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Local Authority funding thresholds for care remain the same for ninth consecutive year
Most people are aware that should they need care when they are older and not be in a position to fund it themselves, then the local authority are likely to pay for it for them. Many people have strong views on whether or not the local authority should pick up the tab on their care, but rightly or wrongly, you will be expected to meet your own care costs if your assets are worth over £23,250.
If your assets fall below £23,250, then the local authority will contribute towards your care, but you will still need to make contributions of your own.
If your assets fall below £14,250 then the local authority will fully fund your care based on their assessment of what your care needs are.
These thresholds have remained unchanged for the last 8 years and it has recently been announced they will not change in 2019. However, due to the impact of inflation, in real terms, it does mean the thresholds are 12% lower. This may seem unfair, however, with the population living longer, care costs rising and funding for adult social care stretched to its limits, it might not come as a surprise.
Sadly, there are times when someone’s assets are significantly depleted because of the need to fund care fees. This can be distressing for families particularly if a parent had hoped to pass assets down to their children.
It may be tempting to gift assets to family members in order to preserve them. However, the local authority have the power to investigate matters thoroughly and if they find that you have done this they will add the value of the disposed assets into their assessment, as they will consider that you have deliberately deprived yourself of assets. Sometimes, however, there is an alternative and valid reason for the gift, and it may be that the local authority accept this. It is important, however, that you record such reasons at the time of making the gift.
The timing of the gift is also important, as if it is made at a time when the donor knew they would need care, i.e. if they had recently been diagnosed with a condition which would lead to them needing care, or if care is already needed, then the local authority may not be convinced that the gift was not made to avoid care fees.
Although it is not pleasant to think of a time when you might need care, it is always best to think about it in advance, so you are prepared for it and have planned your finances accordingly.
The solicitors in our Older and Vulnerable Client Department at Longmores have specialist knowledge surrounding the issues older clients face, including how to fund their care. Please contact Rosalyn Workman to discuss further.
Please note the contents of this blog are given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.