity of the person’s needs and the support needed to meet them
- Unpredictability – how hard it is to predict a change in the person’s needs and risks to the person if their needs are not adequately managed
For more information on NHS Continuing Healthcare in England, visit http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-care-and-support-guide/pages/nhs-continuing-care.aspx
For information about care in Scotland, visit http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Health-and-Social-Community-Care/NHS-Continuing-Care/
For information about NHS Continuing Care in Wales, visit http://www.wales.nhs.uk/continuingnhshealthcare
For information about NHS Continuing Care in Northern Ireland, contact your local health and social care trust. Find the nearest one by visiting http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/health-and-social-care-trusts
You might also be entitled to a Carer’s Allowance (£62.70 per week at the time of writing). This is paid to those who provide regular and substantial support and you may be entitled to it if:
- You are caring for someone for 35 hours a week or more
- You are aged 16 or over
- You are not in full time education
- You don’t earn over £116 per week (after deductions)
For more information, visit http://www.carersorg or call the Carer’s UK Advice Line on 0808 808 7777.
Age UK has a free Advice Line on 0800 169 2081. Visit http://www.ageuk.org.uk/no-one/we-provide-advice/ and entering your location.
The Carers UK website can also provide help and support. You can also call The Carers UK advice line on 0808 808 7777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can obtain advice from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau or visit the website at https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk or call 03444 111 444 in England or in Wales call 03444 77 20 20.
Free help is also available from the Alzheimer’s Society’s National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 11 22.