The search for a care home can be a very stressful and difficult time in your life; whether you’re looking for a home for yourself or a loved one.
Having to look at your personal finances to work out your care home budget and what you are able to afford can be particularly stress-inducing – we get it!
In fact, a whopping 96% of UK Care Seekers believe it’s difficult to find funding for a care home.
To learn more about the different types of benefits available and which you might be entitled to, read on for our handy guide.
What benefits can I claim in a care home?
When doing research into care home fees and funding, lots of people are unaware of the benefits and schemes they could be eligible for, meaning they miss out on the opportunity to save a few pennies!
We recommend that you thoroughly read up on care home benefits, even if you have already moved into a care home.
Some of the most common benefits and allowances you’ll come across include:
- Pension Credit
- Universal Credit
- Attendance Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Personal Expenses Allowance (PEA)
- Carer’s Allowance
- Disability Benefits
To find out a bit more about these common benefits, read on…
Pension credit, or PC, is a weekly payment that gives you a bit of extra money to guarantee you some income and help with your living costs.
To qualify, you will need to be over State Pension age (65 years old) and on a low income.
Pension Credit is means-tested, meaning that when you apply for it, your income will be assessed to work out how much you can get. Your income includes your State Pension, any other pensions, your earnings from both employment and self-employment and social security benefits, including Carer’s Allowance.
If you are single, you will be guaranteed a weekly payment of £177.10, which goes up to £270.30 if you have a partner.
Bear in mind that even if you are not on a low income, you may still be eligible if you have savings, housing costs, you are caring for someone, if you have children, or if you have a disability.
To get more granular, PC can actually be divided into two parts:
- Guarantee Credit: a guaranteed level of income for people over State Pension age (66). Guarantee Credit is calculated by looking at your income and comparing it with an amount the government assesses you will need to live on.
- Savings Credit: this is paid to those who reached State Pension age before 6th April 2016, so if this isn’t you, you can’t make a claim for it. Savings Credit is calculated by looking at the amount of retirement provision you have made.
More info: https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit
Universal Credit is a monthly payment that helps you with your living costs. Universal Credit helps people who are out of work, cannot work, or are on a low income.
If you are already claiming Universal Credit, you may be able to carry on receiving it when you go into a care home. If you aren’t currently claiming Universal Credit, you might be able to make a new claim for it when you live in a care home.
It’s worth noting that Universal Credit is replacing other benefits, including Housing Benefit, Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) and Income-related Employment and Support Allowance.
Attendance Allowance, or AA, is a weekly benefit that helps people who are assessed as having an illness, a physical or mental disability or a long-term health condition. Attendance Allowance means that the person in question can receive care day or night to keep them safe and secure. The rates of Attendance Allowance vary, depending on the level of care and support that the person needs. To check out the latest rules and benefits, head to the UK government website.
You are only eligible to receive Attendance Allowance if you have reached State Pension age (66). If you live in a care home, you can continue getting Attendance Allowance if you are paying for your care home costs yourself; i.e. you are self-funding. If you are receiving funding from your local authority, you will receive AA for the first 28 days only. If for any reason you move out of the care home, the payments will start back up again.
Constant Attendance Allowance
Constant Attendance Allowance, or CAA, is a benefit for those who are ill or disabled. To qualify for CAA, you must already receive Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit or a War Disablement Pension and need round-the-clock care and support as a result of your injury or disability. There are different rates of CAA depending on how serious your disability or illness is – and the level of care you require. These rates are:
- Exceptional: £146.40
- Intermediate: £109.90
- Full day rate: £73.20
- Part day rate: £36.60
Personal Independence Payment
Personal Independence Payment, or PIP, can be used to help you with additional costs if you are classed as having a long-term physical or mental condition, or a disability.
The amount of PIP you are entitled to depends on how your condition affects you, rather than the condition itself, meaning it is awarded on a case-by-case basis.
To apply for Personal Independence Payment, you will need to be assessed by a healthcare professional, who will assess your condition, how it affects your day-to-day life and how much help you need. PIP is assessed using a points system and can be divided into two components, a daily living component and a mobility component. Each can be paid at either a standard or enhanced rate.
For most adults, Personal Independence Payment replaced Disability Living Allowance, also known as DLA. However, if you are under 16 or you were born on or before 8th April 1948, you will continue to receive DLA.
Personal Expenses Allowance
Personal Expenses Allowance, or PEA, is a weekly expense that helps to protect an individual’s money from being used towards care home fees and allows them to keep some independence over their personal shopping. PEA is never used towards care home fees and can be used for personal costs such as clothing, toiletries, birthday gifts, newspapers and any other treats they fancy.
If you are living in a care home that has been arranged by your local authority, you will be eligible to receive PEA. The amount of PEA depends on where you live in the UK, but a rough guide is:
- England – £24.90 per week
- Northern Ireland – £27.19 per week
- Scotland – £29.30 per week
- Wales – £32 a week. Please note that PEA is now called the MIA, or Minimum Income Amount in Wales
It’s not just care home seekers or elderly people needing care that can get benefits – people looking after elderly or sick people (carers) can also receive benefits! If you are a carer, to qualify for Carer’s Allowance you must spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone who receives Attendance Allowance or Disability Living Allowance at the middle or highest rate.
However, if the person you care for moves into a care home and they stop receiving their benefits, your Carer’s Allowance will also stop. If the person continues to receive their benefits because they are self-funding, your Carer’s Allowance will stop 28 days after the date they move into their care home.
You must report any changes to your circumstances if you are a carer, such as changing, starting or leaving your job, changes in your working hours and earnings, if you go on holiday or into hospital, or if the person you care for goes on holiday or into hospital.
Winter Fuel Allowance
The Winter Fuel Payment is a tax-free annual payment to help elderly people with winter heating costs. The normal amount you receive is £200, if you live in a household where the oldest person is under 80. Households with people over the age of 80 can claim £300. However, if you live in a residential care home, you will not qualify for the full Winter Fuel rate, especially if you are already receiving other benefits.
Things to be aware of
We know it can get confusing, so we’ve created a handy summary of some of the key things to be aware of when claiming care home benefits:
- If you are receiving benefits and your circumstances change, no matter how small the change, you must let the relevant party know, such as your local authority or social services department
- Some benefits can’t be combined, so always check which ones you are eligible for, as claiming one may affect your entitlement to others
- If you receive any money as part of the benefit for another person – for example, your partner, it would probably be better for them to make their own claim for a benefit.
- If your local authority or the NHS cover all or part of your care home fees, your DLA, PIP or AA will stop after you have been in a care home for 28 days
- To claim any of these benefits a financial assessment will be required
So that’s our guide to benefits you can claim in a care home – and some you can’t.
If you’re starting out on your care home journey, Lottie is here to help. Get in touch today and one of our friendly care experts will be able to answer any questions you might have.