Paying for a care home Will I have to sell my home?

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1 Paying for a care home Will I have to sell my home? Information for those considering residential or nursing care Revised April 2010

2 Who is this booklet for? This booklet is to help adults living in Brent who choose to move to a care home but still own their own home. We hope this booklet will: inform you of the options available to you to fund your permanent stay in a care home if you own your own home provide useful information about how Brent Council will work with you whether or not you decide to sell your home direct you to other sources of advice and assistance. What happens to my own home? Most people who move into a care home are expected to pay towards the cost. If you move into a care home permanently, the value of any property you own may be taken into account when working out how much you can afford to pay. This booklet explains how Brent Council will treat the value of your property, and what your options are if your property is taken into account. Brent Council follows regulations and guidance set by the government for when someone with a property moves into a care home. These are complicated, and this booklet is for general guidance only. If you are in any doubt about your situation, you should seek further advice. A list of sources of help is included on pages

3 Is the value of my home taken into account? If your stay is temporary and you will be returning home, Brent Council ignores your property completely when working out your contribution. If you have decided to stay permanently in a care home, the value of your property is ignored for the first 12 weeks of your stay in the care home. After 12 weeks, the council will still not take the value of your home into account if any of the following people are living in it: your partner (husband or wife, or someone you live with as husband or wife) a relative who is over 60 a relative who is ill or disabled (this means they are receiving or could be receiving a disability benefit) a child you are maintaining who is aged under 16 a person in receipt of a Carers Allowance. We may also ignore its value if someone else, for example a former carer, is living there after giving up their own home in order to care for you. Brent Council can review the decision to ignore the value of your home if, for example, your circumstances change or your relative or carer moves out. If the value of your property, combined with any other savings or capital you have, is more than 23,250 (April 2010), you will have to pay the full fees for your care home. If you do not wish to sell your property, we may assist you to meet the fees but you will need to repay them when your property is sold. What if I give away my home before the assessment is made? If you give your home away to avoid having to sell it to meet the cost of your care, we may treat you as if you still own the property. In these circumstances the council may require either you or the person who received your property to pay for the cost of your care. 3

4 When is the value of my home taken into consideration? The first 12 weeks We ignore the value of your property for 12 weeks from the date you enter the home permanently. During these 12 weeks, you will be expected to contribute towards your care home fees from your income and savings over 14,250 (April 2010). Brent Council pays the care home the full cost of your care and invoices you for your contribution to the care home fees. If your savings are over 23,250 (April 2010), you will be expected to pay the full cost of the care home. If you sell your home within 12 weeks, the money you get from the sale will be taken into account immediately. After 12 weeks Your property is included in the cost of your care. What happens next depends on the decision you make about the future of your property. What options are available to me if my property is taken into account? There are a number of options or combination of options you may want to consider. The best option for you will depend on your own circumstances. 1. You can put your property up for sale. 2. You can keep your property and ask Brent Council to assist you by deferring repayment of part of your care fees until your property is eventually sold. 3. You can rent your property out. A full explanation of each option is given over the following pages. You may need someone to explain each option in detail before you make a final decision this can be a friend, relative or an independent person. You may also want to take legal and financial advice. 4

5 1. What happens if I put my property up for sale? If you choose this option, you need to tell the council and keep us informed of the progress of the sale. We understand that some sales can fall through or take a long time, so Brent Council will agree to pay towards the fees of your care home while the sale is going through. Who pays the care home? The council will pay the home the full cost of your care and invoice you for your contribution and any amount due from the sale of the property. How is my contribution from my income and savings worked out? Generally, most of your income will go towards the cost of your care. You will always be left with a minimum sum of money to pay for personal items. This is called the personal allowance and is currently a week (April 2010). The Brent booklet Paying for a Care Home gives full information about how your income and savings are assessed when working out your contribution. See page 12 for details on how to obtain a copy of this booklet. How will I pay the contribution? For the first 12 weeks you will be invoiced only for your contribution from your income and savings over 14,250 (April 2010), as your property is not included in your charge. You should pay these invoices each month. If your property is not sold after 12 weeks you will continue to receive an invoice for your contribution and a second invoice will show the amount that accrues each month to be paid once the property is sold. You should still pay the first invoice each month. The second invoice can only be paid when your property is sold. 5

6 Do I need to sign an agreement? Not if the sale is already progressing, but the council will require an assurance that the money owed will be repaid once the property is sold. If the sale is already under way, we will ask you to instruct the solicitor dealing with the sale to give a formal undertaking to repay the money owed to the council from the proceeds of the sale. Your solicitor will consult you before providing this undertaking. If the sale is not progressing after 12 weeks, the council will place a legal charge on the property. This means that the Land Registry record will be amended to show that the council has an interest in the property. Prospective buyers will understand that a debt is to be repaid from the proceeds of the sale. What happens when the debt is repaid? We will work out how much is due to be repaid when you or your solicitor tell us the date that the sale is to be completed. Brent Council pays the care home monthly in advance, so the amount to be repaid will include any period for which we have already paid the home. Any charge placed on the property will be removed once the council has been repaid in full. After the council has been repaid in full, the amount left over from the sale is likely to be enough to fund the full cost of the care home fees yourself. In most cases it will be some time before your capital falls to 23,250 (April 2010). If, for example, you think your savings will soon drop below 23,250 because you had to repay an outstanding mortgage or owned only part of the property, you will need to tell the council. Once you have sold your property, the council will stop paying the care home at a date we will agree with you. After that date you or your representative will have to arrange a new contract with the home and pay them the full fees. Who do I approach when my capital falls to 23,250? Before your capital drops below 23,250 (April 2010), you will need to approach the council in the borough where the care home is located to apply for financial assistance. The manager of the care home can provide you with contact details. 6

7 What other help can I get to pay the fees? If you need some nursing care provided by a registered nurse, the NHS will pay an amount towards the full cost of your care. The amount depends on how much help you need. In April 2010 the nursing band of care will be: Standard Rate per week These may change after April If you have arranged to pay the care home yourself, the NHS will usually pay this amount to the home. This should reduce the amount you pay the care home. If the council is paying the care home, then this will reduce the amount you pay only if you are paying the full cost or the council help pay your fees until your property is sold. Continuing care If medical staff looking after you decide that you will have continuing medical needs, the NHS may offer you a permanent place in a nursing home. This service will be provided free of charge by the NHS. Leaflets providing more information about hospital services and procedures are available from health authorities and Brent Council. Intermediate care If you go into hospital and are unable to manage to return home immediately, the NHS or Brent Council may arrange a short stay in a care home to help you regain your strength and independence so that you can go home. Short stays are not longer than six weeks. This service is provided free of charge by the NHS and is mainly available to older people. 7

8 2. What if I do not want to sell my home? If you need to stay in a care home permanently, you need to consider what will happen to your home. If the property is to remain empty, you will need to consider security, insurance and maintenance. You may want to think about deferred payment agreements, which mean people going into care homes who do not want to sell their home in their lifetime are not forced to do so. To be eligible for a deferred payment agreement, you must have capital below 23,250 (April 2010) and less income than you need to pay the full fees. If you opt for a deferred payment, you will have to sign an agreement which agrees to a legal charge on your property. This will secure the repayment of the care fees owed to the council when the property is eventually sold or the debt is settled by other means. A deferred payment allows us to assist you by paying towards your care fees until the property is sold. You will still have to contribute towards the cost of your care from your income, but you may be able to offset reasonable expenses to maintain your property against what you pay. It is at Brent Council s discretion whether or not to agree to a deferred payment arrangement. We may refuse, for example, if you have outstanding debts, such as a mortgage on your property, which mean you cannot repay us. If this is the case, the reason for refusal will be put in writing to you and you will also be given information about how to complain about that decision. You will need to instruct a solicitor to act for you in the completion of the agreement and legal charge. You will be responsible for paying the council s legal fees (which are payable on the completion of the agreement) and for your own solicitor s costs. 8

9 We will advise you what the legal costs are likely to be. If you opt for a deferred payment, you will need to consider the effect on any benefits you receive. You may want to seek advice from the Benefits Agency about this. If your property is not up for sale, you may not get Income Support or Pension Credit because the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will count its value as capital. However, you may be able to get Attendance Allowance or the care part of Disability Living Allowance. See page 10. Is any interest payable on a deferred payment? There is no interest added to the amount outstanding under a deferred payment until: the date you terminate the agreement, for example, because the property has been sold. If you don t have a deferred payment agreement and the council has put a legal charge on your home, we can charge interest after the date of your death should you die, no interest is payable for 56 days. If interest is charged, it is at a rate of four per cent over Bank of England base rate. 9

10 3. Can I rent my property out? Yes. The rental income may allow you to fund your care home fees without seeking assistance from the council. Whether you can do this will depend on your income, how much your fees are, and whether anyone else can help you with the care fees. You should also seek advice on the effect on any benefits you are claiming. For example, you may not be able to claim Income Support,as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will count the value of your property if it is not up for sale. However, you may be able to claim Attendance Allowance or the care component of Disability Living Allowance. If you enter into a deferred payment agreement and then rent your property out, you will be expected to use the rental income towards your care home fees. You may be able to offset any expenses such as maintenance of the property against this income. We recommend you take professional advice before renting your property out. Can I claim Attendance Allowance? Attendance Allowance or the care part of Disability Living Allowance will normally stop after 28 days in a care home if the council is helping you pay your fees. However, if you will be repaying them from the proceeds of your property, you should be able to carry on claiming this. If you are paying the full cost of your own care without our support then you can claim Attendance Allowance or the care part of Disability Living Allowance. 10

11 Can I go into a home which charges more than Brent Council will pay? Normally, if the council is paying for you, we will ask you to go into a home which charges within set limits. However, you may be able to choose a more expensive home if: Brent Council is disregarding the value of your property for the first 12 weeks that you are in care (and the property has or is being sold) or a deferred payment has been agreed or a third party, e.g. a relative or friend, agrees to pay the amount above what the council will pay. You can only top up the fees yourself if you enter into a deferred payment agreement. Before we agree to this, we must be satisfied that you are able to afford a more expensive home for the duration of your stay. Ask your social worker for more details. Making a complaint Brent Council always aims to provide the best service possible, but things do go wrong from time to time. We value your comments on our services. Your comments and complaints can be the first step towards putting things right. If you are unhappy about any aspect of our service, please talk to the member of staff concerned or ask to speak to their manager. Then, if you wish to take things further, contact: Brent Council complaints team 6th Floor Mahatma Gandhi House 34 Wembley Hill Road Wembley Middlesex HA9 8AD TEL You can also request a copy of a leaflet that outlines the complaints procedure. Also - please feel free to contact us if you have received a particularly good service. 11

12 Other sources of information and advice Brent Council booklets Brent Council publishes a range of free booklets on the following topics: Paying for a care home Information for those considering residential or nursing care Fairer Charging for non-residential services Will I have to pay for the care I receive? They are available by ringing the council s One Stop Service information line. TEL MINICOM GUJARATI LINE FAX Alternatively, you can pick up copies of the booklets at any of the council s One Stop Service Local Offices: Brent Town Hall Forty Lane Wembley Brent House High Road Wembley Harlesden Harlesden Library Plus Craven Park Road Harlesden Willesden Willesden Green Library 95 High Road Willesden 12

13 Information from independent organisations The following independent organisations can provide information and advice on residential and nursing home care: The Care Quality Commission This has responsibility for the registration and inspection of residential and nursing homes in England. It can provide lists of homes and copies of inspection reports. The Commission for Social Care Inspection 33 Greycoat Street London SW1P 2QF TEL FAX WEBSITE Care and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales (CSSIW) TEL Northern Ireland Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety Social Services Inspectorate TEL Department of Health The Department of Health is the government department responsible for all matters relating to care homes. It produces two free leaflets entitled Moving into a Care Home and NHS Funded Nursing Care in Nursing Homes What it means for you. It also produces the rules councils in England use to work out care fees. These are described in full in the Charging for Residential Accommodation Guide. Department of Health PO Box 777 London SE1 6XH CUSTOMER SERVICE CENTRE FAX WEBSITE 13

14 Alzheimer s Disease Society For advice and information for people with dementia, their families and carers. Alzheimer sdisease Society Devon House 58 St Katherine s Way London E1W 1JX TEL WEBSITE Age Concern Age Concern produces a range of up-to-date leaflets on all financial aspects of paying for care. Some are listed below: Factsheet 10: Local authority charging procedures for care homes Factsheet 22: Legal Arrangements for Managing Financial Affairs Factsheet 38: Treatment of the Former Home as Capital for People in Care Homes Factsheet 40: Transfer of Assets and Paying for Care in a Care Home Age UK/Age Concern England Astral House 1268 London Road London SW16 4EJ INFORMATION LINE WEBSITE Age Concern Brent 6 Craven Park Harlesden London NW10 8SY TEL WEBSITE Carers UK For advice and support for people looking after relatives or friends. Carers UK 20 Great Dover Street London SE1 4LX London EC1A 4JS TEL WEBSITE 14

15 Counsel and Care for the Elderly This provides factsheets free of charge if you send a stamped addressed envelope. Counsel and Care for the Elderly Twyman House 16 Bonny Street London NW1 9PG TEL ADVICE LINE WEBSITE Elderly Accommodation Counsel Elderly Accommodation Counsel can provide information on possible sources of top-up funding when financial help from Housing & Community Care does not cover the full cost of the home you have chosen. It can also provide information about finding care homes inside or outside Brent. Elderly Accommodation Counsel 3rd Floor 89 Albert Embankment TEL WEBSITE Help the Aged A national charity dedicated to improving the quality of life for elderly people in need of help in the United Kingdom. Help the Aged York House Pentonville Road London N1 9UZ TEL FAX WEBSITE FREEPHONE ADVICE LINE The Relatives and Residents Association For advice and support for relatives and friends of older people in homes. The Relatives and Residents Association 24 The Ivories 6-18 Northampton Street London N1 2HY ADVICE LINE WEBSITE 15

16 07.10BDU6123

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