Decisions around care for yourself or for loved ones can be complicated, so here in this article, we aim to clarify some important points related to paying for care. Public sources of payment may be available, depending on the needs of each individual person, so learning about the finer points around paying for care could save you time and money, as well as minimise stress and confusion.
Social care v. health care: what’s the difference when paying for care?
In brief, health care is free, but social care is not. Health care is often described as the care needed to treat, manage, or prevent a disease, illness, injury or disability, while social care has more to do with activities around daily life and concerns like maintaining independence. Though the differences between these two approaches to care might seem clear, confusion can result because health care needs and social care needs often appear to overlap. After all, many aspects of social care are now being understood as ways to prevent many kinds of afflictions. For this reason, the overlapping of service descriptions is unhelpful, and the grey area can sometimes cause problems for people who see themselves as eligible for public funding. It might be a good idea to prioritise spending some time researching options and becoming as well informed as possible before committing to a process or care provider.
Using private funds to pay for care
More and more people receiving care are self-funded, and these individuals often supplement their savings with financial options like care funding plans, which are also known as Immediate Needs Annuity (INAs), deferred payment schemes, and equity release. To some, these options might feel daunting, as they often involve significant amounts of paperwork as well as the possibility of selling off parts of personal assets. Organisations like SOLLA, or the Society of Later Life Advisors, have been created to support individuals in need of guidance around these matters, and they are readily available to provide you with help navigating important and complex financial matters.
State support for care
Funding from public sources might be available depending on a person’s medical situation and eligibility. Two sources of public funding exist: NHS Continuing Healthcare and local authority funding.
A person with complicated medical needs and/or a disability may meet the requirements for NHS Continuing Healthcare, which is tax-free NHS funding for health care; this funding will also cover the recipient’s social care. In these cases, a pre-assessment must be performed by a social worker or a representative from the NHS to determine if a full assessment is in order.
Applications to the local authority may also lead to contributions to paying for care. The first step here is to request a needs assessment and a care plan, either directly from the local authority or from a GP. These assessments do not cost anything, and they can sometimes be performed over the phone or even online. Depending on the outcome of the needs assessment, the local authority may decide to contribute in non-monetary ways; meals, transportation, modifications to the home, and special equipment are all examples of ways your local authority can be helpful. As well, a financial assessment that examines an individual’s assets, income, and capital may take place in order to find out if financial funding from the local authority is a possibility. If this funding is granted it can be paid directly to carers or delivered as a stipend to the individual to support the cost of services.
Funding for care is a complex matter, and one that might inspire worried feelings; Guardian Angel Carers are here to discuss your situation in as much detail as is helpful to you. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions.