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The CSCI annual report ‘The State of Social Care’ published today highlights the need for Government to radically re-think the way older people are assessed for eligibility to care services and support. NHFA Care Advice Line has seen that older people, particular those who have to fund their own care, are being left with their families to make life changing decisions without any help or support at what is perhaps the most vulnerable time of their lives.
Local Authority Social Service Departments are failing to provide care assessments or offering inadequate care packages because they lack the funds to do so.

Older people failing at home or being discharged from hospital are either being assessed and offered inadequate home care packages or not assessed at all and being discharged to find their own care home without any support. The consequences are that people could be choosing inadequate or inappropriate care and missing out on important financial support to which the system says they should get.
Financial support being denied can include the Twelve Week Property Disregard1 funding worth around £3,000, where local authorities should support people as if they were entitled to State funding for the first 12 weeks of permanent residential care.
It can often take months for an older person to sell their homes to pay for care but many, without advice are missing out on the deferred loan scheme2 from local authorities and/or Attendance Allowance and Pension Credit Severe Disability Premium worth £112.95 for each week the property, they need to sell is on the market.

Philip Spiers, Managing Director of NHFA Care Fees Advice says “These problems are clearly a result of the under-funding of a system that’s bursting at the seams. It’s a disgrace and it’s not just about money peoples’ lives are at risk. They could be choosing care that is inappropriate if their needs were assessed or is more expensive than the local authority would be prepared to pay for if their money was to run out. The consequences of being forced to move to a different care home or the family feeling obliged to pay substantial top-ups is a real fear for many.”

These problems can be avoided if people know their rights. Anyone in this situation should pick up the phone and call the care advice line. NHFA Care Advice and information is free and available to all regardless of means and combines care fees advice with the complexities of local authority charging and assessment procedures, health authority responsibilities and DWP welfare benefits.
Copies of the NHFA Long Term Care Guide and detailed information sheets can be obtained from NHFA, St Leonards House, Mill Street, Eynsham, Oxford, OX29 4JX, through the Care Advice Line 0800 99 88 33, or website www.nhfa.co.uk

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Notes for Editors

The Commission for Social Care and Inspection Report ‘The State of Social Care in England 2006/07 can be downloaded from the CSCI website here:
http://www.csci.org.uk/about_us/publications/state_of_social...

1Twelve Week Property Disregard
People moving to care homes permanently and who have a property can have its value disregarded and receive financial support towards the fees from the local authority for up to 12 weeks from the date of entering care. They will be expected to contribute their income less £20.45 a week personal expenses towards the fees. To be eligible: You must be assessed as needing permanent residential care, your other capital apart from the value of the property must be below £21,500 and your income inadequate to meet the full cost of the care. The financial assistance from the local authority is from the date of being assessed as requiring permanent residential care for a period of twelve weeks, or less if the property sells. The twelve week property disregard is mandatory and local authorities are under a statutory obligation to apply it once they are aware of a person to whom it applies.
2The Deferred Payments Agreement
People who have not been able to or do not wish to sell their homes to pay for their care may enter into a deferred payments agreement with the local authority. The contribution from the local authority will be a loan secured against the property’s value. This facility is available if other assets are less than the £21,500 and are insufficient to cover the fees.

Contact Philip Spiers T: 01865 733000 M: 07989 383 422 E: philipspiers@nhfa.co.uk
or Irene Borland Care Advice Line Manager T: 01865 733000 E: ireneborland @nhf.co.uk

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of NHFA Care fees Advice in the following categories: Health, Business & Finance, for more information visit http://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.