On 8 December 2021, the Competition and Markets Authority (the CMA) published its revised consumer law advice for care home providers (Guidance).
There are many issues to consider if you or a loved one is moving into a residential or nursing care home. The most important is ensuring the person will receive great quality care in a place that feels like home.
Funding your care can be a minefield to navigate, and it’s important to ensure you are getting the right benefits to help with this.
In the Court of Protection team, we often see new clients who have not been claiming all the benefits they are entitled to and need some help getting their financial affairs in order. We know this can be a great cause for concern, and so we have created some guidance to help make the move into care that little bit easier.
What benefits can I claim?
Private, Occupational and State Pensions
Private, Occupational and State Pensions are unaffected when moving into a care or nursing home and are paid as normal. We would, however, recommend you contact the pension providers to let them know about the move.
Pension Credit and Employment, and Support Allowance (Income Related)
Pension Credit and Income Related Employment, and Support Allowance are means-tested benefits. This means that the amount you are entitled to receive depends on your other income and your savings. You can make a claim for both of these benefits over the phone, but be sure to have details of any income and savings to hand.
If you are already receiving either of these benefits, the amount you receive may change after you have moved into care, depending on how your fees are paid.
Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Attendance Allowance (AA)
Entitlement to these benefits is dependent on an assessment of your care needs and what help you need during the day and night. Additionally, DLA and PIP have a mobility element for people who need help getting around.
If you are already receiving any of these benefits, they may be affected, depending on how your care fees are paid and what kind of care you receive.
A person often moves into care because their needs have increased and therefore they may be entitled to a higher rate of benefit; you should contact your benefits office on the number on your award letter to discuss this with them. Be careful if you receive DLA, any change in your needs will be looked under the criteria for a PIP (the replacement benefit for DLA), and you may risk losing benefit on reassessment.
If you are not already in receipt of any of the above benefits but think you may be entitled, you should call the Department of Work and Pensions to make a claim. Claimants under 65 can claim PIP whilst claimants 65 and over should claim AA. DLA is not available for new claimants.
REMEMBER! How your care fees are paid can affect your entitlement to receive certain benefits. The diagram below acts as a guide to ensure you are claiming the right benefits. This is guidance only, each individual’s circumstances are different. We recommend you discuss your personal circumstances with the Department of Work and Pensions, your local authority and, where necessary, an independent financial advisor.
If you would like advice or have any queries relating to this article, please get in touch with Sheree Green.
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