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Can I Receive Free Long Term Care

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 6 Aug 2010 | comments*Discuss
Long Term Care Funding Nursing Care

People in the UK can apply for long term care funding but this does not mean it will automatically be granted. The needs and finances of the person applying will be assessed and the local council’s own budget will be a factor.

Local Councils and Long Term Care Funding

Long term care funding is decided by local councils using council specific eligibility criteria. This means different councils may have their own criteria and their own financial budget will also be a factor into this decision. If an applicant does not meet the criteria then the council does not need to give any funding towards long term care, even if the applicant has very limited or no personal funds. However, if care home funding is refused then the council may decide to provide funding towards care for the applicant in their own home.

It is in the best interests of the applicant to obtain the rules of eligibility from their local council before applying for long term care funding.

Long Term Care Funding

If the council does decide that the applicant is eligible for long term care then they will use a financial test to decide how much funding will be provided. The council may decide that the applicant does have enough finances to pay for their own long term care. If this is the case then the council will provide a list of homes and the applicant will have to arrange their own place.

Those applicants who are eligible for long term care funding will be notified by the council that funding will be provided. The council should also inform the applicant of how much funding will be provided. A list of homes within the applicant’s price range should also be provided.

Long Term Nursing Care Funding

Long term nursing care funding does come under different eligibility rules. If the applicant is assessed as requiring vital nursing care then funding will be provided. This funding will be provided whether or not the applicant has enough money to pay for their own nursing care. This means that a person in care home will receive funding for their nursing care. If the applicant is in a care home in Scotland they will also receive funding for their personal care through the care home.

Choosing a Care Home

Even if long term care funding is provided it will usually be up to the applicant to choose the care home. There is a set of rules provided by the government that councils must follow. Applicants can choose any home they wish as long as the home meets the guidelines. These guidelines include that a space in the care home is available, that the needs of applicant will be meet in the chosen care home and that it will not cost the council more than is usually expected. However, if the chosen home does turn out to be more expensive than the council would usually pay, the council may meet the excess cost.

Financial Assessment and Long Term Care Funding

As you would expect from local councils with budgets in mind the financial assessment will be strict. Local councils will assess all savings and assets when coming to their decision to provide funding for long term care.

For instance, if the applicant lives in England and has savings of more than £23,000 then it is unlikely that a council will provide full funding. They may provide part funding and the applicant will need to make up the rest of the care home fees. Finances that will be assessed will include savings, property and any investments.

Property and Long Term Care Funding

Local councils have a list of rules when it comes to the applicant’s property and whether or not to provide long term care funding. The council cannot force anyone to sell their property to fund their own long term care but the value of the property will be included in the applicant’s capital. However, there are certain ways that this capital can be discounted such as if a person 60 or over is still living in the property or if a civil partner or spouse still lives in the home.

Receiving free long term care is never an easy process and the council rules on funding are numerous and very strict. Applicants should be fully aware of all the criteria before applying for funding. Agencies such as Help the Aged, the Citizens Advice Bureau, and the Social Services Department can be contacted for more information on long term care funding.

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