So what's it all about? Here is some general information on topics raised in the Care in the UK season. For the latest advice and announcements on the care system, consult the specialist organisations listed on the Contacts page.
Scotland is the only part of the UK to introduce free personal care for older people both in care homes and at home but everyone in the UK pays their ‘hotel’ charges in care homes, provided they have the means to do so. How much you pay depends on the care you need and how much your council decides it will pay towards your care.
How much will the council pay?
Your local council will carry out a financial assessment which looks at how much savings and property (known as capital) you have and your income (for example, pensions or state benefits). There are differences depending on where you live.
How does the council work it out?
Anything less than £13,000 in savings and property will not be taken into account. However, you may still have to pay something towards your care if you have other income (for example, pensions or state benefits).
If you have between £13,000 and £21,500 in capital, you will have to pay some of the costs of your care.
If you have more than £21,500 in capital, you will have to pay all costs for your care until the value falls below £21,500.
This information was correct in April 2007 but the figures are set by Government and may change each year. For the latest advice and announcements on the care system, consult the specialist organisations listed on the Contacts page.
Will I have to sell my home?
The council will take the value of your home into account. although not if you are being assessed for care in your own home.
The council will disregard the value of your property for the first 12 weeks of your stay in a care home. This is to give you time to decide what you want to do with your property. You may choose to rent it or sell it. If you have a spouse or someone permanently registered as living in your home, they will not be forced to move or sell.
Warning: if you pass on your house to relatives before going into a care home, you still may be assessed on how much it’s worth.
What help can I get in paying for care?
Make sure that you claim all the benefits you are entitled to. More than £2 billion is left unclaimed by older people each year. If you need help to pay for the care you need, ask your council's social services if they can help.
The council can make enquiries about whether or not your spouse would be able to pay for your care.
Your local council might ask a friend or a relative if they can top up your fees.
If you have more complex health needs, you may be eligible for what’s known as 'continuing NHS healthcare' which is free.
If you have been kept in hospital under certain sections of the Mental Health Act, you may be eligible for free care when you go home. More information is available from Help the Aged, Age Concern and the Alzheimeers Society. Find links to these organisations and other specialist organisations on the Contacts page.