People often ask us if they will be means tested for care home fees and assume that their relatives or loved ones are ineligible for Continuing Healthcare Funding on the basis that they have substantial assets or capital which would preclude them from obtaining NHS Funding. The simple answer is that this is a matter of “health, not wealth” – that is our moto which we have been advocating for many years now.
Essentially, if your relative has less than £23,250 in capital (correct as at September 2017), then they will not have to pay for the cost of their care. It will then become a matter whether the NHS or Local Authority meets the cost of care below this threshold.
Conversely, if your relative has over £23,250 in capital, then in principle, they may be asked to pay for their own care. However, eligibility for continuing healthcare funding is not means tested – again, we repeat, it is a matter of health not wealth. Therefore, if your relative has sufficient health needs across the twelve Care Domains and those needs meet the four characteristics, namely, nature, intensity, complexity and unpredictability of needs, then in principle they should ordinarily qualify for Continuing Healthcare funding, regardless of whether they are a millionaire, or billionaire. Wealth is irrelevant. It is the health needs that are paramount.
If, of course, your relative does not meet the criteria for eligibility for NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding i.e their health needs are not sufficient to trigger for NHS funding, then unless they are below the capital threshold, they will be asked to pay or contribute towards their cost of care.
Anyone can qualify for continuing healthcare funding regardless of their financial circumstances, as long as they have a primary health need, then the responsibility for providing that health need lies with the NHS, – even if the individual is a Local Authority Care Home, or in a Private Nursing Home, or receiving care at home. It is the health need which is the important factor, not the place where the care is provided. Nevertheless, the NHS through their various processes may try and ‘persuade’ families that their relative does not meet the criteria for funding (whatever the excuse), and instead, try and and palm them off to the Local Authority for care to be provided by Social Services; or alternatively, if the patient is of financial means, to suggest that they pay for their care privately. It is estimated that over 100,000 people in the UK are incorrectly paying for their care, and which should be met by the NHS if they were assessed correctly at the outset and/or re-assessed in time as their health deteriorated.
Please feel free to browse our website which provides a wealth of free information online and also get a copy of our free Guide to Care Funding Issues which can be downloaded or we can send you a copy in the post.