Getting financial support for your care
Our NHS is different to every other medical funding body in the world. The care and support services that are offered in England are not free, despite popular belief. A large percentage of people have to pay something towards their care, even if it’s just their medication, and some individuals even completely self-fund their medical needs. When it comes to care for the elderly, or those who need special care, there are several things that should be taken into account.
How is my care funded?
Your local authority likely covers most, if not all, of the cost of your care. However, the financial help you receive for your care through your local authority is means-tested, which means the amount you are asked to pay depends on how much money you have/earn/receive through various means, and how much care and support you need.
If you have more than around £23,250 in savings, you will have to pay the full cost of your care unless you’re going into a care home. If your savings are less than £23,250 but more than £14,250 then your local council will pay for your complete care, but you will have to contribute £1 to the fees for every set of £250 of savings you have.
If you have less than £14,250 in savings, your care will be fully paid for by the council.
How do I get funding?
The best thing to do if to ask your local council for a care needs assessment. If, upon completion and assessment of this form, the council decides you may need support, it will carry out an assessment of your finances. This assessment will determine if the council will pay for your care, as well as whether or not you will have to contribute to the costs of your care, or if you need to pay the full costs yourself.
You may need some assistance during these assessments, and it’s perfectly acceptable to ask a relative or friend to look over them with you, or even attend meetings with you. Carers are welcome, too.
What alternatives to council funding are there?
First of all, there’s NHS care. The NHS is responsible for funding certain types of healthcare equipment that you may need for your treatment and/or recovery. In some situations, the NHS is even responsible for meeting care needs, though this is usually when your needs are mainly for healthcare rather than social care.
If you have very severe or complex health needs, you may qualify for NHS continuing healthcare. This is an ongoing package of care that’s fully funded by the NHS depending on the individual’s needs. NHS continuing healthcare can also be arranged using a personal health budget, but only in some areas of England.
If you’ve been in the hospital for a serious illness or injury, the NHS will provide free intermediate care or reablement for you at home for up to 6 weeks after you are discharged from the hospital. This service may include a carer visiting you each day to care for your needs, whether that’s cooking or assisting you with getting dressed. You could also be given equipment such as grab rails, perch stools and walking aids; again, dependant entirely on what you need to aid your care or recovery.
Funding from charities
There are several charities that offer support for individuals coming home from hospital after a stay, and some do offer some financial support. It’s worth contacting charities related to your condition, or charities that specifically offer help for the elderly that need extra care.
A quick internet search will reveal several charities willing to offer financial assistance to individuals that need extra care.
Where to get advice
The cost of your care and support will likely be a long-term financial drain. You’ll need to consider if you can afford your care. If you can’t, you need several financial options. Of course, things like loans and overdrafts are possible but they might not cover the full amount of your medical costs, and you may end up putting yourself in debt that you can’t clear later on.
Needing care in a care home may incur significant costs, but so can care at home. It’s crucial that you keep your options open, especially if you choose to go into care early, or you need extra care because you find yourself struggling.
If you or a member of the family needs to pay for care at home or for care home care, it’s important to understand that there are alternatives, and what those alternatives are. This makes it easier to find advice that can be tailored to you and your needs.
You can get advice from several places. As mentioned before, your local council is a very good source for not only advice, but also for needs assessments. There are also specialised financial advisors that can offer advice when you find yourself in a position where you’re unsure of who to turn to or where to go next. Your first port of call, however, should always be your local council.
While you’re still in hospital, the staff there can only give you so much information, however, they may be significantly more knowledgeable about the kind of medical charities that offer assistance to individuals who need care than your local council.
What to remember
It’s rare that there isn’t any funding at all available for individuals who find themselves in need of care, whether that be care at home, or care in a care home. Care typically refers to several things, depending on the individual’s needs and recovery or living plan, which means that it’s difficult to confirm exactly what the individual can get without any information.
Remember to talk to your local council and ask for any advice about medical financial help that they can give you, as well as a needs assessment for medical or living support. You should try to follow any medical or treatment plans as best as you can.
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