Attendance Allowance is a weekly benefit for people of State Pension age who have a long-term physical or mental disability that means they need extra help. This includes people with dementia. It is paid directly to the person with the disability and is available in England, Scotland and Wales.
If you (or a person you care for) needs attention and/or supervision, and has done so for six months or more, you could be eligible for Attendance Allowance.
There are two rates of funding, depending on how much care the person needs:
Attendance Allowance is not means-tested and payment is not affected by your savings or income. It is tax free and does not depend on National Insurance Contributions. Unfortunately, you are not eligible for Attendance Allowance if you live in residential care funded by the Local Authority (Adult Social Services), but you can claim it if you are a self funder living in residential care.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is for people who have care and/or mobility needs and are under pension age.
As with Attendance Allowance there are different payment levels depending on how much help you need.
To check if you are eligible please click here
Carers Allowance If you care for someone at least 35 hours per week you may be entitled to carers allowance. You do not have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for. It is currently £69.70 per week.
If you care for more than one person, you do not get paid extra, you can only claim once. If you share caring responsibilities with someone else, only one of you can claim Carer’s Allowance. If you are eligible for carers allowance you will automatically receive National Insurance Credits.
You may also be entitled to financial help towards respite from caring, however, this is means tested and you will need to have a Carers Assessment from your local authority (Adult Social Care) to see if you are eligible.
Pension Credit gives you extra money to help with your living costs if you’re over State Pension age and on a low income. Pension Credit can also help with housing costs such as ground rent or service charges, health costs such as dentist, optician fees, hearing tests, and even travel to hospital – depending on the level of Pension Credit you are eligible for. You can be eligible for Pension Credit and Attendance Allowance, one does not make you ineligible for the other.
NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS) – If you live permanently in a residential or nursing home and you or your partner are on a low income and have capital of under £16,000, or £23,250 you may be eligible for the NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS) for full or partial help with health costs. Such as:
You need to fill in a form called HC1, available from the NHS website. You could also get it from your local pharmacy or NHS hospital.
Remember to take your letter of eligibility with you to appointments.
You might be able to get a refund on some health costs paid before you applied for the NHS LIS or before you started receiving Guarantee Pension Credit.
You can get a refund on any prescription charges you have to pay while you wait for your certificate. You can also do this for any charges you have paid in the three months before you applied for the NHS LIS. Just ask the chemist for an NHS refund receipt – this is called the FP57 form. You should ask for it when you pay, as you can’t get the form later.
You can claim a refund on other charges paid within the last three months by filling in the relevant HC5 form. Call 0300 330 1343 or visit the NHS Low Income Scheme webpage to get the relevant HC5 form.
Blue Badges help people with disabilities or health conditions park closer to their destination. You can apply for a badge for yourself or on behalf of somebody else. You can find out more from your local council, or contact us.
You may also be entitled to a disabled persons railcard. It costs £20 but your would save 1/3 off rail travel. Check eligibility here.
Top tip: Many venues and attractions, such as theatres and Zoo’s offer free or discounted tickets for carers or family assisting someone who is in receipt of disability related allowances such as Attendance Allowance, PIP, or Disability Living Allowance. At the time of booking it’s worth checking in the discounts section to see if this is on offer. You will need proof of eligibility, such as showing your Attendance Allowance certificate or letter.
NHS hearing tests are free and can be booked through your GP. If you can’t get to a face-to-face hearing test without help, you may be eligible for a free check at home. Ask your GP for details.
If you have an NHS hearing aid, you can get free batteries and repairs from any NHS hearing aid service. Ask your audiologist (hearing specialist) when you next see them.
RNID offer free online hearing checks. It’s not the same as a full hearing test carried out by an audiologist (hearing specialist), but it’s a quick and reliable way to find out if you need one.
Paying for care at home or residential care
If you have little or no eligible assets, your local authority (Adult Social Services) has a legal obligation to help with some or all the costs of your care needs.
Adult Social Services will carry out a care needs assessment. If this concludes you need care at home, residential or nursing care, they will carry out a means test to work out whether you qualify for help with the cost.
If you have savings and capital below £14,250: The local authority will contribute towards your care fees, but you will also have to pay towards them out of any income, including pension income.
If you have savings and capital worth between £14,250 and £23,250: The local authority will contribute towards your care fees, but you will also have to contribute towards them. You will pay £1 per week for every £250 in savings and capital you have between £14,250 and £23,250 and contribute most of your weekly income, which includes pension income.
If your care is residential and is the responsibility (i.e. they pay towards your care) of the local authority, then you are entitled to a personal expense allowance (PEA) which is a weekly amount of £25.65 that the local authority must leave you from your income to pay for personal expenses. You should not be expected to use your PEA to pay for any aspect of your care that has been assessed as necessary to meet your care needs.
If you are receiving care at home and you contribute towards your care costs, the local authority must leave you with enough money to cover living costs – this is known as minimum income guarantee (MIG). The amount differs dependant on your circumstances so please contact us to discuss in more detail.
If you have savings and capital above the minimum eligibility criteria (£14,250), you may also be entitle to Savings Credit Disregard, which is an amount of money in addition to the PEA or MIG.
If you have savings and capital worth over £23,250: You will have to pay all your care fees. This is called self-funding. However, if your savings reduce to less than £23,250, you should contact the local authority for a financial assessment review.
Please note: Re savings and capital – the value of your home will not be taken into consideration if any of the following people still live there:
This is known as a mandatory disregard of the value of your property. In some cases, the local authority may also choose to ignore the value of your home in other circumstances – for example, if someone gave up their own home to live with and care for you. However, if that person moves out or your home is sold, the value will then be considered in the assessment.
If the local authority determines that you must sell your home to pay for your care, you can ask them for a 12-week disregard to give you time to sell the house, or you can ask for a council loan, or a deferred payment agreement. If you want to know more about this, please give us a call on 0344 324 6589 or pop in to one of our drop-in’s.
You can choose to have care at home instead of residential care. If you are self-funding (because you have money and assets above the threshold) you can organise your own care (we can help you to this). If the local authority are contributing or paying for your care, then you can ask them for a direct payment to enable you to organise your own care (we can help you with this too). Whilst organising your own care may seem daunting, it means that you have more control over where, when and who delivers your care.
Care costs are likely to be at least £700 per week, up to a possible £2,000 a week depending on the type of care home you choose.
Please be aware, the 7-year Inheritance Tax gifting rules do not apply to social care. Any past disposal of assets, over any length of time, may be considered as deprivation of finances, if the disposal happened at a time when you knew you were likely to need care in the future.
If your needs are considered to be intense, complex or unpredictable then you may be entitled to NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) – it is a fully-funded package of care that some people are entitled to receive as a result of disability, accident or illness. It covers the full cost of the person’s care including residential care if needed.
NHS Continuing Healthcare funding is available to adults living in England who have intense, complex or unpredictable care needs. Unlike local authority funding, it is not means tested. There is a simple assessment that can be carried out by your GP, social worker or hospital staff to determine if you qualify for a full assessment.
The assessment is based on ‘needs’ not a particular diagnosis, if found eligible the NHS will fully fund the cost of your care, whether it be care at home, or residential.
Here is some more information that may be useful for you.
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